If you want a career outdoors and don't mind regular physical work, groundskeeping could be a good choice. In this job, you either work to maintain the grounds of an employing organization, or as a contracted employee hired by various firms. Pay is typically modest -- averaging $25,870 in 2012 says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics -- but intrinsic rewards are possible if you like nature and caring for plants.
Education and Training
Groundskeepers often don't need to meet any formal education requirements, according to the BLS. However, some higher-paying jobs or gigs at golf courses and other more upscale workplaces may require that you have a degree in a field such as landscaping or horticulture. This is especially true for a head groundskeeper position. The BLS also noted that state licenses are usually required if you dispense pesticides. This involves passing a test on proper use and disposal of the chemicals.
A primary role of the groundskeeper is to mow and care for the lawn area of a business. This includes spreading fertilizer at various points throughout the year and cutting the grass as needed. This involves the use of commercial mowers and fertilizing spreaders. You also have to trim trees and shrubs, which usually requires the use of electronic hedgers or trimmers. The groundskeeper also pulls weed in landscaping and sprays weed killing chemicals at times.
The equipment used in groundskeeping periodically needs repairing. The more capable you are of completing basic mechanical repairs to lawn equipment and tools, the more valuable you become to an employer. However, some repairs require calling a repair shop. Groundskeeper jobs may also involve basic maintenance and repair around the property, including exterior painting, reseeding or sodding for grass repair and fixing things like broken doors and windows.
Groundskeepers also perform a variety of other tasks to maintain the aesthetic look of a yard or field. Specific tasks vary by employer. You commonly use a leaf blower to gather and remove fallen leaves when needed. Groundskeepers must also keep sidewalks and parking lots clear of debris and remove sticks and other items from lawns. Facilities may also have fountains and landscape areas that require periodic cleaning.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.