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Career and Education Opportunities for Grounds Keepers in Omaha, Nebraska

Grounds keepers can find many career and educational opportunities in the Omaha, Nebraska area. Currently, 7,610 people work as grounds keepers in Nebraska. This is expected to grow 7% to 8,120 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 $10 per hour or $22,490 annually on average in Nebraska. Nationally they average about $11 per hour or $23,150 annually. Earnings for grounds keepers are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Landscaping and Groundskeeping in Nebraska and not quite as good as general Landscaping and Groundskeeping category earnings nationally.

There are thirty-one schools of higher education in the Omaha area, including one within twenty-five miles of Omaha 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 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 Omaha 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

Iowa Western Community College - Council Bluffs, IA

Iowa Western Community College, 2700 College Rd, Council Bluffs, IA 51502-3004. Iowa Western Community College is a medium sized college located in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,642 students. Iowa Western Community College has an associate's degree program in Landscaping and Groundskeeping which graduated eight 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: Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska photo by Yassie

Omaha is located in Douglas County, Nebraska. It has a population of over 438,646, which has grown by 12.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Omaha, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Omaha are valued at $105,100 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 1,576 new homes were built in Omaha, down from 1,905 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Omaha are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 28.7% of Omaha residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Omaha is 4.7%, which is greater than Nebraska's average of 4.5%.

The percentage of Omaha residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 54.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Calvary Baptist Church, Calvary Chapel of Omaha and Calvary Foursquare Gospel Church are all churches located in Omaha. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church.

Omaha is home to the Gibson and the Cedar Hills Golf Course as well as Al Caniglia Field and Adams Park. Shopping malls in the area include Frederick Square Shopping Center, North Park Shopping Center and Oak View Mall. Visitors to Omaha can choose from Countryside Suites, Hampton Inn Omaha-Central and Townhouse Inn for temporary stays in the area.