How to Become a Residential Lawn Technician: Career Roadmap

Mar 06, 2020

Find out how to become a residential lawn technician. Research the education and training requirements, and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in lawn maintenance.

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Career Info

Degree Level No degree required, certificates or associate's degrees sometimes preferred by employers
Degree Field Lawn or grounds maintenance, horticulture
Certification and Licensing State certification and licensing in pesticide use, professional certification available
Experience Entry-level jobs available with on-the-job training
Key Skills Good oral comprehension skills, manual dexterity, ability to operate machinery
Median Salary (2018) $30,420 (for grounds maintenance workers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net OnLine, State licensing websites (January 2013)

Residential lawn technicians maintain lawns and other landscape features for homeowners. General duties include mowing lawns, hedging bushes, maintaining plants, and fertilizing flowerbeds. Residential lawn technicians might work for local companies that provide service for communities and individual residences. They also might start their own lawn care business.

These professionals should have manual dexterity, physical stamina, oral comprehension skills, and the ability to operate lawn maintenance machinery. In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that grounds maintenance workers, including tree trimmers, pruners, groundskeepers, and landscaping workers, earned a median salary of $30,420 per year.

Complete Training Program

Although high school graduates may be hired as lawn care technicians and receive on-the-job training, some companies may favor job seekers who have completed some postsecondary schooling. Certain candidates might consider taking several courses in lawn care, while others may decide to enroll in a 6-12 month certificate program in lawn maintenance or an associate's degree program in lawn management.

Introductory courses generally cover topics in soil science and turf management. As students progress, they may have the option of choosing courses that delve into weed control, horticulture, pest management, and landscape design. A horticulture or landscaping internship can also give aspiring lawn care technicians real-world experience in developing or maintaining lawns.

While not a requirement for becoming a lawn care technician, some employers like to hire workers who can help maintain and repair the equipment they use. Knowledge of small engine repair and maintenance may also be necessary to move into supervisory positions.

Earn Pesticide Certification

Some states' laws require those who apply pesticides to obtain certification or licensure through the state. Requirements may include passing a comprehensive exam on pesticide use and pertinent laws and regulations. While not all lawn maintenance technicians will need this licensing, it can be useful for those who wish to move into supervisory positions or who work independently.

Earn Professional Certification

Earning a professional certification in lawn maintenance can be helpful in finding employment or, as a self-employed worker, gaining new clients. The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) offers certification programs for both technicians and managers. To earn technician certification, an individual must be able to establish work experience and pass an exam. Manager certification involves documenting education or a combination of education and work experience, as well as completing two exams.

Continue Education

Some certifications and licenses require holders to complete continuing education courses as a condition of renewal. Those who hold pesticide credentials or a professional certification should be aware of their credential renewal dates so they can schedule continuing education activities appropriately.

Once again, residential lawn technicians typically only need hands-on training to get started in this career. However, completing postsecondary courses and gaining certification can put job-seekers ahead of the competition.

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