Groundskeeper Job Description

Grounds maintenance worker job descriptionA career in grounds maintenance can include lawn care, landscaping, tree trimming, outdoor pest control and more. Schools, private companies and government properties all need to be maintained, and job growth in this field (get it– "growth in this field"?) is growing like a lawn in summertime– so fast that employers can barely keep up!

It's not all sunshine and daffodils; grounds maintenance workers, landscapers and tree trimmers have higher-than-average on the job injury rates and work in all sorts of weather conditions. But if the idea of scorching sun and drenching rain is more appealing than being cooped up inside all day, you'll probably enjoy the work. (And as an added bonus, on days when the weather is perfect you can watch commuters turn green with envy as you work in the fresh air.)

Though there is a small segment of the grounds maintenance industry focused indoors (hey– someone has to water those trees in the mall food court), expect job opportunities to match up with prime planting, growing and clean-up seasons in your area. Most grounds maintenance jobs go dormant for winter, but we'd bet most people aren't itching to work outside in the bitter cold anyway. Speaking of itching: before you get started stock up on bug spray and learn to identify poison ivy; you'll thank us later.

How much do grounds maintenance workers make?

  • $7 to $24 per hour
  • $23,890 average salary for full-time positions

Job Skills & Requirements

  • Education: Newly hired workers receive on-the-job training; supervisors usually need a high school diploma. If you want to apply pesticides, most states require a special license.
  • Physical strength: You'll be lifting equipment, moving plants, digging holes and generally getting a workout all day.
  • Endurance: Be prepared to work for a full day in the sun, the rain or whatever else Mother Nature can throw at you.

Expected Hours

Grounds maintenance companies typically operate during regular business hours (between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.), but shifts may be extended during the busy summer season.

Dress the Part

Come to work prepared for cold, heat and everything in between. Even if you have a uniform, dress in layers with a t-shirt, long sleeve shirt and a jacket or coat if it's cold outside. A brimmed hat can be useful for keeping the sun or rain out of your eyes, and don't forget to accessorize with sunscreen, sunglasses and bug spray.

Job Myth

“I mowed lawns after school, I can do this!”

Maybe you can, but do keep in mind there is a big difference between mowing your neighbor's lawn once a week and being a professional grounds maintenance worker. You will be using chainsaws, weed-whackers, industrial riding mowers and other dangerous equipment that's traditionally used for both lawn care and zombie outbreaks. This is not a job for the accident-prone, faint-of-heart or those with severe poison ivy allergies. To succeed at (and enjoy) grounds maintenance, you need to observe safety procedures, plan ahead for the weather each day and have the stamina to tough out both bad weather and physically demanding work.

Career Paths

  • Tree trimmer (Averages $30,000/year)
  • Greenskeeper (Averages $27,500/year)

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Construction Worker Job Description

Construction worker job descriptionJack of all trades; always the first person to break out a toolbox. Other people see a pile of two by fours; you see a stack of pure potential. Sound familiar? Then grab a hard hat and seriously consider a job as a construction worker!

Construction jobs offer a wide variety of opportunities; whether you like building things or taking a sledgehammer to them, there's probably a construction job that will appeal to you. Highway construction, tunnel excavation, residential construction, commercial projects and demolition are just a small sample of the many positions available.

Each job comes with unique working conditions; from simple loading and unloading, to challenging heights, or exposure to hazardous materials, construction workers need to be prepared for anything! While projects can pause for inclement weather, you will need to be willing to work in heat, cold, rain, and just about anything else Mother Nature can throw at you. In return, you get a rewarding career that offers incredible variety, and provides plenty of opportunities to pursue the specialties that interest you.

Job Skills & Requirements

Education: There are usually no specific educational requirements for entry level construction workers. Apprentice laborers are often expected to have a high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (G.E.D.). If you plan to pursue construction, classes in English, math, physics, shop and welding can come in handy; many high schools and community colleges offer these courses.

Coordination: Balance, depth-perception and eye-hand coordination are all critical to keep you steady on high beams and your fingers clear of chop saws.

Strength and Endurance: You'll need to keep up and pull your weight (and then some) day after day. Make sure you're physically up to the task before you sign up!

Expected Hours

Hours vary by job, location and season. Indoor gigs might run year-round, whereas outdoor construction may have to pause for winter. Highway construction often happens during the night shift, while new home construction will have you working a more nine-to-five schedule.

Dress the Part

For construction interviews, khaki's and a collared shirt are a good idea. On the job you'll likely be wearing jeans, a t-shirt and layers in case of cold weather. Don't forget sunscreen and bug spray if you'll be working outside, they might be the most important thing you put on that day.

Job Myth

“Construction is a dead-end job.”

Welding, scaffold erecting, concrete finishing and other special trade certifications are available for construction laborers who want to pursue particular areas within the industry. If you have a firm grasp of project estimates, computer skills, and you can communicate effectively with subcontractors and clients, then you may have a future as a general contractor or labor supervisor. An ability to communicate in both English and Spanish is becoming important for all construction workers (particularly supervisors) as the number of Spanish-speaking workers grows.

Career Paths:

  • Electrician (Averages $22/hour)
  • HVAC Technician (Averages $20/hour)
  • Plumber (Averages $22/hour)
  • Maintenance Worker (Averages $16/hour)
  • Forklift Driver (Averages $15/hour)



Similar Positions

Electrician, Plumber

Extra Perks

Staying active - This job will keep you on the move throughout the day

Learning opportunity - You'll have a chance to check out many different trade skills

Low investment – typically there are no educational requirements for entry-level positions

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Lifeguard Job Description

  • Lifeguard job descriptionLifeguards average around $9.25 per hour
  • Most lifeguards work less than 40 hours per week
  • You'll need to get certified to be a lifeguard

If Michael Phelps fell in love with Wonder Woman, their baby would make a great lifeguard. Seriously, who doesn’t want to save lives (translation: be a hero) and get a tan at the same time? Lifeguard jobs could have you touring the world on a cruise ship, chilling in the summer sun at your local pool, or living out your beach bum fantasy all summer long.

Most lifeguards don't work 40 hours a week. You'll have to work nights and weekends, probably irregular hours, and the work is largely seasonal, so it's not a job for everyone. Typically about 40 percent of all recreational workers work part time.

Being a lifeguard means you're trusted with the lives of others, so you'll need to be extremely responsible, attentive, and patient ("No running! Slow down!"). You'll be rewarded for your hard work with cases of Fla-Vor-Ice pops, microwave snack-bar pizza and a shiny whistle, which is awesome.

How much do lifeguards make?

The average hourly pay for all lifeguards is around $9.25 per hour, but will vary by experience and location. Experienced beach lifeguards can earn $16 per hour or more.

Education requirements

A high school diploma or GED is typically not required for most lifeguard jobs. You will probably need some sort of certification, however, from the Red Cross or another training program. Lots of employers require lifeguards to pass a certification test. This test includes both physical challenges and a written exam to ensure you're capable of performing the necessary duties of the job. Training and certification details vary depending on where you live, but you can find out exactly what the requirements are from your local parks and recreation department.

Career paths for lifeguards

Most people who work guarding lives don't do it for the outrageous career growth prospects. Lifeguarding is a solid summer job, though it can lead to year-round work at an indoor pool. If you're looking to get into a job in parks and recreation, though, this could be your stepping stone. For public pools, a team of lifeguards will typically be supervised by a manager who then reports to an official within the parks and recreation department. At private pools or clubs, lifeguards report to a direct supervisor or manager.

The future of lifeguard jobs

According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), job opportunities for recreational workers are set to grow faster than normal. Even though people will be spending more on recreation, budget restrictions may keep state and local governments from investing in the programs that fund public pools.

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Camp Counselor Job Description

Camp counselor job descriptionCamp counselors earn an average of $7.50 per hour. There are no educational requirements (though specialties in crafts, sports or other activities are useful). Having an upbeat attitude is a must!

What do camp counselors do?

You always knew your talent for building s'mores would come in handy; what better way to share your gift than teaching kids to create their own marshmallow masterpieces around a crackling campfire? If you can distinguish poison ivy from harmless underbrush, win staring contests with large spiders, or if the idea of being on a bus full of kids singing 'The Song that Never Ends' makes you grin instead of grimace, you're well on your way to being an awesome camp counselor!

Positive attitude and a genuine enthusiasm for working with children are vital whether you are a day camp counselor or an overnight camp counselor. Counselors are typically hired as recreation leaders (who supervise general camp operations) or as activity specialists (who teach various subjects including archery, crafts, horseback riding, etc.). Either way, being a summer camp counselor is a great opportunity to build leadership skills while spending the season outdoors. Just be sure to come prepared with rain gear, sunscreen and bug spray; you'll be working in all sorts of weather conditions.

How much do camp counselors make?

Camp counselors make around $7.50 per hour. Many camp positions are seasonal or part time, making this an ideal job for high school and college students who are looking for work during summer vacation.

What are the education requirements?

There are no specific educational requirements for summer camp counselors, but CPR and First Aid Certification are encouraged (and might give you an edge over other applicants). Employers often have counselor in training (CIT) programs set up to show new camp counselors the ropes. In addition to certifications and training, patience is critical for recreation leaders; your campers may be away from home for the first time, and it's your job to calm their nerves and make sure everyone has a great experience. If you enjoy teaching and have talents in sports, crafts or the arts, you are well positioned to become a recreation specialist.

Career paths for camp counselors

Full-time positions are limited and competition can be strong, but there are a variety of opportunities for advancement in the recreational field. Recreation supervisors manage camp counselors, organize and oversee camp activities, and report to the director. Directors of recreation typically hold a graduate degree and are responsible for managing budgets and overall programming.

Experience as a summer camp counselor can also serve as a starting point for related positions in the park industry, daycare or cruise recreation.

The future of camp counselors

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) expects faster than average growth in recreational job opportunities over the 2008-2018 decade. Individuals, sports organizations and civil groups are spending money on recreation, but new government funded positions will be limited.

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