Students who wish to study landscape management have a variety of options to obtain training. Technical certificate programs are brief programs that offer classes and hands-on training in topics such as turf grass maintenance, pest control or landscape plantings. Many times, certificate holders can transfer credits earned to a 2-year associate's degree program, which offers more advanced study such as in golf course management or irrigation system design. In a 4-year bachelor's degree program, students study basic landscaping principles and practices and also learn business skills that will enable them to seek employment in a management position.
Prerequisites include a high school diploma or its equivalent, and a background and interest in natural sciences is recommended. Bachelor's degree applicants should also have taken the recommended college-preparatory coursework in high school, including math, English, foreign language, natural science and social studies.
Technical Certificate in Landscape Management
Technical certificate programs offer short-term courses of study in landscape design, turf grass maintenance and horticulture principles. These programs are meant for individuals who seek entry-level employment in the field of designing, installing and caring for natural areas and plantings, such as lawns, bushes and trees. Students can pursue certificate programs in landscape management or landscape and horticulture or train to be landscape specialists or technicians. Other areas of specialization include irrigation management, small engine and equipment repair and irrigation design, among others. Certificates are also awarded as part of some associate's degree programs. Certificate programs are also available to individuals who have already earned a college degree but are seeking specialized training.
Certificate programs cover everything from plant science to power equipment, and many of the courses include laboratory time or similar hands-on educational experience. Course topics include:
- Landscape plants
- Contemporary landscaping designs
- Lawn and landscape maintenance
- Insects, disease and weeds control
- Landscape power equipment operation
Associate's Degree in Landscape Management
Associate's degree programs in landscape management include general education courses, while giving students a broad exposure to botany, plant maintenance and landscape design. Many of these programs award a technical certificate in a related area after meeting certain classwork criteria. Some schools offer a landscape management concentration within a horticulture or agriculture technology program. Associate's degree programs are designed for those aspiring to manage golf courses or nature areas or want to design and install landscapes and irrigation systems. In many cases, course credits can be transferred into a bachelor's degree program.
Associate's degree programs in landscape management typically include horticulture training and education, in addition to general education courses. Programs may also include an internship or similar work experience. Some course topics may include:
- Foundations in the green industry
- Turf grass maintenance
- Ornamental plant materials
- Greenhouse operation
- Theories in landscape construction
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Bachelor's Degree in Landscape Management
This 4-year program is meant for those who aspire to head up a landscape management business or oversee natural areas, such as botanical gardens or arboretums. General education classes are part of the curriculum, along with instruction in turf grass management, plant horticulture, biology and the environment. Students also learn healthy ways to promote strong vegetation. Landscape management is also offered as part of a broader bachelor's degree program in horticulture.
Bachelor's degree programs include general education classes in math, English composition, science and humanities, along with business courses, such as sales and marketing. Most also involve an internship or similar work experience. Course topics within the major include:
- The plant kingdom
- Landscape management and repair
- Soil characteristics
- Turf grass management
- Plant biology
Popular Career Options
Earning an associate's degree in landscape management prepares the individual for a number of job possibilities, including:
- Nursery worker
- Landscape designer
- Horticulture specialist
- Parks supervisor
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The increasing need for lawn and landscaping services should increase demand for landscaping and grounds maintenance workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Jobs for this group were predicted to increase 6% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS noted that the median annual salary for landscaping and groundskeeping workers was $25,030 in May 2015. With some formal education and work experience, an individual may be able to advance to higher positions, such as supervisor (BLS). The median annual salary for first-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service and groundskeeping workers was $43,980 in May 2015, per the BLS.
Certification and Continuing Education
The Professional Grounds Management Society offers Certified Grounds Manager and Certified Grounds Technician credential programs. The technician designation does not require formal education beyond high school, but applicants must have two years of experience as a groundskeeper. The Certified Grounds Manager involves an exam, and applicants must have work experience to be eligible. Whether or not an individual has a college degree in the field determines the amount of experience required.
Landscape management training is available at several degree levels, and they prepare graduates for a variety of employment opportunities in the landscape and gardening industries. Graduates could seek careers as park supervisors, groundskeepers or landscape designers. Additional voluntary professional certifications are also available for grounds technicians and managers.