Groundskeeper: Employment Info & Requirements

Groundskeepers maintain lawns and gardens, helping to achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance and increase property values. They work with many different tools and chemicals to ensure that lawns are freshly cut and shrubs and flowers are trimmed. Keep reading to learn more details about this occupation.

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Career Definition of a Groundskeeper

Groundskeepers are responsible for taking care of gardens and lawns, and may specialize in taking care of synthetic grass called turfgrass. Groundskeepers make sure that grass, trees, plants and shrubs are aesthetically pleasing by cutting, trimming, watering and landscaping. Some groundskeepers lay mulch and use chemicals to control weed and insect populations in order to prevent deterioration.

Education Often on-the-job training, or completion of a technical school program
Job Skills Understanding of the tools and procedures, and ability to work independently
Average Salary (2015)* $27,460 (landscapers and groundskeepers)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 6% increase for landscapers and groundskeepers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

Many groundskeepers receive on-the-job training, but many employers prefer that prospective applicants have some training and education from a college or vocational school. However, many entry-level positions only require a high school diploma or equivalent. While in school, students will take classes in landscaping, horticulture, biology and botany.

Skills Required

Groundskeepers must know how to use power tools and lawn mowers, as well as be familiar with rakes, hoes and spades. It's essential that groundskeepers have a strong understanding of water systems, and know the amount of water that different lawns and plants need. Some groundskeepers work independently and need to know how to repair and maintain equipment, such as sharpening hedges and replacing parts on tools and mowers. They must be able to keep up with their clients' demands and depending on the size of their grounds, they may have to work closely with other groundskeepers.

Economic and Career Outlook

Groundskeepers can find employment anywhere there are yards and land with trees, lawn, flowers and shrubs. Opportunities are available at gardens, conservatories, parks, cemeteries, golf courses and sports fields, as well as larger private residences. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of grounds maintenance workers was expected to increase 6% from 2014-2024, which was average growth compared to other occupations. Landscaping and groundskeeping workers earned an average yearly salary of $27,460 in 2015.

Alternate Career Options

Other options to consider in this career field include:

Landscape Architect

Usually having a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture, along with licensing in most states, these professionals plan the landscaping for areas like parks and campuses, in addition to the yards of private homes. The BLS projected average employment growth of 5%, from 2014-2024 for these positions. In 2015, the BLS also reported their annual mean wage as $68,600.

Forest and Conservation Worker

These workers, who function under the direction of conservation technicians and foresters, strive to improve the quality of forests, through development, maintenance and protection. Jobs may often be secured with just a high school education, and then the necessary skills are learned while on the job. A slower than average job growth of 4% was expected from 2014 through 2024, according to the BLS. An annual mean salary of $29,860 was earned by these workers in 2015.

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