Do you dream about being part of the action with your favorite football or baseball team? If you pursue athletic field maintenance jobs, what you do each day can be pivotal to the team’s on-the-field performance. Field maintenance workers are tasked with keeping athletic fields in pristine condition so athletes can compete on a playing surface that poses minimal injury risk.
If you love sports, enjoy spending time outdoors and are physically fit, choosing to work in athletic field maintenance can offer a rewarding career path. From baseball fields to golf courses, your options are virtually limitless as you put your skills to use.
Looking to get started in field maintenance right away? Here are a few things you need to know about this career:
Skills Required for Athletic Field Maintenance Jobs
Athletic field maintenance work is physically demanding. It involves planting, mowing, trimming and cleaning. Some of these tasks require operating heavy machinery. Maintenance workers are typically required to do repetitive tasks such as bending, lifting and shoveling. Good physical fitness is important to completing these tasks in a satisfactory manner.
Thinking about safety first is essential in this career. Athletic field maintenance workers are often required to work with dangerous equipment like lawnmowers and chainsaws. They are also often called on to work with pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals. An athletic field maintenance worker must always be careful in carrying out these responsibilities.
Field maintenance crews are responsible for making sure an athletic field stays in optimal playing condition. This can include ensuring proper drainage or shoring up spots on the grass where there is uneven wear and tear. Natural intelligence and attention to detail are key traits in fulfilling these types of duties.
Many athletic field maintenance jobs are seasonal occupations performed mostly during spring, summer and fall months when athletic fields are in use. In warm climates with mild winters, it can be a year-round occupation. People who embrace working seasonal or variable schedules can flourish in this sort of work environment.
There are plenty of available opportunities to get started in field maintenance. Local stadiums, golf courses and racetracks employ athletic field maintenance crews throughout much of the year to keep playing surfaces in the best possible shape — especially during months where these surfaces are used regularly.
Many field maintenance workers start out as part of game-day crews who prepare a playing surface before an athletic event. These are often contract positions to start, but they can lead into a full-time position later based on job performance.
Wages for athletic field maintenance jobs range from approximately $9 to $17 per hour, depending on the position and the state where you are working.
Entry-level field maintenance jobs are perfect for college students or recent high school graduates. Some of these jobs require only a high school diploma or GED, which is ideal while you are starting or finishing a college education.
Athletic field maintenance jobs do require some on-the-job training. As a new employee, you must learn how to safely operate lawnmowers, leaf blowers, tractors and other landscaping equipment. You also must learn how to repair this equipment. When driving is part of the job, you must have a clean driving record and be licensed to drive the vehicles associated with the job.
If job requirements include working with pesticides, many states will require you to obtain certification first. Typically, you must be trained in safe use and disposal of various pesticides, then pass a test to obtain certification before you can start in a job working with these substances.
Supervisory field maintenance positions, such as grounds manager, typically require a college education and/or several years of experience in the industry to advance into those positions. A grounds manager, for example, can obtain certification from the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) with a combination of eight years experience and post-high school education.
Demand for qualified athletic field maintenance workers is growing. Work can be physically demanding so there are plenty of good job opportunities — even as a supervisor or manager. The popularity of sports like baseball, football, soccer and golf ensures the need for qualified field maintenance crews will continue to grow nationwide.
If you stand out as a hard worker who performs tasks quickly and efficiently, and you possess good communication skills, advancement opportunities will come naturally. Supervisory positions like crew leaders, groundskeepers and grounds managers may require additional formal education beyond a high school diploma, but they also offer a significant increase in pay and job security. Some field maintenance positions have a high turnover rate, so quick advancement is possible if this is a career you enjoy.
After several years of experience in athletic field maintenance, you can start your own field maintenance business and contract out your services. Nearly one in four field maintenance professionals are self-employed and contract maintenance work with local stadiums, golf courses and other facilities each season.
For sports fans, nothing beats the thrill of being a part of the action. Careers in athletic field maintenance let you play an important role for a sports team.
Author Shana Brenner is the Marketing Director of CoverSports, an American manufacturer of turf protectors and other indoor and outdoor sports surface covers with roots tracing back to 1874.
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