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Turfgrass Management Specialist

Turfgrass management specialists establish, maintain, and manage turf. They work to decrease off-site transport and control application of pesticides and nutrients. They use both biological and mechanical soil-conservation plans, and contract and manage landscape projects, including synthetic surfaces.

They also develop fertility and pesticide programs and oversee delivery and application  of pesticides and nutrients.

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

  • 2225.2: Golf Course Superintendents

2006 NOC-S

  • C125: Landscape and Horticultural Technicians and Specialists

2011 NOC

  • 2225: Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists

2016 NOC

  • 2225: Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists

2021 NOC

  • 22114: Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists

2023 OaSIS

  • 22114.01: Arborists and tree service technicians
Duties
Updated Mar 27, 2023

In general, turfgrass management specialists plan, organize, and direct the establishment and management of new and retrofit (existing) 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 27, 2023
  • 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 long and 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.

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

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 27, 2023

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

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.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists

2016 NOC: 2225

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 100 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Sep 26, 2023 and Apr 15, 2024.

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.
Tasks: Plan and construct landscaped environments which may include trees, shrubberies, lawns, fences, decks, patios and other landscape structures
Work Setting: Various locations
Attention to detail
Tasks: Plant and move trees
Tasks: Water and tend to plants, lawns and/or gardens
Work Site Environment: Outdoors
Tasks: Examine trees and shrubs to diagnose problems and disease
Construction Specialization: Organized
Tasks: Apply various treatments such as pruning, spraying, repairing damaged areas and injecting with treatment solutions
Tasks: Apply fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, pesticides and other lawn care products
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 27, 2023
  • 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, mowers, and vehicles with standard transmissions
  • Understanding of the sports being played on the turf surfaces
  • Use of technology, such as drones or infrared cameras

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 27, 2023
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

Pesticide Applicator and Dispenser

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

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. There are 2 types of dispensers in Alberta:

  • Lawn and garden pesticide dispensers, who sell domestic-class pesticides
  • Commercial dispensers, who 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 27, 2023

Turfgrass management specialists are employed by private organizations, not-for-profit societies, and 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
  • Sports field construction

Those with a master’s or PhDs can move into higher positions, including academia or research at chemical companies. Large companies also may have opportunities 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.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2225: Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists occupational group, 79.7% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

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: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 27, 2023

Earnings for turfgrass management specialists vary widely. Factors include:

  • Education
  • Experience
  • Location
  • Responsibilities

Diploma graduates may average $30,000–$32,000 per year. Superintendents may earn up to $84,000 per year.

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
$23.62
Per Hour
Average Salary
$38,302.00
Per Year
Average Hours
37.2
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
9.7
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 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

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $37.90 $21.39 $18.00
Overall $18.00 $42.28 $23.62 $20.00
Top $20.00 $43.71 $26.82 $24.00

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

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

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
42%
42%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
64%
64%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
8%
8%
Vacancy Rate
2%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 27, 2023

Alberta Ministry of Environment and Protected Areas website: www.alberta.ca/environment-and-protected-areas.aspx

Alberta Golf Superintendents Association (AGSA) website: 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 27, 2023. 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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