Education opens doors for landscaping careers

Today, landscaping is more than just cutting a lawn or rounding up stray leaves. Lawn upkeep is only one facet of a landscapers work, and they stay busy designing aesthetically pleasing landscape plans, planting trees and flowers, monitoring plant health and installing sprinkler systems and walkways.  Landscapers’ backgrounds must go beyond equipment operation to include horticulture, landscape design, soil analysis and botany.

Many landscapers are also employed as garden center and nursery consultants, and groundskeepers often work for businesses and athletic facilities. Experienced landscape professionals can also advance to work as contractors, who supervise landscaping companies and handle the business side of things by scheduling work crews and ensuring quality of service. Experience aside however, education is crucial for advancing in the industry. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting that more than 250,000 landscaping jobs will be added within the decade, the demand for educated and skilled workers is increasing.

Education for the industry is available locally, as Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) graduate Jessica Burr discovered.  When Burr joined the Tri-C Plant Science and Landscape Technology program, she was working as a groundskeeper and wanted to advance.

“I decided to go to school to further my career,” said Burr. “You can learn on the job, but it’s difficult.  With training and education you have more knowledge, so you’re not just coming in to mow the lawn.””

After graduating with an associate of applied science degree, Burr advanced to become an associate account manager at a landscaping company. Burr credits the diverse Tri-C program, which offers multiple degree concentrations and various certificate programs, as part of her success.

“The education was very important in finding a job,” she said. “It made the difference for me.”

The Tri-C Plant Science and Landscape Technology program blends classroom instruction with hands-on learning experiences to equip students with valuable skills – skills that have helped Tri-C graduates like Burr find industry work, start landscaping businesses, and land positions with the Cleveland Botanical Garden and Metroparks Zoo.

With an expanding industry and training opportunities available conveniently at Tri-C, landscaping is proving to be a very promising career choice. For more information on the Tri-C Plant Science and Landscape Technology program, contact program manager David Emmitt at (216) 987-3060 or

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Volume 2, Issue 3, Posted 4:23 PM, 05.04.2011