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Become A Mower Operator

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Working As A Mower Operator

  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Getting Information
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • $33,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Mower Operator Do

Grounds maintenance workers ensure that the grounds of houses, businesses, and parks are attractive, orderly, and healthy in order to provide a pleasant outdoor environment.

Duties

Grounds maintenance workers typically do the following:

  • Mow, edge, and fertilize lawns
  • Weed and mulch landscape beds
  • Trim hedges, shrubs, and small trees
  • Remove dead, damaged, or unwanted trees
  • Plant flowers, trees, and shrubs
  • Water lawns, landscapes, and gardens
  • Monitor and maintain plant health

Grounds maintenance workers are generally under the direction of a professional grounds manager and perform a variety of tasks to achieve a pleasant and functional outdoor environment. They also care for indoor gardens and plantings in commercial and public facilities, such as malls, hotels, and botanical gardens.

The following are examples of types of grounds maintenance workers:

Landscaping workers plant trees, flowers, and shrubs to create new outdoor spaces or upgrade existing ones. They also trim, fertilize, mulch, and water plants. Some grade and install lawns or construct hardscapes such as walkways, patios, and decks. Others help install lighting or sprinkler systems. Landscaping workers are employed in a variety of residential and commercial settings, such as homes, apartment buildings, office buildings, shopping malls, and hotels and motels.

Groundskeeping workers, also called groundskeepers, maintain grounds. They care for plants and trees, rake and mulch leaves, and clear snow from walkways. They work on athletic fields, golf courses, cemeteries, university campuses, and parks, as well as in many of the same settings that landscaping workers work. They also see to the proper upkeep of sidewalks, parking lots, fountains, fences, planters, and benches, as well as groundskeeping equipment.

Groundskeeping workers who care for athletic fields keep natural and artificial turf in top condition, mark out boundaries, and paint turf with team logos and names before events. They mow, water, fertilize, and aerate the fields regularly. They must ensure that the underlying soil on fields with natural turf has the composition required to allow proper drainage and to support the grass used on the field. In sports venues, they vacuum and disinfect synthetic turf to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and they remove the turf and replace the cushioning pad periodically.

Groundskeepers in parks and recreation facilities care for lawns, trees, and shrubs; maintain playgrounds; clean buildings; and keep parking lots, picnic areas, and other public spaces free of litter. They also may erect and dismantle snow fences and maintain swimming pools. These workers inspect buildings and equipment, make needed repairs, and keep everything freshly painted.

Some groundskeepers specialize in caring for cemeteries and memorial gardens. They dig graves to specified depths, generally using a backhoe. They mow grass regularly, apply fertilizers and other chemicals, prune shrubs and trees, plant flowers, and remove debris from graves.

Greenskeepers maintain golf courses. Their work is similar to that of groundskeepers, but they also periodically relocate holes on putting greens and maintain benches and tee markers along the course and provide more intense turf maintenance. In addition, greenskeepers keep canopies, benches, and tee markers repaired and freshly painted.

Pesticide handlers, sprayers, and applicators apply herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides on plants or the soil to prevent or control weeds, insects, and diseases. Those who work for chemical lawn or tree service firms are more specialized, inspecting lawns for problems and applying fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals to stimulate growth and prevent or control weeds, diseases, or insect infestations.

Tree trimmers and pruners, also called arborists, cut away dead or excess branches from trees or shrubs to clear utility lines, roads, and sidewalks. Although many of these workers strive to improve the appearance and health of trees and plants, some specialize in diagnosing and treating tree diseases. Others specialize in pruning, trimming, and shaping ornamental trees and shrubs. Tree trimmers and pruners use chain saws, chippers, and stump grinders while on the job. When trimming near power lines, they usually work on truck-mounted lifts and use power pruners.

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How To Become A Mower Operator

Most grounds maintenance workers need no formal education and are trained on the job. Most states require licensing for workers who apply pesticides and fertilizers.

Education

Although most grounds maintenance jobs have no education requirements, some employers may require formal education or certification in areas such as landscape design, horticulture, or arboriculture.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states require workers who apply pesticides and fertilizers to be licensed. Obtaining a license usually involves passing a test on the proper use and disposal of insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.

The National Association of Landscape Professionals offers seven certifications in landscaping and grounds maintenance for workers at various experience levels.

The Tree Care Industry Association offers certification for tree care safety professionals.

The International Society of Arboriculture offers six certifications for workers at various experience levels.

The Professional Grounds Management Society offers certification for workers at various experience levels.

Training

A short period of on-the-job training is usually enough to teach new hires the skills they need, which often include how to plant and maintain areas and how to use mowers, trimmers, leaf blowers, small tractors, and other equipment. Large institutional employers such as golf courses, university campuses, or municipalities may supplement on-the-job training with coursework in horticulture or small-engine repair.

Advancement

Grounds maintenance workers who have good communication skills may become crew leaders or advance into other supervisory positions. Becoming a manager or a landscape contractor may require some formal education and several years of related work experience. Some workers use their experience to start their own landscaping companies.

Important Qualities

Physical stamina. Grounds maintenance workers must be capable of doing physically strenuous labor for long hours, occasionally in extreme heat or cold.

Self-motivated. Because they often work with little supervision, grounds maintenance workers must be able to do their job independently.

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Average Length of Employment
Operator 2.9 years
Snow Plow Operator 2.4 years
Grounds Keeper 2.3 years
Landscape Labour 2.0 years
Mower Operator 2.0 years
Mower 1.6 years
Top Careers Before Mower Operator
Cashier 10.8%
Welder 7.3%
Cook 6.6%
Manager 4.2%
Server 3.5%
Foreman 3.5%
Driver 3.1%
Top Careers After Mower Operator
Cashier 7.1%
Driver 6.6%
Technician 5.2%
Welder 4.7%
Cook 4.7%
Foreman 3.8%
Mechanic 3.3%
Custodian 2.8%

Do you work as a Mower Operator?

Mower Operator Demographics

Gender

Male

86.4%

Unknown

7.9%

Female

5.7%
Ethnicity

White

67.3%

Hispanic or Latino

13.2%

Black or African American

10.8%

Asian

5.4%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.7%

Chinese

33.3%

Mower Operator Education

Schools

Kirkwood Community College

8.1%

University of Memphis

5.4%

Central State University

5.4%

University of South Carolina - Columbia

5.4%

Virginia Commonwealth University

5.4%

Southern Arkansas University

5.4%

Sinclair Community College

5.4%

Community College of the Air Force

5.4%

Front Range Community College

5.4%

Morgan State University

5.4%

Minnesota State University - Moorhead

5.4%

Universal Technical Institute

5.4%

University of Wyoming

5.4%

Ashford University

5.4%

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

5.4%

The Academy

5.4%

Miami Valley Career Technology Center

2.7%

Central Washington University

2.7%

Southwestern Illinois College

2.7%

Baton Rouge Community College

2.7%
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Majors

Precision Metal Working

11.7%

Automotive Technology

10.8%

Business

8.1%

Criminal Justice

8.1%

Kinesiology

7.2%

General Studies

7.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

6.3%

Management

4.5%

Culinary Arts

3.6%

Biology

3.6%

Computer Science

3.6%

Industrial Technology

3.6%

Psychology

2.7%

Heating And Air Conditioning

2.7%

Environmental Science

2.7%

Accounting

2.7%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

2.7%

History

2.7%

Nursing

2.7%

Agricultural Business

2.7%
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Degrees

Other

54.2%

Bachelors

16.3%

Certificate

14.7%

Associate

11.1%

Diploma

2.6%

Masters

0.5%

License

0.5%
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Top Skills for A Mower Operator

  1. Snow Removal
  2. Flower Beds
  3. Chain Saws
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Mow lawns, clean up, trim trees, weedier operator, and snow removal when needed
  • Pulled and sprayed weeds from flower beds and shrubbery.
  • Operated powered equipment such as mowers, blowers and chain saws.
  • Provide customer service by getting the job done quickly and effectively.
  • Cared for lawns by mulching, weeding, trimming and edging around flower beds, walks, and walls.

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Top Mower Operator Employers

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