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Career and Education Opportunities for Grounds Keepers in Aurora, Illinois

Grounds keepers can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Aurora, Illinois area. About 46,630 people are currently employed as grounds keepers in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 23% to about 57,180 people employed. This is better than the national trend for grounds keepers, which sees this job pool growing by about 18.0% over the next eight years. In general, grounds keepers landscape or maintain grounds of property using hand or power tools or equipment.

Grounds keepers earn approximately $11 per hour or $23,620 yearly on average in Illinois. Nationally they average about $11 hourly or $23,150 annually. Grounds keepers earn less than people working in the category of Landscaping and Groundskeeping generally in Illinois and less than people in the Landscaping and Groundskeeping category nationally.

There are six schools within twenty-five miles of Aurora where you can study to be a grounds keeper, among 175 schools of higher education total in the Aurora 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.

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 Aurora 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

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has a one to two year program in Landscaping and Groundskeeping which graduated seven students in 2008.

Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has a one to two year program in Landscaping and Groundskeeping which graduated three students in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has 2 areas of study related to Grounds Keeper. They are:

  • Landscaping and Groundskeeping, less than one year and one to two year which graduated one and six students respectively in 2008.
  • Turf and Turfgrass Management, less than one year which graduated 8 students in 2008.

Kishwaukee College - Malta, IL

Kishwaukee College, 21193 Malta Rd, Malta, IL 60150-9699. Kishwaukee College is a small college located in Malta, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,134 students. Kishwaukee College has an associate's degree program in Landscaping and Groundskeeping which graduated four students in 2008.

Joliet Junior College - Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431-8938. Joliet Junior College is a large college located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,088 students. Joliet Junior College has an associate's degree program in Turf and Turfgrass Management which graduated six students in 2008.

McHenry County College - Crystal Lake, IL

McHenry County College, 8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012-2761. McHenry County College is a medium sized college located in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,374 students. McHenry County College has a less than one year program in Landscaping and Groundskeeping which graduated three students in 2008.

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: Aurora, Illinois

Aurora, Illinois
Aurora, Illinois photo by File Upload Bot

Aurora is situated in Kane County, Illinois. It has a population of over 171,782, which has grown by 20.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Aurora, 103, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Aurora are valued at $143,000 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred twenty-seven new homes were constructed in Aurora, down from three hundred thirty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Aurora are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and finance and insurance. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 29.9% of Aurora residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.3%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Aurora is 10.9%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Aurora residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Holy Angels Roman Catholic Church, Saint Therese Roman Catholic Church and Bethany of Fox Valley United Methodist Church are all churches located in Aurora. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Aurora is home to the Watkins Hall and the Landmark Industrial Park as well as North River Street Park and O'Donnell Park. Shopping centers in the area include Yorkshire Shopping Center, Village Mart Shopping Center and Fox Valley Mall. Visitors to Aurora can choose from Comfort Suites Aurora, Galena Hotel and Comfort Inn for temporary stays in the area.