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 1.25 million people were employed as grounds and landscape maintenance workers in 2010.
Types of Landscaping Certificates
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, over 250,000 people were employed as grounds and landscape maintenance workers in 2010; furthermore, the field is expected to grow 20% between 2010 and 2020. In 2010, the median wage for landscapers was $11.41 per hour.
Some who obtain a vocational certificate choose to further their education and obtain an associate degree in subjects like construction management. These students realize that with more education, they have a better chance of getting a job and earning a higher wage. According to BLS data, people with associate degrees had a 20% better chance of having a job in 2012 over those who stopped their education with a vocational certificate. Over their lifetimes, associate degree holders will earn more than $1.7 million, as reported by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.
Many even 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.