Cemetery groundskeepers help beautify cemetery property by mowing lawns, planting flowers, clearing walkways and similar tasks. In some instances, they also may take on some grave digging responsibilities, as the appearance, quality and location of graves directly impacts the overall aesthetics of a cemetery. Annual pay for this type of work generally is around $35,000 or less, but cemetery groundskeepers can enjoy working with their hands in the sun and fresh air and can work fairly independently.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, those who worked as groundskeepers and landscapers in death care services averaged $25,430 per year. Converted into hourly pay, this is $12.23. Pay increased for death services groundskeepers and others in the general landscaping and groundskeeping category by 0.3 percent between 2009 and 2010.
Cemetery groundskeepers are classified in the general "Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers" category with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pay in the lowest 10th percentile for this category was $16,960 annually. This equates to $8.16 hourly. In the 90th percentile, workers received $37,240 per year, or about $17.90 per hour. Another source, the Online College Guru website, reports that the range for all groundskeepers, including those in cemeteries, was $20,000 to $36,000 per year as of 2010.
Pay by Experience
Cemetery groundskeepers and other land caretakers need very little in terms of education, as most groundskeepers learn on the job. However, experience does result in a higher pay rate, as shown by 2010 data from Online College Guru. Groundskeepers with one to four years in the industry made $8.75 to $12.22, or $18,200 to $25,418. Five to nine years of experience provided $9.94 to $14.42 per hour, or $20,675 to $29,994 per year. With 10 to 19 years in this sector, pay was $11.48 to $17.41, or $23,878 to $36,213 annually. The highest pay, $13.20 to $18.70 per hour, or $27,456 to $38,896 annually, went to those with 20 or more years of experience.
Pay by Location
Where a cemetery groundskeeper works has some bearing on his pay. The lowest-paying region for landscapers and groundskeepers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2010 was West Virginia, which paid $20,740 per year. Mississippi provided $21,720, while pay in Oklahoma was $22,130. Annual compensation for South Carolina and Texas was similar at $22,420 and $22,450, respectively.
The top pay for the industry in 2010 was in the District of Columbia, where rates averaged $34,910. The second-highest-paying area was Alaska at $32,830. In Massachusetts, pay was $31,700. Both Washington and Connecticut provided $30,340.