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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.

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) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Golf Course Superintendents
2006 NOC : 2225.2

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

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
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

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.

Traits & Skills
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

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists
NOC code: 2225

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 75 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 17, 2021 and May 17, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Personal Suitability: Reliability
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Organized
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Personal Suitability: Flexibility
Water and tend to plants, lawns and/or gardens
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Landscaping Experience: Residential projects
Area of Specialization: Landscape design
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Minimum Education Varies

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.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

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

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Pesticide Applicator and Dispenser.

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.

In Alberta, the 2225: Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.1% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 39 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists

2016 NOC : 2225
Average Wage
$23.61
Per Hour
Average Salary
$36,644.00
Per Year
Average Hours
38.9
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
8.8
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2225 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.


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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

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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