California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers in San Diego County

May also be called: Athletic Fieldskeepers; Care Takers; Cemetery Workers; Gardeners; Golf Course Laborers; Grass Cutters; Greens Keepers; Ground Crewmen; Grounds Caretakers; Grounds Keepers; Lawn Care Workers; and Yard Workers

What Would I Do?

Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers landscape or maintain property grounds. They mow lawns; trim hedges, shrubs, and trees; grow and plant new vegetation; and rake leaves. Workers may also maintain and repair equipment, remove debris, compost, and pull weeds. Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers dig holes to plant or remove vegetation. They also fertilize and water plants, shrubs, and trees to keep them strong and healthy. Some Workers use herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides on lawns, plants, shrubs, and trees to keep them free from pests and weeds.

Some Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers repair or install fencing. Fences can be made out of various types of materials, such as wood, vinyl, chain link, or wrought iron. Knowledge of fencing materials and the various types of tools used to fix them are helpful when repairing fences. During repair, many times parts can be salvaged and reused while other times complete replacement is needed. The process of installing fences requires the individual to be able to understand detailed instructions that include type of fence material, placement, number of post holes, amount of concrete needed, and assembly instructions.

Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers install and repair sprinkler systems. Repairing sprinkler systems may involve replacing the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes, fittings, valves, sprinkler heads, or automatic irrigation system controllers. With the installation of new systems, Workers should be able to follow blueprints or specific instructions for placement of the PVC pipe, sprinklers, and controllers. Workers also need to be aware of how to properly cut and connect pipes and attach sprinkler heads. Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers who install irrigation systems and automatic irrigation system controllers for landscaping for new residential and commercial buildings should be familiar with the requirements of the California green building code, which is also known as CALGreen.

Tools and Technology
Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers use a variety of tools, including cultivators, hand and hedge clippers, fertilizer spreaders, hoes, lawnmowers, power chippers, rakes, and shovels.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Operate vehicles and powered equipment, such as mowers, tractors, twin-axle vehicles, snow blowers, chain saws, electric clippers, sod cutters, and pruning saws. Operation and Control
Mow or edge lawns, using power mowers or edgers.Control Precision
Care for established lawns by mulching, aerating, weeding, grubbing, removing thatch, or trimming or edging around flower beds, walks, or walls.Multilimb Coordination
Use hand tools, such as shovels, rakes, pruning saws, saws, hedge or brush trimmers, or axes. Arm-Hand Steadiness
Prune or trim trees, shrubs, or hedges, using shears, pruners, or chain saws. Trunk Strength
Maintain or repair tools, equipment, or structures, such as buildings, greenhouses, fences, or benches, using hand or power tools.Mechanical
Mix and spray or spread fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides onto grass, shrubs, or trees, using hand or automatic sprayers or spreaders. Manual Dexterity
Follow planned landscaping designs to determine where to lay sod, sow grass, or plant flowers or foliage. Visualization
Plant seeds, bulbs, foliage, flowering plants, grass, ground covers, trees, or shrubs and apply mulch for protection, using gardening tools. Extent Flexibility
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers work outdoors in a variety of weather conditions. Much of their work involves standing, bending, kneeling, lifting, and shoveling. Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers should be in good physical condition and be able to lift more than 25 pounds. They may risk suffering injuries from tools, machinery, or falls; however, risks are usually minimized by following proper safety procedures. Additional safety measures should also be taken when working with fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals. Most work 40 hours a week; however, some may only work part-time. Long hours may also be required to complete a job.

Unionization is not common in this occupation. However, Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers who work for government agencies usually join a union.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers may appeal to those who enjoy working outside and tackling practical, hands-on problems and solutions. In addition, those who are knowledgeable about plants, shrubs, and trees may also like this type of work.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages

The median wage in 2016 for Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers in California is $27,013 annually, or $12.99 hourly. The median wage for Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers in San Diego County is $26,421 annually, or $12.70 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$22,098$27,013$35,558
San Diego County$21,353$26,421$36,211
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits

Benefit packages vary widely by company. Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers who work for government agencies usually receive benefits such as health and life insurance, vacation, sick leave, holidays, and retirement plans. Self-employed Workers provide their own insurance.

What is the Job Outlook?

More Workers are expected to be needed to keep up with increasing demand from businesses, institutions, and individual homeowners. Overall job opportunities should be good. However, like many occupations, employment may be sensitive to the fluctuations of the economy.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers is expected to grow at an average rate compared with the total for all occupations. Jobs for Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers are expected to increase by 13.8 percent, or 19,000 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

In San Diego County, the number of Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers is expected to grow faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers are expected to increase by 23.6 percent, or 3,280 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Estimated
Employment
Projected
Employment
Numeric
Change
Percent
Change
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Replacements
California
(2012-2022)
137,600156,60019,00013.834,700
San Diego County
(2012-2022)
13,92017,2003,28023.63,510
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 1,890 new job openings per year is expected for Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers, plus an additional 3,470 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 5,360 job openings.

In San Diego County, an average of 328 new job openings per year is expected for Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers, plus an additional 351 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 679 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
California
(2012-2022)
1,8903,4705,360
San Diego County
(2012-2022)
328351679
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

Many employers prefer to hire individuals with a high school diploma or general education diploma (GED). Entry-level Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers generally receive on-the-job training by working with an experienced Worker or supervisor. Most of their duties are the same as an experienced Worker. Employers also prefer Workers to have a valid California Driver License.

Experience

The amount and type of work experience required varies by employer. However, some employers prefer at least a year of landscape and ground care maintenance experience.

Early Career Planning

High school students interested in landscaping and groundskeeping work should take courses in basic mathematics, biology, earth science, English, and wood and metal shop. Training programs for Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers may also be available through Regional Occupational Programs (ROP). To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site.

Continuing Education

There are currently no requirements for continuing education for Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers. However, if the Worker possesses a Qualified Applicator Certificate, 20 hours of approved continuing education must be taken every two years to renew the certificate. Four of those 20 hours must be in pesticide law and regulation.

Licensing and Certification

Employees work under the license of the employer or contractor. Those who wish to enter self-employment as a landscaping contractor must obtain a license through the Department of Consumer Affairs, Contractors State License Board. Contact the agency that issues the license for additional information. Click on the license title below for details.

Some certifications may be required for Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers, such as a Qualified Applicator. This certificate is required for individuals who apply or supervise the use of pesticides and materials for pest control. To become certified, the applicant must take a written examination and pass the exam with 70 percent or higher. The certification must be renewed every two years. Additional information and requirements may be found at the California Department of Pesticide Regulation at www.cdpr.ca.gov. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

  • Search by Field of Study to find what programs are available and what schools offer those programs. You may use keywords such as: Gardening, Groundskeeping, Plants, and Turf.
  • Search by Training Provider to find schools by name, type of school, or location.

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

The largest industries employing Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Services to Buildings and Dwellings 42.1%
Local Government 7.0%
Other Amusement & Recreation Industries 6.1%
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting 2.6%
Elementary and Secondary Schools 2.2%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Newspaper classified ads, Internet job listings, and word of mouth may also provide job leads. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers.

  • Landscape
  • Landscaping
  • Lawn Maintenance
  • Lawn Services

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

As Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers gain experience, they may become supervisors or managers. Some Workers may start their own business by obtaining a Landscaping Contractor's license.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers with links to more information.

OccupationOccupational
Guide
Industry
Report
Occupational
Profile
Farmworkers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and GreenhouseGuide
Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, VegetationProfile
Tree Trimmers and PrunersGuide

Other Sources

  • California Department of Consumer Affairs, Contractors State License Board
         www.cslb.ca.gov
  • California Department of Pesticide Regulation
         www.cdpr.ca.gov
  • California Landscape Contractors Association
         www.clca.org

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SystemCode
SOC - Standard Occupational Classification37-3011
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers37-3011.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)RCI
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs
   Landscaping and Groundskeeping 010605
   Turf and Turfgrass Management 010607
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)
   Landscape Design and Maintenance010910
   Turfgrass Technology010940