Groundskeepers, also known as grounds maintenance workers and landscapers, perform outdoor tasks, such as raking and gardening, to maintain the upkeep of yards and parks. Most landscape technician certificate programs are designed for individuals who have no prior experience in groundskeeping or landscaping. Incoming students are often asked to have a high school diploma or GED as well as basic skills in mathematics, writing and reading.
Voluntary certification is available to certificate program graduates through related professional organizations. Graduates can also pursue related degree programs.
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Certificate in Landscaping
Certificates are designed to provide students with a foundational understanding of landscaping and groundskeeping. Students learn how to identify basic plants and work with various types of soil in which to plant flowers and trees. They also learn how to operate basic landscaping tools and equipment, such as lawn mowers, hedge trimmers and leaf blowers. Students are expected to not only learn the basic techniques of groundskeeping, but to put those techniques into actual practice. Some specific courses might include:
- Landscape plants
- Basic botany
- Landscaping equipment
- Irrigation and drainage
- Landscape contracting
- Grounds and turf maintenance
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
More than 895,600 landscaping and groundskeeping workers held jobs in the United States in 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported (www.bls.gov). These workers were often employed by individual buildings or by recreational facilities, such as golf courses and parks. In 2015, they made a median annual salary of $25,030. The BLS also reported that jobs for grounds maintenance workers as a whole are expected to grow by about 6% between 2014-2024, which matches the average employment growth rate.
Certification is not required in the groundskeeping profession, but it is available from some industry organizations. For example, the Professional Lawn Care Network offers various certifications for landscapers who have professional work experience. The Tree Care Industry Association also offers five different designations for grounds maintenance workers who specialize in tree care and tree removal.
Associate's and bachelor's degrees are available for groundskeepers who are interested in advancing to positions as grounds managers or landscape architects. Some universities and community colleges offer undergraduate degrees in various fields, such as landscape architecture or turf management. Groundskeepers can also choose to specialize in a particular field, such as golf course management.
Training in landscape and grounds maintenance is available at the certificate level for aspiring groundskeepers who want to learn the basics. Continuing education opportunities at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels provide training in turf management or landscape architecture for those who want to increase their knowledge and skills.