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Turfgrass Management Specialist

Turfgrass management specialists are in charge of establishing, maintaining, and managing turf. They work to decrease the off-site transport and control the application of pesticides and nutrients. They use both biological and mechanical soil conservation plans, and contract and manage landscape projects, including synthetic surfaces.

  • Avg. Salary $36,644.00
  • Avg. Wage $23.61
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 1,500
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Athletic Field Manager, Golf Course Superintendent, Greenskeeper, Parks and Recreation Manager, Sports Field Manager, Staff Technician

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Golf Course Superintendents (2225.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Landscape and Horticultural Technicians and Specialists (C125) 
  • 2011 NOC: Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists (2225) 
  • 2016 NOC: Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists (2225) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

33%
33%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Turfgrass Management Specialist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Golf Course Superintendents
OBJECTIVE

Interest in operating equipment to apply fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides and pesticides; and in overseeing the maintenance and repair of mechanical equipment

METHODICAL

Interest in co-ordinating information from club authorities to plan and review work projects and priorities; and in arranging for soil tests and purchases of equipment and supplies

DIRECTIVE

Interest in supervising work crews who mix and prepare spray and dust mixtures, and spray and dust golf courses and surrounding landscapes

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

In general, turfgrass management specialists plan, organize, and direct the establishment and management of new and retrofit turfgrass areas. For a golf course or sports field, the main goal is to create a uniform playing surface, keeping players’ safety in mind.

Turfgrass management specialists may work alone, or they may supervise crews that mow, aerate, rake, edge, top-dress, fertilize, and irrigate turf.

Turfgrass management specialists also may:

  • Schedule regular maintenance to accommodate customer activities and events
  • Follow integrated pest-management practices to identify and control problems created by insects, rodents, pest bird species, plant diseases, and weeds
  • Determine the type and quantity of grass varieties to grow
  • Maintain good public relations with facility users
  • Hire, train, and supervise staff
  • Maintain personnel and maintenance records
  • Prepare and manage capital and operational budgets and ensure the cost-effectiveness of maintenance activities
  • Give presentations, such as budget reports to boards of directors and project presentations to gain approval from municipal councils
  • Educate managers and the public about the relationship between environmental issues and turf fields
  • Order plant material, supplies, and equipment and keep records
  • Oversee the maintenance, servicing, and replacement of turfgrass and grounds machinery
  • Schedule, maintain, audit, and repair irrigation systems
  • Assist in the planning and development of golf courses, parks, lawn bowling greens, athletic fields, and related lands
  • Evaluate the use of synthetic materials
  • Spread topsoil, laying sod, seeding, and mulching grass
  • Plant shrubs, trees, and annual flowers
  • Amend soil and install drainage systems
  • Remove garbage
  • Apply pesticides to control insects, weeds, rodents, pest birds, and disease
  • Maintain pathways, ponds, and irrigation systems, including winterizing and preparing them for spring
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019

While some positions are seasonal, turfgrass management specialists may work indoors and outdoors year-round. They often put in irregular hours when the weather warms up.

The work can be strenuous. Lifting heavy items is routine. Safety precautions are a standard part of the job to reduce the health risks associated with handling fertilizers and pesticides.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Turfgrass management specialists need:

  • Adaptability
  • Communication and presentation skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Manual dexterity
  • An understanding of computers and management programs

They should enjoy:

  • Working with their hands
  • Working with people
  • Supervising the work of others
  • Operating equipment
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Turfgrass management specialists need skills and knowledge related to:

  • The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
  • The installation, maintenance, and auditing of irrigation systems
  • Computerized management programs used to control irrigation systems and maximize the efficient use of water
  • Global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS) used to manage inventories of trees or irrigation heads, for example
  • Grading and drainage requirements to limit erosion and maintain water quality
  • Operating equipment such as forklifts and vehicles with standard transmissions

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Pesticide Applicator and Dispenser

Pesticide applicators use pesticides (chemicals) to control pests, such as weeds, diseases or destructive insects or animals, as part of their paid employment.

Pesticide dispensers sell and store pesticides as part of their paid employment.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act [pdf] and Pesticide (Ministerial) Regulation [pdf], to apply a commercial-class pesticide such as insecticide, herbicide or fungicide you must be one of the following:

  • A commercial agriculturalist (farmer)
  • A certified pesticide applicator
  • Supervised by someone who is certified

To sell pesticides you must be a certified dispenser. The 2 types of dispensers in Alberta are:

  • Lawn and garden pesticide dispensers sell domestic-class pesticides
  • Commercial dispensers sell domestic-, commercial-, and restricted-class pesticides

What You Need

Certification for applicators and dispensers require successful completion of an exam. A preparatory course is available through home study materials or classroom tutorials.

Individuals may become certified in one or more applicator classes. For detailed official information, read about the pesticide applicator and dispenser certification requirements on the Government of Alberta website.

Working in Alberta

Pesticide applicator and dispensers who are certified by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for certification in Alberta if certified pesticide applicators and dispensers in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada? and the Government of Alberta website.

Contact Details

Alberta Environment and Parks
Government of Alberta
9th Floor, South Petroleum Plaza 9920 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2G8
Canada

Call: 780-538-6460
Toll-free within Alberta: 310-3773, then 780-538-6460
Toll-free outside Alberta: 780-944-0313
Website: www.alberta.ca/environment-and-parks.aspx

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Turfgrass management specialists are employed by private organizations and by departments in all levels of government that manage recreational facilities such as parks, golf courses, and athletic fields.

They may also work with:

  • Organizations with large real estate holdings such as condominium complexes, school districts, post-secondary schools, industrial parks, airports, cemeteries, and orchards
  • Turfgrass machinery companies
  • Chemical and seed companies
  • Landscape contracting firms
  • Sod farms

In the past, many turfgrass management specialists worked their way up from labour to supervisory positions. Today, graduates of related post-secondary education programs have a better chance of advancement than those without related academic training.

Professionals with bachelor’s degrees in turfgrass science often move into careers in golf course management, athletic field management, landscaping, agrichemical sales, and sports field construction. Those with a master’s or PhD can move into higher positions, including academia or research at chemical companies. There are also research opportunities in large companies for breeding new turfgrass species.

Supervisory roles such as golf course superintendent and operations manager require a few years’ experience. Experienced turfgrass specialists may also start their own consulting or landscape contracting firms. They may have to move to successively larger communities in order to advance.

Turfgrass management specialists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2225: Landscape and Horticultural Technicians and Specialists. In Alberta, 84% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the industries listed above
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

Assistant and entry-level positions are in high demand in this industry (2019 estimate).

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Earnings for turfgrass management specialists vary considerably depending on their education, experience, location, and responsibilities.

Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $36.94 $20.64 $16.00
Overall $16.50 $40.38 $23.61 $19.95
Top $18.00 $50.23 $29.05 $30.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
Information, Culture, Recreation
ALL INDUSTRIES
Business, Building and Other Support Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

33%
33%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

34%
34%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

14%
14%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Alberta Ministry of Environment and Parks website: www.alberta.ca/ministry-environment-parks.aspx

Alberta Golf Superintendents Association (AGSA) website: www.albertagsa.com

Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA) website: golfsupers.com

Landscape Alberta Nursery Trades Association website: www.landscape-alberta.com

National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) website: www.landscapeprofessionals.org

Western Canada Turfgrass Association (WCTA) website: www.wctaturf.com

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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