What does a groundskeeper do?
Groundskeepers focus on the maintenance of existing environments such as individual residences, parks, playgrounds, athletic fields, recreation facilities, cemeteries, golf courses, and college and university campuses. They care for trees, plants, and sod; mow, water, and fertilize lawns; rake and mulch leaves; use irrigation methods to regulate water use and decrease waste; and clear walkways, parking lots, and public spaces from litter, snow, and other obstacles. They make sure parking lots, sidewalks, fences, fountains, pools, benches, planters, and equipment are properly maintained and repaired. They often inspect outdoor areas, buildings, and equipment and perform the necessary repairs and improvements. Groundskeepers also often care for indoor gardens and plantings in public and commercial facilities such as botanical gardens, shopping malls, and hotels.
Groundskeepers often use a variety of tools such as rakes, shovels, hedge and brush trimmers, handsaws, axes, chain saws, electric clippers, power lawnmowers, and snow blowers. Some have special vehicles such as twin-axel vehicles and tractors.
What kind of training does a groundskeeper need?
Most groundskeepers learn their skills on the job, but an increasing amount of employers are seeking candidates that have formal education in areas such as horticulture, landscape design, and business management. Groundskeepers who work with pesticides are required to be licensed or certified in some states. Licensing requirements vary but typically include passing an examination on the proper use and disposal of a variety of pesticides. Groundskeepers can gain voluntary certification from the Professional Grounds Management Society. Certification requirements include an associate or bachelor degree, a minimum of 4 to 6 years experience, and passing a written examination.
What are the prospects for a career as a groundskeeper?
Employment of groundskeepers is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 18% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increasing demand for lawn care and landscaping services and increased construction will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be very good especially for groundskeepers with extensive experience and those who do not mind working during off seasons in less desirable weather conditions.
How much do groundskeepers make?
As of October 2009, the middle 50% of groundskeepers earned average annual salaries between $23,478 and $32,330. The top 10% earned average annual salaries of more than $36,885 (2).
A career as a groundskeeper is a great choice for individuals interested in caring for the outside areas of a variety of buildings and structures. Groundskeepers must be self-motivated, responsible, and be able to learn quickly and manage time wisely. They must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills to effectively interact with a variety of customers.