Professional Landscaper: Career and Salary Facts

From tree trimmers to landscape architects, there are many positions available in the landscaping industry. Read on to learn about some of them. Get information about licensing and education options. Learn about the job outlook and salary for professional landscaper jobs. Schools offering Landscape Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Professional Landscaper?

There are many entry-level jobs available in landscaping. Landscaping workers are manual laborers who help install new landscape elements using specialized equipment and installation techniques. Workers might plant bushes and trees, install sod, water grounds or mulch lawns.

Landscape architects are some of the top of the line for knowledge and running landscape projects. Below may be important information that contains details to become a landscape architect.

Landscape Architect Groundskeepers
Degree Required Bachelor's degree, master's preferred High school diploma
Education Field of Study Landscape architecture N/A
Key Duties Designs parks and outside community projects Lawn care, including mowing, pruning, watering, pest control
Job Growth (2014-2024) 5%* 6%* (all grounds maintenance workers)
Median Salary (2015) $63,810* $25,030* (all landscaping and groundskeeping workers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Careers Are Available as a Landscape Professional?

Groundskeeping workers typically work to maintain the health and appearance of existing grounds. In addition to caring for university and corporate campuses, private residences and cemeteries, groundskeeping workers may also care for athletic fields.

Pesticide handlers apply herbicides, insecticides and fungicides to vegetation by using spraying systems. Job responsibilities for this position could include encouraging plant growth or preventing disease.

Tree trimmers cut away dead branches to clear roads or make room for utility equipment. They may also be tasked with ensuring the health of trees.

Management and supervisory positions in landscaping are typically earned by working in an entry-level position and advancing. Manager and supervisors may take on additional responsibilities, such as selling, human resources management, training, accounting and scheduling.

Landscape architects design playgrounds, campuses, golf courses, resort landscapes and athletic fields. They may be in charge of non-organic elements integrated into a landscaping plan, including sprinklers, lights, sidewalks, electronic systems and seating. Landscape architects are might also plan the location of buildings and roads.

Do I Need a License?

Landscape workers who work with pesticides may need to be licensed. Requirements for licensure vary by state. However, most exams test you on how to handle, dispose of and properly use herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. Landscaping contractors may also need to be licensed in some states. Currently, 49 states require landscape architects to be licensed.

Do I Need An Education?

For most landscaping positions, a high school diploma is sufficient for employment because most of the training takes place on the job. However, landscaping technology certificates could be useful preparation. Those interested in opening their own landscaping contracting business might consider taking business classes or pursuing a bachelor's degree in business. Alternatively, entrepreneurs in this industry could also benefit from a professional degree in landscape architecture. Landscape architects, however, need at least a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture, and many employers prefer a master's degree.

What Is the Job Outlook and Salary?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected the employment rate for landscape architects to increase 5%, from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). As of May 2015, the middle 50% of landscaping and groundskeeping workers earned $10.01-$15.08 per hour, while tree trimmers and pruners earned $12.88-$21.19 per hour. Supervisors made $16.31-$27.48 per hour in 2015, and landscape architects earned a median annual salary of $63,810, according to the BLS.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Surveying and mapping technicians are related careers that require a high school diploma or equivalent. These technicians work with surveyors to travel around and take measurements of Earth's surface in order to create different types of maps. Construction managers and architects are also similar positions, but require a bachelor's degree. Construction managers oversee the planning and details of a particular construction project from the very beginning all the way to the end. Architects are responsible for developing the plans for all kinds of structures, such as houses and buildings.

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