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Career and Education Opportunities for Grounds Keepers in Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for grounds keepers. About 33,800 people are currently employed as grounds keepers in North Carolina. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 24% to about 41,900 people employed. 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.

Grounds keepers earn approximately $10 per hour or $21,640 yearly on average in North Carolina. Nationally they average about $11 per hour or $23,150 per year. Grounds keepers earn less than people working in the category of Landscaping and Groundskeeping generally in North Carolina and less than people in the Landscaping and Groundskeeping category nationally.

The Raleigh area is home to twenty-nine schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Raleigh where you can get a degree as a grounds keeper. Grounds keepers usually hold less than a high school diploma, so 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 Raleigh 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

North Carolina State University at Raleigh - Raleigh, NC

North Carolina State University at Raleigh, 2101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27695-7001. North Carolina State University at Raleigh is a large university located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 32,871 students and an admission rate of 60%. North Carolina State University at Raleigh has 2 areas of study related to Grounds Keeper. They are:

  • Landscaping and Groundskeeping, associate's degree which graduated 24 students in 2008.
  • Turf and Turfgrass Management, associate's degree and bachelor's degree which graduated twenty-seven and four students respectively in 2008.

Wayne Community College - Goldsboro, NC

Wayne Community College, 3000 Wayne Memorial Dr, Goldsboro, NC 27533-8002. Wayne Community College is a small college located in Goldsboro, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,376 students. Wayne Community College has an associate's degree program in Turf and Turfgrass Management which graduated eight students in 2008.

Johnston Community College - Smithfield, NC

Johnston Community College, 245 College Road, Smithfield, NC 27577-2350. Johnston Community College is a small college located in Smithfield, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,128 students. Johnston Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Landscaping and Groundskeeping which graduated two and three students respectively 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: Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina photo by Jmturner

Raleigh is located in Wake County, North Carolina. It has a population of over 392,552, which has grown by 42.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Raleigh, 88, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Raleigh are valued at $217,600 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, 1,685 new homes were built in Raleigh, down from 3,224 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Raleigh are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 44.9% of Raleigh residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Raleigh is 7.2%, which is less than North Carolina's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Raleigh residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.8%, is less than both the national and state average. Highland Church, Hillcrest Church and Wake Chapel are all churches located in Raleigh. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Raleigh is home to the North Ridge Country Club and the Pamlico Junction as well as Carl Alwin Schenck Memorial Forest and Rothgeb Park. Visitors to Raleigh can choose from Hampton Inn - Capital Blvd. North, Best Western Raleigh Inn and Diamond Hospitality Inc for temporary stays in the area.