What is a Landscape Technician?
Landscape technicians bring an outdoor space to life by planting and maintaining flowers, shrubs and trees and constructing hardscapes such as decks and patios. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), landscape technicians do not need a formal degree but they are required to be creative, driven and physically fit. The following table offers a summary of their duties, salary, job growth, and other requirements.
|Education Requirements||High school diploma|
|Certification||Many states require a license for pest applicators, otherwise not mandatory|
|Key Duties||Maintaining outdoor spaces by keeping the area clean, healthy and attractive; fertilizing and taking care of plants, lawns and other areas|
|Key Qualities||Visualization, physical fitness, self-motivation|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)*||9% (for Grounds Maintenance Workers)|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$29,400 (for Grounds Maintenance Workers)|
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Landscaping Job Description
Landscape technicians create, improve and manage outdoor spaces such as gardens and lawns, athletic fields and golf courses, parks, and more. This requires them to perform a number of tasks, such as digging and raking the soil, weeding and mulching the area, fertilizing the land and growing new flowers and plants, trimming hedges and cutting branches, and mowing lawns. Besides ensuring the attractiveness of the landscape, they must also keep the area free of diseases and insects. Also, because of the physically demanding nature of the job, landscape technicians are expected to be in good physical shape. Typically, they work under the supervision of a landscape manager.
Landscaping responsibilities are defined by where landscape technicians work and the job title they hold. For instance, landscaping workers create or upgrade landscapes or build hardscapes like patios and walkways. On the other hand, groundskeepers tend to athletic fields to ensure that the grass is in top condition and the space is fit and ready for play. Other groundskeepers take care of park and recreational facilities, while some are in charge of maintaining cemeteries and memorials. Pesticide handlers work to prevent diseases and control weeds and insects by applying pesticides, fungicides and insecticides. Then there are arborists, who keep roads and sidewalks clear of encroaching tree branches and shrubs by trimming and maintaining them with tools such as powered pruners, handsaws and clippers.
Landscape Technician Requirements
Landscape technician jobs require no formal education though some employers may look favorably upon candidates with a degree in horticulture, landscape design or a similarly related subject. Bigger institutions may offer the necessary coursework to supplement the training. Typically, on-the-job training is enough, where new technicians are taught skills such as planning and maintaining landscapes and how to use equipment like mowers, trimmers and small tractors. Technicians who exhibit good communicating skills may advance to the role of a supervisor, though managerial or contractor-level jobs usually require a formal degree and several years of prior experience.
Most states require pesticide handlers and applicators to hold a license, which can be obtained by passing a test on the subject. However, certification is not mandatory for other jobs in this field. Still, acquiring one makes the candidate attractive to employees. The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) provides certification for landscape technicians who work with installation and maintenance and also for those who work with cool-season Turfgrass. The two-section tests are offered online and have a qualifying score of 70 percent.