Most grounds maintenance workers need no formal education and are trained on the job. Most states require licensing for workers who apply pesticides.
Although most grounds maintenance jobs have no education requirements, some employers may require formal education in areas such as landscape design, horticulture, or arboriculture.
Most states require workers who apply pesticides to be licensed. Getting a license usually involves passing a test on the proper use and disposal of insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
The Professional Landcare Network offers seven certifications in landscaping and grounds maintenance for workers at various experience levels.
The Tree Care Industry Association offers certification for tree care safety professionals.
The International Society of Arboriculture offers four certifications for workers at various experience levels.
Grounds maintenance workers who have good communication skills may become crew leaders or advance into other supervisory positions. Becoming a manager or a landscape contractor may require some formal education and several years of experience. Some workers use their experience to start their own businesses.
A short period of on-the-job training is usually enough to teach new hires the skills they need, which often include how to plant and maintain areas and how to use mowers, trimmers, leaf blowers, small tractors, and other equipment. Large institutional employers such as golf courses, university campuses, or municipalities may supplement on-the-job training with coursework in horticulture or small-engine repair.
Self-motivated. Because they often work with little supervision, grounds maintenance workers must be able to do their job independently.
Stamina. Grounds maintenance workers must be capable of doing physically strenuous labor for long hours, occasionally in extreme heat or cold.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition