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.