Caring for lawns and gardens at people's homes and on commercial property, most landscaping professionals love working outdoors with their hands. Whether they are mowing, edging, and fertilizing lawns or trimming hedges, trees, and shrubs, landscapers nurture and preen our yards and green spaces. In order to properly maintain a landscape, grounds maintenance professionals must be knowledgeable about a wide variety of flowers, shrubs, trees, and other plant species, as well as a wide array of landscaping equipment. Many choose to gain expertise in this field through online landscaping certificate programs.
Typical accredited online certificate programs in landscaping take less than one year to finish; in fact, many programs are designed to be completed over a single winter semester. Most programs cover a wide range of plant basics, including identification, seasonal plantings, grass maintenance, turf, water, and pest management. According to data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 1.28 million people were employed as grounds and landscape maintenance workers in 2014.
Landscape design certificate programs prepare students for a wide variety of tasks, including upgrades of existing lawns and gardens as well as the design and installation of new ones. Landscape professionals who work for large organizations, such as colleges and amusement parks, may be part of a team of maintenance workers who keep busy maintaining grounds, pruning bushes, and weeding and mulching gardens. Others who work as residential landscapers perform seasonal maintenance, including leaf removal in the fall and lawn weeding and feeding in the spring, as well as weekly mowing and other maintenance work. Some specialize as greens keepers where they apply their turf maintenance skills to keep golf courses beautiful, as well as challenging. Many learn these skills in landscaping programs, most of which require only a high school diploma (or equivalent) and a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher.
The typical landscaping program will require at least one course in plant identification, soils, and ornamental plants. Most schools also offer classes that delve into different aspects of pest management. Drainage and watering for different landscapes, such as gardens, lawns, and golf courses, are also usually covered, and many programs offer specific instruction on pruning and edging.
What's Next for Landscaping Certificate Holders?
Landscapers who enter the job market with vocational certificates typically find work right away. According to the BLS, the grounds and landscape maintenance workers in 2014 is expected to grow 6% between 2014 and 2024. In 2014, the median wage for landscapers was $11.93 per hour.
Many professional landscapers choose to continue their schooling and get a bachelor’s degree. According to the Georgetown University report, bachelor’s degree holders will earn nearly 50% more over their lifetimes when compared with those who hold a vocational certificate. They are also more likely to be employed; in 2012, bachelor’s degree holders had a 40% better chance of being employed over those with a vocational certificate.