Grounds Maintenance Supervisor: Job Description and Requirements

Sep 24, 2019

Grounds maintenance supervisors require little or no formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and certification requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Grounds maintenance supervisors oversee the activities of landscaping and groundskeeping crews. In some cases a postsecondary degree and certification to use pesticides is required. The professionals need leadership skills and the ability to operate equipment such as lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, and tractors.

Essential Information

Grounds maintenance supervisors ensure that lawns, gardens, parks and plant displays are attractive and healthy. They lead and supervise maintenance and landscape crews who mow lawns, irrigate planting beds, trim shrubs and perform other outdoor maintenance tasks. Candidates can enter this career field with just a high school diploma, though certain employers may require grounds maintenance supervisors to have a postsecondary degree in a field like horticulture or plant science. These supervisors typically need to hold pesticide application certification.

Education Requirements High school diploma at minimum; some employers may require a postsecondary degree
Certification Certification to apply pesticides required; voluntary professional certification available
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 9% for first-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers
Median Salary (2018)* $48,220 for first-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Grounds maintenance supervisors oversee the care of plants in gardens, lawns, greenhouses, parks and other green areas. In addition to applying pesticides and fertilizers as necessary, grounds maintenance supervisors ensure the proper pruning and trimming of trees and shrubs to maintain a pleasant appearance and plant health.

Because landscape care often requires the use of tools or machinery, grounds maintenance supervisors usually operate lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, snow blowers, tractors, hoses and spray applicators. They need a good understanding of the needs of a variety of plants, including trees, shrubs and flowers. Knowledge of soil types and soil management strategies is also important.

Grounds maintenance supervisors use people skills when dealing with employees and clients. They give instructions to crew members and ensure each customer's specific needs are being met. Occasionally, they may create simple designs and layouts depending on clients' requests and the use of the space. A grounds maintenance supervisor also frequently provides cost estimates.

Job Requirements

A high school diploma is the minimum requirement to work as a grounds maintenance supervisor. However, college courses in horticulture, plant sciences and landscape design can be beneficial when looking for these jobs. For some jobs, postsecondary education might be required. Experience with a variety of plants and prior work as a groundskeeper can also help. Most states require that a grounds maintenance supervisor have the proper certification to apply pesticides, and supervisors can sometimes obtain certification on the job.

Many grounds maintenance supervisors advance to their positions after gaining some experience working on a landscaping crew. Certification is available for many levels of groundskeepers. The Professional Grounds Management Society offers a grounds manager certification. Requirements depend on education level and work experience. The Professional Landcare Network also provides various types of certifications.

Career Outlook

Job openings for first-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service and groundskeeping workers were predicted to grow 9% from 2018-2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which faster than the national average for all occupations. Job prospects were particularly positive in areas where the climate allows for landscaping throughout the entire year. The BLS also reported that first-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers made a median annual salary of $48,220 in May 2018.

Grounds maintenance supervisors oversee landscaping of spaces such as gardens, lawns, greenhouses, and parks. Some employers require a postsecondary degree and certification. Certifications can be obtained through organizations like the Professional Landcare Network.

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