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Turfgrass Management Specialist

Turfgrass management specialists maintain and manage grass and related areas and facilities, and assist in the design and construction of landscape projects.

  • Avg. Salary $44,721.00
  • Avg. Wage $25.48
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Golf Course Superintendent, Greenskeeper, Grounds Maintenance Worker

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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • 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

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


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


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

Updated Jul 07, 2016

In general, turfgrass management specialists:

  • plan, organize and direct the establishment and maintenance of turfgrass areas and associated plant materials and irrigation systems
  • schedule maintenance activities 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 users of the facility
  • hire, train and supervise staff and maintain personnel records
  • prepare and manage budgets, and ensure the cost effectiveness of maintenance activities
  • give presentations (for example, report on budget details to board of directors, present projects for approval to municipal councils)
  • order plant material, supplies and equipment to ensure adequate inventory
  • oversee the maintenance, servicing and replacement of turfgrass or grounds machinery
  • schedule, maintain, audit and repair irrigation systems
  • keep records
  • assist in the planning and development of golf courses, parks, lawn bowls, athletic fields and related lands.

Turfgrass management specialists may supervise crews of employees who perform the following duties or perform some tasks themselves:

  • spread top soil, lay sod, seed and mulch grass
  • plant shrubs, trees or annual flowers
  • amend soil and install drainage systems if required
  • mow, aerate, rake, edge, topdress, fertilize and irrigate turf
  • gather litter and remove garbage
  • apply pesticides to turf to control insects, weeds, rodents, pest birds and disease
  • maintain pathways, ponds and irrigation systems (including winterizing them and starting them up in spring).

Turfgrass management specialists also may:

  • own and operate turfgrass or landscape contracting and maintenance businesses
  • work as consultants or sales representatives in the turfgrass industry
  • manage commercial sod production businesses.
Working Conditions
Updated Jul 07, 2016

Turfgrass management specialists work indoors and outdoors year-round. They often work long, irregular hours during the warmer months.

The work can be strenuous including lifting items weighing up to 20 kilograms. Turfgrass management specialists must observe safety precautions to reduce the health risks associated with handling fertilizers and pesticides.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Jul 07, 2016

Turfgrass management specialists need the following characteristics:

  • the ability to adapt to new situations and solve problems
  • good communication skills in person and in writing
  • good presentation skills
  • the ability to work as part of a team
  • mechanical aptitude
  • a willingness to work with their hands.

They should enjoy supervising the work of others, working with people and operating equipment.

Educational Requirements
Updated Jul 07, 2016

Turfgrass management specialists needs 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
  • drafting and surveying technology used to plan and design projects
  • grading and drainage requirements to limit erosion and maintain water quality
  • operating equipment such as forklifts and vehicles with standard transmissions.

To use any type of pesticide (herbicide, insecticide, fungicide or vertebrate pest control product), turfgrass management specialists must hold a Pesticide Applicator Certificate from Lakeland College.

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 Jul 07, 2016

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.


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
Box 24, 10320 - 99 Street, Main Floor
Grande Prairie, Alberta  T8V 6J4

Call: 780-538-6460
Toll-free within Alberta: 310-3773
Toll-free outside Alberta: 780-944-0313
Fax: 780-538-5336

Employment & Advancement
Updated Jul 07, 2016

Turfgrass management specialists are employed by:

  • federal, provincial, regional and municipal government departments and private organizations that manage recreational facilities such as parks, golf courses and athletic fields 
  • organizations with large real estate holdings such as condominium complexes, school districts, post-secondary schools, industrial parks, airports and cemeteries
  • turfgrass machinery, chemical and seed companies
  • landscape contracting firms
  • sod farms.

Some positions are seasonal.

In the past, many turfgrass management specialists worked their way up from labouring positions to supervisory positions. Now, graduates of related post-secondary education programs have a better chance of advancement than those who do not have related academic training.

Experienced turfgrass management specialists may advance to supervisory positions such as golf course superintendent or start their own landscape contracting firms. Advancement may require relocating to successively larger communities.

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 in this occupation will be 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 (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Jul 07, 2016

Salaries 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
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $37.58 $18.98 $16.00
Overall $20.00 $44.97 $25.48 $23.68
Top $22.00 $50.61 $31.06 $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.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

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

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Jul 07, 2016

Alberta Environment and Parks website:

Alberta Golf Superintendents Association website:

Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA) website:

Landscape Alberta Nursery Trades Association website:

Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) website:

Western Canada Turfgrass Association (WCTA) website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 29, 2015. 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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