Groundskeepers are responsible for maintaining the area around different types of facilities, including golf courses, athletic fields, cemeteries, university campuses, and parks. They keep the sod, trees, and plants healthy. They may rake and mulch leaves, clear snow, or install irrigation equipment. They are also responsible for maintaining sidewalks, parking lots, groundskeeping equipment, pools, fountains, fences, planters, and benches.
Groundskeepers who specialize in athletic fields keep the turf in healthy condition and mark boundaries and team logos on the field. They make sure the field has proper drainage. They water, mow, and fertilize the field regularly. Groundskeepers who specialize in golf courses may relocate holes on putting greens. They may also repair and paint canopies, benches, ball washers, and tee markers. Those who specialize in maintaining parks and recreation facilities may remove snow and ice from walkways, build snow fences, and clean swimming pools. They make repairs to buildings and keep buildings freshly painted.
Groundskeepers need to be in good physical shape due to the strenuous nature of the job. They should be able to stand and walk for most of the day. They often are required to lift heavy loads of 100 pound or even more. They need to have the ability to follow instructions carefully and precisely. They also should be responsible and self-motivated because they are often left to work without supervision. Those interested in supervisory positions should have good communication and leadership skills.
In 2002, groundskeepers earned a median hourly wage of $9.51. The following shows the median hourly wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of groundskeepers:
- Elementary and secondary schools -- $13.36
- Local government -- $11.81
- Services to buildings and dwellings -- $9.38
- Other amusement and recreation industries -- $8.92
- Lessors of real estate -- $8.65
- Employment services -- $8.05
Training and Education
Some groundskeeper jobs require a high school diploma, but, other than that, there usually are no minimum education requirements. A majority of workers have a high school diploma or less. Safety procedures and equipment operation are typically taught on the job. Being able to follow directions well is usually the most important requirement. If driving is involved in the job, employers usually try to hire candidates with a good driving record and truck driving experience. Some groundskeepers may start their own businesses if they have gained enough experience and have enough motivation. Groundskeepers can earn certification from the Professional Grounds Management Society if they have a high school diploma or equivalent, plus 2 years of experience in the field.
In 2002, groundskeepers held about 1,074,000 jobs.
Between 2002 and 2012, employment of groundskeepers is expected to increase faster than the average. This will result from expected growth in building construction, as well as an increase in the number of highways and parks. The maintenance of existing facilities will also generate demand for services from these workers. More businesses are expected to hire groundskeeping services to improve the image of their business, and homeowners will continue to be a growing source of demand. More two-income households lack the time to care for their property themselves and will hire more groundskeepers to do the work for them.
To learn more about hospitality careers, please see our directory of schools offering Hospitality Training and Degrees.