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Career and Education Opportunities for Grounds Keepers in San Diego, California

For those living in the San Diego, California area, there are many career and education opportunities for grounds keepers. Currently, 166,000 people work as grounds keepers in California. This is expected to grow 17% to 194,500 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for grounds keepers are expected to grow by about 18.0%. In general, grounds keepers landscape or maintain grounds of property using hand or power tools or equipment.

Grounds keepers earn approximately $11 hourly or $24,190 per year on average in California. Nationally they average about $11 per hour or $23,150 per year. Earnings for grounds keepers are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Landscaping and Groundskeeping in California and not quite as good as general Landscaping and Groundskeeping category earnings nationally.

The San Diego area is home to sixty schools of higher education, including four within twenty-five miles of San Diego where you can get a degree as a grounds keeper. The most common level of education for grounds keepers is less than a high school diploma. It will take only a short time to learn to be a grounds keeper if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Grounds Keeper

Grounds Keeper video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, grounds keepers landscape or maintain grounds of property using hand or power tools or equipment. They also workers typically perform a variety of tasks, which may include any combination of the following: sod laying, mowing, and installation of mortarless segmental concrete masonry wall units.

Grounds keepers use hand tools such as shovels, rakes, pruning saws, saws, hedge and brush trimmers, and axes. They also operate powered machinery such as mowers, tractors, twin-axle vehicles, snow blowers, chain-saws and pruning saws. Equally important, grounds keepers have to mow and edge lawns, using power mowers and edgers. They are often called upon to prune and trim trees, shrubs, and hedges, using shears or chain saws. They are expected to care for established lawns by mulching, aerating, weeding, grubbing and removing thatch, and trimming and edging around flower beds and walls. Finally, grounds keepers water lawns and plants, using portable sprinkler systems or watering cans.

Every day, grounds keepers are expected to be able to control objects and devices with precise control. They need to coordinate both hands in a single activity.

It is important for grounds keepers to mix and spray or spread fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides onto grass and trees, using hand or automatic sprayers or spreaders. They are often called upon to maintain and repair tools, machinery, and structures such as buildings and benches, using hand and power tools. They also follow planned landscaping designs to establish where to lay sod or plant flowers and foliage. They are sometimes expected to formulate and cultivate lawns and gardens. Somewhat less frequently, grounds keepers are also expected to care for natural turf fields, making sure the underlying soil has the required composition to allow proper drainage and to support the grasses used on the fields.

Grounds keepers sometimes are asked to advise customers on plant selection and care. They also have to be able to set up rock gardens and/or playground machinery And finally, they sometimes have to decorate gardens with stones and plants.

Like many other jobs, grounds keepers must be reliable and be able to work independently and make decisions on their own.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in San Diego include:

  • Integrated Pest Management Technician. Mix or apply pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides through sprays, dusts, vapors, soil incorporation or chemical application on trees, shrubs, or botanical crops. Usually requires specific training and State or Federal certification.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Grounds Keeper Training

MiraCosta College - Oceanside, CA

MiraCosta College, One Barnard Drive, Oceanside, CA 92056-3899. MiraCosta College is a large college located in Oceanside, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,910 students. MiraCosta College has 2 areas of study related to Grounds Keeper. They are:

  • Landscaping and Groundskeeping, less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated seven, two, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Turf and Turfgrass Management, associate's degree and two to four year.

Southwestern College - Chula Vista, CA

Southwestern College, 900 Otay Lakes Rd, Chula Vista, CA 91910-7299. Southwestern College is a large college located in Chula Vista, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,997 students. Southwestern College has 2 areas of study related to Grounds Keeper. They are:

  • Landscaping and Groundskeeping, less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated three, two, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Turf and Turfgrass Management, associate's degree and two to four year.

Cuyamaca College - El Cajon, CA

Cuyamaca College, 900 Rancho San Diego Pky, El Cajon, CA 92019. Cuyamaca College is a medium sized college located in El Cajon, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,926 students. Cuyamaca College has 2 areas of study related to Grounds Keeper. They are:

  • Landscaping and Groundskeeping, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated five, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Turf and Turfgrass Management, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated three, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.

San Diego Mesa College - San Diego, CA

San Diego Mesa College, 7250 Mesa College Dr, San Diego, CA 92111-4998. San Diego Mesa College is a large college located in San Diego, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 21,460 students. San Diego Mesa College has a less than one year program in Landscaping and Groundskeeping.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Desert Landscaper: The Desert Botanical Garden is pleased to offer the Desert Landscaper Certification Program for over ten years.

For more information, see the Desert Botanical Garden website.

Arborist / Municipal Specialist: This credential was developed by the ISA and the Society of Municipal Arboriculture for those involved in managing the complex aspect of trees in an urban environment.

For more information, see the International Society of Arboriculture website.

Automatic Sprinkler System Layout: This certification program is for engineering technicians engaged in the layout and detailing of automatic sprinkler systems which must meet existing and proposed code and statutory requirements.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Certified Grounds Technician: For those applicants who are directly involved with performing the day-to-day tasks of grounds maintenance, PGMS offers a certification program.

For more information, see the Professional Grounds Management Society website.

Certified Ornamental Lanscape Professional: Earn the Certified Ornamental Landscape Professional (COLP) designation by completing the "Principles of Landscape Tree & Shrub Maintenance" self-study course.

For more information, see the Professional Landcare Network website.

Certified Turfgrass Professional: Earn the Certified Turfgrass Professional (CTP) designation by enrolling in the Principles of Turfgrass Management a distance-based, self-study certificate course offered through the University of Georgia.

For more information, see the Professional Landcare Network website.

Certified Turfgrass Professional - Cool Season Lawns: Earn the Certified Turfgrass Professional of Cool Season Lawns (CTP-CSL) designation by completing the self-study course, Management of Cool Season Lawns.

For more information, see the Professional Landcare Network website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: San Diego, California

San Diego, California
San Diego, California photo by FlickreviewR

San Diego is situated in San Diego County, California. It has a population of over 1,279,329, which has grown by 4.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in San Diego, 141, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Diego are valued at $323,700 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, six hundred forty-one new homes were constructed in San Diego, down from seven hundred forty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in San Diego are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 35.0% of San Diego residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in San Diego is 10.5%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of San Diego residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.7%, is less than both the national and state average. Penasquitos Nazarene Church, Peace Lutheran Church and Paul E Kidd African Methodist Episcopal Church are some of the churches located in San Diego. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

San Diego is home to the Zlac Rowing Club and the Rancho Los Penasquitos Golf Course as well as Adobe Bluffs Park and John F Kennedy Park. Shopping malls in the area include San Diego Factory Outlet Shopping Center, San Carlos Shopping Center and Montgomery Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to San Diego can choose from Best Western Posada at the Yac, Beachfront San Diego and Banana Bungalow Hostel San Diego for temporary stays in the area.