What does a Grounds Maintenance Worker do?

Median Pay $28,110
Growth Rate 11%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

A grounds maintenance worker is employed in a variety of places like golf courses, parks, and businesses ensuring the grounds are healthy, attractive, and functional. Although these workers are most often working outdoors, some jobs are indoors such as those hired by a mall, hotel, botanical garden, and other public and commercial facilities caring for plants and gardens.

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How to Become a Grounds Maintenance Worker

become a grounds maintenance worker

Some employers want a grounds maintenance worker to have a formal education or certification, especially for jobs related to horticulture, landscape design, or arboriculture. However, most employers do not require a formal education or certification though may require a valid driver’s license. Employers will expect you to able to physically perform the duties of the job, work well with others, and be reliable.

For grounds maintenance workers that must handle pesticides and fertilizers, you must usually get licensed by your state as these are considered hazardous materials. If you are new to this career, you are usually given on-the-job training.

Job Description of a Grounds Maintenance Worker

Grounds maintenance workers typically mow grass, edge, and fertilize lawns. They also weed and mulch landscape beds and plant flowers, shrubs, and trees and may also trim hedges, small trees and shrubs, and would remove damaged, dead, or unwanted trees. In addition to all this, they water gardens, lawns, and landscapes and may maintain or install sprinkler systems. These workers also rake leaves, clear snow from walkways, and upkeep parking lots, fountains, sidewalks, and other grounds keeping equipment, like benches.

Some workers maintain cemeteries and memorial gardens and may be required to dig graves using a backhoe. These are just a few of the tasks these workers may be asked to do. Each day could easily bring a new surprise that a grounds maintenance worker must be prepared to handle.

Maintenance Worker Job Posting

Let’s look at a job description posted by the National Park Service. This job announcement is looking for a person to perform the following responsibilities:

  • Performs labor and custodial duties including; cleaning offices, public restrooms, and other areas, collecting and transporting garbage, and cleaning floors and carpets.
  • Performs and assists higher graded employees in a variety of tasks related to the upkeep of buildings, utilities, trails, and grounds.
  • Operates riding and small power mowers, gas powered weed eaters, gas powered hand auger, and grounds hand tools such as rakes, pole pruners, hand pruners, and shovels.
  • Operates vehicles (sedans, pickups, and trucks up to one ton capacity) to transport passengers, supplies, or materials.
  • Performs and assists with preparation and painting of various types of surfaces using interior and exterior paints and preservative compounds.
  • Performs and assists higher graded employees in general maintenance and maintains historic landscapes and housing areas.
  • Performs and assists higher graded employees in minor plumbing repairs and minor electrical work.
  • Performs and assists higher graded employees in maintenance and repairs to items constructed of wood, concrete, metal, timber, stone, and other miscellaneous materials using basic hand and power tools.
  • Assists with replacing elements to buildings, residences, and equipment such as boards, siding, faucets, and mower blades.
  • In winter months duties may also include snow shoveling, snow-blowing, snow-plowing and snow removal to include sanding both by hand and with mechanical spreader.
  • Some parks will require boundary fence work.

This position was posted to run 12/31/2018 until 04/19/2019 with a salary range of $15.84 to $24.92 per hour on USAjobs.gov (link opens in a new tab). USAjobs.gov is an official website of the United States government and part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Free Teacher and Student Resources

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education offers a rather large Landscaping and Turf Management Instructor Guide (link opens in a new tab) on their website that educators may find useful in the classroom.

Grounds Maintenance Worker Career Video Transcript

Creating and maintaining outdoor spaces is the work of grounds maintenance workers. Under the direction of a manager, they ensure that both public and private grounds are beautiful and healthy. Landscaping workers are typically employed by homeowners, apartment or office buildings, shopping malls, and hotels… to plant and trim trees, flowers, and other plants. Some maintain permanent fixtures, such as walkways, patios, and decks, or install lighting and sprinkler systems.

Groundskeeping workers keep properties, such as parks and businesses, looking good through every season. In summer, they care for plants, grass, and trees… in fall, they rake and mulch leaves and in winter, they clear snow. They also may maintain parking lots, fountains, swimming pools, and fences. Athletic field groundskeepers keep natural and artificial turf in top condition. They mark out boundaries, and paint turf with team logos and names. At cemeteries, groundskeepers may use a backhoe to dig graves. Greenskeepers maintain golf courses, from intensive turf maintenance, to keeping canopies and tee markers in good repair. Other workers also help keep grounds accessible: pesticide workers apply chemicals to handle weeds, insects, and diseases.

Tree trimmers and pruners work high off the ground to cut away excess branches— keeping roads and sidewalks safe, and clearing utility lines. Many grounds maintenance jobs are seasonal, although year-round positions may be available. Work is generally outdoors in all weather conditions, and involves frequent bending, kneeling, lifting and shoveling. Grounds maintenance workers typically do not require any formal education and are trained on the job. Workers who apply pesticides or fertilizers typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and must obtain a license.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Grounds Maintenance Workers.

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The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.