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Career Opportunity

Apprentice Gardener (3410) - FALL 2023

Recruitment: REF25602B

Published: April 21, 2023


Lilli Ann Bobila -

Apply using SmartRecruiters, the City and County of San Francisco's application portal Learn More

Department: Recreation & Park Commission
Job class: 3410-Apprentice Gardener
Salary range: $50,232.00 - $73,112.00
Role type: Permanent Exempt What does this mean?
Hours: Full-time



NOTE: Applicants must submit verification documents found in the Additional Information - HOW TO APPLY section of this job announcement in addition to submitting an online application. Only applicants who submit an online application AND all requested verification will be considered for participation in the department's selection process.

Please read Critical Tips for Applying on Smartr before you apply.

Application Opening: April 21, 2023

Application Deadline April 28, 2023 at 5:00 pm; AND

Verification Deadline: May 2, 2023 at 5:00 pm

Compensation: $23.0375/Hourly

Appointment Type: Permanent-Exempt (PEX) Appointment. Pursuant to the City & County of San Francisco Charter, Section 10.104.13. Any person occupying a position under exempt appointment shall not be subject to civil service selection, appointment, and removal procedures. Exempt employees shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing officer.

Amid a dynamic and ever-evolving urban landscape, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department stewards one of the premier urban park systems in America.  San Francisco recently became the first city in the United States for which 100% of its residents live within a ten-minute walk of a park.  Considered by San Franciscans to be one of the City’s most popular and effective public agencies, our Department manages and maintains more than 225 parks, playgrounds, and open spaces in San Francisco, including two outside of city limits: Sharp Park in Pacifica and Camp Mather in the High Sierras. Our 4,100- acre system includes 25 recreation centers, 9 swimming pools, 5 golf courses and numerous athletic facilities, including sports courts, ball diamonds, soccer fields and gymnasiums. Included in the department’s responsibilities are Golden Gate Park, Coit Tower, the Marina Yacht Harbor, the Palace of Fine Arts, and TPC Harding Park golf course.

More than 2,000 talented individuals are part of our team, from gardeners, foresters, and recreation leaders to park rangers, custodians, electricians, painters and more. Our core mission, as it has been throughout our history, is to provide opportunities for San Francisco residents and visitors alike to gather, play, learn, relax, and enjoy nature in the city.

The Apprentice Gardener is a trainee classification which performs routine and basic duties to assist Gardeners in the care of athletic fields, squares, parks, playgrounds, stadiums, thoroughfares, medians and/or other landscaped areas. Under direct supervision, learns to perform care and maintenance of a variety of plants and landscaped areas, including planting, pruning and pest control; removes debris and litter; operates hand or power lawn mower; performs routine maintenance of tools and equipment; and performs related duties as required. Assigned duties increase in scope and difficulty as the Apprentice Gardener demonstrates skills in performing diverse duties that are learned through an on-the-job training rotation. Work is performed under direct supervision and is evaluated on the basis of progress in a structured work experience training program.

Demonstrated competence and successful completion of a minimum of 3,000 hours of the structured apprentice training program leads to meeting the minimum qualifications for the promotional class of 3417 Gardener. Failure to achieve demonstrated competence and acceptable work habits or the inability to complete the training program within two (2) years results in loss of employment in the 3410 class. The appointing officer may provide an extension of time to complete the training program, however, appointments to this class cannot exceed 3 years.

Race and Social Equity Statement
We believe that parks and open space in San Francisco provides the opportunity to model equitable access for all.  With this belief, San Francisco became the first city in the United States for which 100% of its residents live within a ten-minute walk of a park. The Recreation and Park Department’s goal is to close the gaps and improve equity and access to quality parks and open space, and recreation activities for historically marginalized communities.  

We envision a department that proactively infuses racial and social equity in its internal operations.  With a multi-disciplinary team of talented individuals - gardeners, recreation leaders, park rangers, custodians, craft shop personnel, park and recreation managers and more, the department is committed to doing its part to provide equitable access to parks and programs for all the communities we serve to enjoy, as well as foster a work environment where our differences are celebrated, and everyone has what they need to thrive regardless of their race, age, ability, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or country of origin.

Role description

Example of Important and Essential Duties:

1. Participates in a structured on-the-job and classroom training program and learns routine and basic manual labor tasks.

2. Waters lawns, planted areas and playfields, manually or by means of automatic sprinklers; uses hand or power mower to cut lawns; fertilizes lawns, shrubs and flower beds.

3. Performs routine and limited trimming and pruning of shrubs and hedges by use of hand or power shears; gathers and disposes of cuttings.

4. With close supervision, sprays herbicides; plants and transplants shrubs or small plants; traps or destroys rodents; assists in the renovation of lawns or play areas.

5. Removes debris and litter; sweeps and otherwise cleans play areas, paths or roadways; removes trash; assists in the loading of debris on truck.

6. Rakes and weeds lawns; weeds and cultivates planted areas; cleans restrooms or other auxiliary buildings in a playground or park.

7. Sharpens, cleans and otherwise maintains tools and equipment, and performs general maintenance duties.

8. Assists in responding to specific service requests generated by the public, department or other City agency.

9. Loads and unloads materials, supplies, and equipment on and off trucks in proper and safe manner.

10. Assists in making minor repairs and adjustments to landscape irrigation systems, mower equipment, and hoses.

11. Performs related duties and responsibilities as assigned.

How to qualify

1.   ***Meet admission and eligibility requirements for enrollment at City College of San Francisco as follows:

a.)  You must be eighteen (18) years old on or before the first day of instruction for the term which you are applying. or

b.)  You are a high school graduate; or

c.)  You are the equivalent of a high school graduate, i.e., you have passed GED or a state's high school proficiency examination;

d)  You completed a minimum of 120 high school credits and have submitted a permission/consent form.  Please visit the  High School Programs page for more information.

Please visit the link for City College of San Francisco's admission policy:


2.    Possession of a valid California (Class C) driver's license 

***NOTE:  If selected for this program, participants must register with City College of San Francisco, and enrolled in OH 50 Introduction to Environmental Horticulture.  Please visit the City College of San Francisco website for registration information.


The stated desirable qualifications may be used to identify job finalists at the end of the selection process when candidates are referred for hiring.  

  • Six (6) months (1,040 hours) of verifiable experience in the care and maintenance of landscaped general ground areas or as a journey-level tradesperson in construction or industrial field;
  • A good driving record (An applicant will be considered a negligent driver and he/she may be disqualified if the driving record shows:  6 or more violation points in the last 12 months; 8 or more violation points in the last 24 months; or 10 or more violation points in the last 36 months.  The months will be calculated from the date the report was requested.)
  • Verifiable experience in a physically demanding position (e.g., gardening assistant, laborer, etc.);
  • Ability to safely and correctly lift, drag, and/or move with assistance, large and/or heavy plants and equipment to truck bed level, and the ability to kneel, bend and squat for considerable periods of time. (The probationary period will be used to evaluate this qualification.);
  • New or continuing student status at City College of San Francisco.

WORKING CONDITIONS: The nature of the work may require exposure to inclement weather conditions and may require exposure to hazardous conditions and/or materials which may include feces and/or urine, used syringes, etc.  Some positions require safe driving of large trucks or vans.  Some positions may require riding mowers and driving small utility vehicles. Some positions may require heavy lifting up to 50 lbs. Some positions may require weekend or shift work.

What else should I know?


STEP 1 -  Applicants are encouraged to apply online no later than Friday, April 28 2023 by 5:00 pm by clicking on the 'Apply Now' or 'I'm Interested' button and follow instructions as prompted. 

STEP 2 – Complete and submit ALL VERIFICATION DOCUMENTS NO LATER THAN Tuesday, May 2, 2023 by 5:00 pm.  Verification documents requested are as follows:

1.  Verification of meeting eligibility and entrance criteria for enrollment in City College of San Francisco (i.e. copy of high school diploma, certificate of completion/GED, bachelor's degree, or college transcripts, etc.); AND

2.  Verification of valid California Class C Driver's License - Applicants must submit a legible copy of their driver's license with photograph clear and visible; AND

3.  DRIVING HISTORY RECORD PRINTOUT - Applicants are required to submit an original Department of Motor Vehicles driving history record printout. The printout is available from any Department of Motor Vehicles office or online. The printout must be current, dated within one month of the date when requested. The printout must be complete and state the word “End” on the final page of the printout.  Due to the Covid 19, copies of online printouts will be accepted.  Applicants who do not submit the DMV printout will not be allowed to move forward in the selection process.


  • Scan and email to (email address uses an underscore). 
  • Subject line:  3410  Apprentice Gardener FALL 2023 - Verification
  • DO NOT USE U.S. Mail or hand delivery.  Due to the Covid-19, verification materials submitted by US mail or hand delivery will not be accepted.   

Note:  Failure to complete ALL steps above will be considered as INCOMPLETE and may be disqualified.

Falsifying one’s education, training, or work experience or attempted deception on the application may result in disqualification for this and future job opportunities with the City and County of San Francisco.

Specific information regarding this recruitment is listed below:

Applications will be screened for relevant qualifying experience. Additional screening mechanisms may be implemented in order to determine candidates’ qualifications. Applicants meeting the minimum qualifications are not guaranteed advancement in the selection process. Previous paid or volunteer experience with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department does NOT guarantee employment.


Applicants selected to advance in the selection process MUST be available to participate in a written, performance, and oral assessment administered tentatively during the week of June 1, 2023.  More specific information (final date/time) will be provided to individuals if invited to advance in this process.

Additional Information Regarding Employment with the City and County of San Francisco:

As a selected candidate for a job, you will be fingerprinted, and your fingerprints will be sent to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The resulting report of your conviction history (if any) will be used to determine whether the nature of your conviction (or arrest, in limited circumstances) conflicts with the specific duties and responsibilities of the job for which you are a selected candidate. If a conflict exists, you will be asked to present any evidence of rehabilitation that may mitigate the conflict, except when federal or state regulations bar employment in specific circumstances, such as:

Candidates for positions with the Unified School District and the Community College District may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under the California Education Code.

Candidates for positions with the Recreation and Park Department may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under California Public Resources Code 5164.

Having a conviction history does not automatically preclude you from a job with the City.

If you are a selected candidate, the hiring department will contact you to schedule a fingerprinting appointment.

Drug Testing Requirement: Applicants for positions in this classification who are not currently employed by the City and County of San Francisco in a safety-sensitive position represented by Laborers International, Local 261, are required to pass pre-employment drug and alcohol testing. All employees in this classification may also be subject to drug and alcohol testing upon reasonable suspicion or after a work-related accident.

Physical Examination: Prior to appointment, candidates must successfully pass a medical examination to determine his/her ability to perform the essential functions of the job and/or the ability to meet the physical minimum requirements.

Applicants may be contacted by email about this announcement and, therefore, it is their responsibility to ensure that their registered email address is accurate and kept up-to-date. 

If you have any questions regarding this recruitment or application process, please contact the exam analyst, Lilli Ann Bobila by email at

In line with the Official Public Health Order to slow the spread of COVID-19, “shelter-in-place” has been issued for all San Francisco residents that is expected to be in effect until further notice. As a result, the Department of Human Resources (DHR)’s office (located at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103) is currently closed to the general public.

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.

CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT:  All City and County of San Francisco employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. Someone is fully vaccinated when 14 days have passed since they received the final dose of a two-shot vaccine or a dose of a one-shot vaccine. Any new hire must present proof of full vaccination status to be appointed. Any new hire who will be routinely assigned or occasionally enter High-Risk Settings, must provide proof of having received a COVID-19 booster vaccine by March 1, 2022, or once eligible.

The City and County of San Francisco encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to apply. Applicants will be considered regardless of their sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition (associated with cancer, a history of cancer, or genetic characteristics), HIV/AIDS status, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, military and veteran status, or other protected category under the law.