What Does a Parks Maintenance Worker Do?
Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More
Parks maintenance workers keep up the appearance, health, and safety of landscapes and features in public parks. They maintain jogging and biking paths, hiking trails, athletic fields, playgrounds, picnic tables, benches, lawns, flower beds, and gardens.
Parks maintenance workers are employed by local, state, or federal governments. Workers are generally hired through the normal government hiring process. In a municipal government, they work within parks and recreation departments.
Parks Maintenance Worker Duties & Responsibilities
A parks maintenance worker must be able to perform the following tasks:
- Seed, mow, fertilize, aerate, water, and weed lawns.
- Plant and care for trees, shrubs, and flowers.
- Inspect and repair playground equipment, picnic tables, benches, and other park amenities.
- Ensure athletic fields are ready for games and practices.
- Keep trails and paths clear and in good condition.
- Pick up litter and remove bagged trash.
Parks maintenance workers beautify the park grounds by keeping lawns green and litter-free and by planting and tending to annual flowers that change with the seasons as well as perennial trees, shrubs, and flowering plants. In an effort to keep the park safe, they maintain and make any repairs to park fixtures as needed. They do everything they can to ensure the park is attractive and usable by community members.
Parks Maintenance Worker Salary
The salaries of parks maintenance workers vary by geographical area and number of years on the job. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salary data for grounds maintenance workers in general, including those who provide their services to homeowners and businesses or in sports stadiums. The annual figures are calculated based on a 40-hour workweek.
- Median Annual Salary: $29,390 ($14.13/hour)
- Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $46,488 ($22.35/hour)
- Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $20,862 ($10.03/hour)
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018
Education, Training, & Certification
Most applicants need little formal education or experience to become a parks maintenance worker. Most job postings call for a high school diploma or less and one or two years of relevant experience. Employers generally train new hires in all the necessary skills.
- Pesticide license: Many states require workers who use pesticides and fertilizers to be licensed in their application. To become licensed, a worker usually has to pass a test to demonstrate they can use the chemicals safely.
- Certification: The Professional Grounds Management Society offers certification programs for both grounds technicians and grounds managers. Grounds technicians must have two years of experience to take the certification test. Grounds managers must have eight years of experience, including four in a supervisory role, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
Parks Maintenance Worker Skills & Competencies
Workers who maintain parks must have certain skills and qualities to effectively do their jobs, including the following:
- Resistance to inclement weather: Parks maintenance workers perform their jobs in all kinds of weather conditions, including extremes of heat and cold and rain and snow.
- Communication skills: Park maintenance workers interact easily with people who visit the park.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the number of grounds maintenance workers will increase by 11% from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
Parks maintenance workers do their work outside. The BLS notes that "the work can be repetitive and physically demanding, requiring frequent bending, lifting, and shoveling."
As government employees, parks maintenance workers generally have set workweeks. They are busiest in warmer weather when the grounds require more upkeep. In the winter, they plow and shovel snow.
How to Get the Job
WORK AND LEARN AS AN APPRENTICE
The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) offers an apprentice program that is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor.
The NALP posts landscaping-related jobs, including those for parks maintenance workers, on its website.
REHEARSE COMMONLY ASKED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Many of the same questions come up during interviews with human resources employees and hiring managers. Review these questions and ways to answer them that will impress your interviewer.
Comparing Similar Jobs
People who are interested in becoming parks maintenance workers might also consider the following careers. The figures provided are median annual salaries:
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018