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Career and Education Opportunities for Grounds Keepers in Thousand Oaks, California

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for grounds keepers in the Thousand Oaks, California area. There are currently 166,000 working grounds keepers in California; this should grow by 17% to about 194,500 working grounds keepers in the state 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%. Grounds keepers generally landscape or maintain grounds of property using hand or power tools or equipment.

The income of a grounds keeper is about $11 hourly or $24,190 annually on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $11 per hour or $23,150 yearly on average. 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.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Thousand Oaks where you can study to be a grounds keeper, among fourteen schools of higher education total in the Thousand Oaks area. Given that the most common education level for grounds keepers is less than a high school diploma, you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a grounds keeper if you already have a high school diploma.


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 Thousand Oaks 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.


Ventura College - Ventura, CA

Ventura College, 4667 Telegraph Rd, Ventura, CA 93003-3872. Ventura College is a large college located in Ventura, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,456 students. Ventura College has 2 areas of study related to Grounds Keeper. They are:

  • Landscaping and Groundskeeping, associate's degree and two to four year.
  • Turf and Turfgrass Management, associate's degree and two to four year.


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: Thousand Oaks, California

Thousand Oaks, California
Thousand Oaks, California photo by Tdv294

Thousand Oaks is situated in Ventura County, California. It has a population of over 123,091, which has grown by 5.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Thousand Oaks, 133, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Thousand Oaks are priced at $499,900 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, ten new homes were built in Thousand Oaks, down from seventy-one the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Thousand Oaks are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and finance and insurance. The average commute to work is about 26 minutes. More than 42.2% of Thousand Oaks residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Thousand Oaks is 8.6%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Thousand Oaks residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. King of Glory Lutheran Church, Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses and Temple Adat Elohim are all churches located in Thousand Oaks. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Thousand Oaks is home to the Rockwell International Science Center Library and the Lang Ranch as well as Joel McCrea Wildlife Preserve and Evenstar Park. Shopping centers in the area include Jeffries Center Shopping Center, Evergreens Shopping Center and Westoaks-Hampshire Shopping Center. Visitors to Thousand Oaks can choose from Best Western Oaks Lodge, Best Western Thousand Oaks Inn and Best Value Inn - Thousand Oaks for temporary stays in the area.