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Career and Education Opportunities for Grounds Keepers in Naperville, Illinois

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for grounds keepers in the Naperville, Illinois area. Currently, 46,630 people work as grounds keepers in Illinois. This is expected to grow 23% to about 57,180 people by 2016. This is better than 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.

A person working as a grounds keeper can expect to earn about $11 hourly or $23,620 yearly on average in Illinois and about $11 hourly or $23,150 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for grounds keepers are not quite as good as in the overall category of Landscaping and Groundskeeping in Illinois, and not quite as good as the overall Landscaping and Groundskeeping category nationally.

There are 166 schools of higher education in the Naperville area, including four within twenty-five miles of Naperville where you can get a degree to start your career as a grounds keeper. 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 studying 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 Naperville 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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: Naperville, Illinois

Naperville, Illinois
Naperville, Illinois photo by JohnDBuell

Naperville is located in Dupage County, Illinois. It has a population of over 143,117, which has grown by 11.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Naperville, 107, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Naperville are valued at $401,600 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty-four new homes were built in Naperville, down from two hundred eighty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Naperville are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, finance and insurance, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 33 minutes. More than 60.6% of Naperville residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 23.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Naperville is 8.1%, which is less than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Naperville residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.9%, is more than both the national and state average. Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church, Saint Thomas The Apostle Church and Bethany Church are some of the churches located in Naperville. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Naperville is home to the High Grove Business Park and the Spring Brook Golf Course as well as Du Page River Park and Winding Creek Park. Shopping malls in the area include Pebblewood Plaza Shopping Center, Cress Creek Square Shopping Center and Cress Creek Shopping Center. Visitors to Naperville can choose from Fairfield Inn by Marriott, EXEL Inns of Chicago and Country Inn Suites Naperville for temporary stays in the area.