8 high-paying, nontraditional degrees

College Finance » 8 High-paying, Nontraditional Degrees

Turf grass management
Turf grass management © Benoit Daoust/

Professional athletes aren't the only one making big bucks on the field. Those who manage the environmental systems underneath the players' feet do, too. Working on golf courses, stadiums and sports fields, turf grass managers monitor the grass health of courses and fields, analyze patterns of grass wear, and manage equipment and budgets that keep the grounds functioning well, says Andrew McNitt, director of the Center for Sports Surface Research at Pennsylvania State University.

A degree in turf grass management requires heavy coursework in the three B's -- botany, biology and business management -- but education alone isn't enough, McNitt says.

"We have an extensive internship program. To get good jobs, (students) need to have experience and the degree -- both," McNitt says. "The ones that tend to rise to the top are the ones with some of the best communication and management skills (and) skills in agronomy and plant science."

How much turf grass managers make depends on where they work. The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America reports the average golf course superintendent takes home a base salary of $82,573. McNitt estimates the average salary in other turf management positions is around $65,000.


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