How to Become a
Best Education Tracks, Key Skills, and Top Certifications
In the process of designing outdoor spaces like public parks, recreational areas, and private homes, functionality is important. However, someone also needs to ensure that these areas are beautiful while bringing positive impacts to the local environment. This is the role of a landscape architect.
If you are an eco-conscious person with a knack for design, this might be a great career path for you. Keep reading to find out more about how to become a landscape architect.
What Is a Landscape Architect?
A landscape architect is a professional who advises, plans, and designs the construction of public, urban, residential, and rural landscapes. Landscape architects also assist in the management and conservation of natural or heritage landscapes and public open spaces.
Landscape architects are also often part of the architectural team that plans the locations of buildings, walkways, gardens, and roadways within a set environment.
What Type of School Should You Attend
to Become a Landscape Architect?
To become a landscape architect, you will need to attend a school that offers accredited programs. In the United States and Canada, those programs are accredited by bodies like the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB) or the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Other relevant bodies include the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB), and the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Council (LAAC).
They help make sure that your institution provides adequate resources and education. There is only one pathway to becoming a landscape architect, and that is completing a university degree program.
Best Landscape Architect Education Tracks
You should choose a graphic design education track based on your finances and schedule. They vary from a few months full-time to many years part-time. You should also take a look at what exactly your preferred program offers. Read below to learn more about all of the different options.
Landscape Architecture Degrees
A Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture takes at least three years to complete. Students will learn relevant concepts and strategies to create a safe, beneficial, and enjoyable outdoor area.
You can also study towards a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture Honors Degree, which will equip you with an advanced skill set that sets you apart in a highly competitive field. It includes in-depth knowledge on topics like constructed ecology, the natural environment, and broader urban design. That will take you an additional year to complete.
In some cases, possessing a Master of Landscape Architecture Degree will bolster your job security, as it is often a requirement for an entry-level job. A master’s program can take two to three years to complete.
Landscape Architecture Apprenticeships
Earning a degree gives you the foundation for landscape architecture, but an apprenticeship can give you hands-on experience. You can get on-the-job training, similar to that which you would get at a trade school, under the guidance of an expert in the field.
Generally, you have the option to take on an apprenticeship while you are studying or once you have obtained your degree. It normally takes around two years to complete an apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships are usually unpaid and offer a quid pro quo agreement, similar to an internship. Companies need additional labor to do the legwork for more experienced landscape architects, and prospective architects need work experience. An apprenticeship can sometimes come with financial incentives like grants and subsidies.
How to Become a Landscape Architect: A Step-by-Step Guide
You will need at least a university degree to become a landscape architect. However, lifelong learning is a huge part of this career path. This is a long journey compared to other fields.
Study landscape architecture
To work in this field, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree. You can study landscape architecture or a similar topic. Beyond that, completing post-graduate studies will enhance your career prospects.
Complete an apprenticeship
Apart from putting what you learned into practice, apprenticeships also help broaden your pathway into the industry. You can get work experience and develop your professional networks.
This is a requirement for all states. To become a licensed landscape architect, you have to sit for the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE). This examination determines your competency in matters of public health, safety, and welfare. This is not just a test of your design skills.
Get other relevant education
There are also state-specific exams that cover environmental regulations and characteristics in a certain location. Architects in California, for instance, would have to factor in earthquakes in their design.
Find a job
You can work in either the public or private sector. Some jobs in the public sector, like government jobs, don’t require a license. This can be a shortcut to becoming a landscape architect.
Key Landscape Architect Skills
Most of the technical skills can be learned at university or through additional accredited courses. Below are other relevant skills that can help you become a successful landscape architect.
To work in this field, you will need to have an eye for design. Landscape architecture is all about making a space both functional and beautiful. You should also have drawing skills to help you draft ideas and pitch different layouts.
Artistic people tend to have an eye for detail. While being artistic is not something that you can attend training for, this skill can be developed. In the landscape architecture field, you should pay attention to even the smallest details.
Landscape Architect Salary and Job Outlook
The median landscape architect salary is about $60,000 per year, according to PayScale. This can change based on your education level, experience, and location.
By 2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that landscape architecture job opportunities will decline by two percent. That might be off-putting, but it is also worth noting that the entry threshold for landscape architects remains high. If you can complete a bachelor’s degree, you will still be able to get a job.
Entry-Level Landscape Architect Job Requirements
The key requirement for a landscape architect is a bachelor’s degree. You will also need to be proficient in design software like AutoCAD and InDesign. Typically, somebody applying for an entry-level job in this field will earn anything in the range of $46,000 to $60,000 per year, according to Salary.com.
What Does a Landscape Architect Do?
A landscape architect completes many tasks during the process. They are involved with the project at its genesis and also sees it through to conclusion, collaborating with several people in different capacities along the way.
Works with Clients
Landscape architects will meet with clients to discuss their requirements and the proposed use of open space. They take into account aspects like the existing ecosystem and geographical features. Depending on the area and scale of the project, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) might be required.
Plans, Drafts, and Designs
Landscape architects use some design or drafting software to prepare models of their proposed work. They also use geographic information systems to show data visually as maps, reports, and charts. In the planning process, landscape architects are responsible for the design of other compounding features like rooftop gardens, heating, and more.
Landscape architects will present their models and a projected budget to their clients, who in turn will offer feedback and approval. When a project has been approved, the client will create a contract, and the landscape architect will procure the services of relevant contractors and sub-contractors.
A landscape architect monitors the progress of a project and ensures that the work meets the required standard. They will also do this by working in collaboration with landscape gardeners, architects, surveyors, civil engineers, town planners, and even environmental campaigners.
Preserves and Restores Land
When they are not working on new projects, landscape architects will center their focus on preserving and restoring historical landscapes. They also plan the restoration of areas that have been disturbed by human activities, such as mining areas, wetlands, and streams.
Landscape Architect Certifications
Certification procedures will vary from state to state. However, all procedures are based on the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE).
This examination will demonstrate your knowledge, skills, and ability in the field of landscape architecture. You have to complete four multiple-choice sections. Before you can take the exam, you will be required to provide transcripts from your university program.
You will also need to complete a certification of experience form, which is something that would get after completing an apprenticeship program. You will pay an application fee of at least $35, but the amount varies depending on the state you are in.
How to Prepare for Your Landscape Architect Job Interview
The best way to prepare for your interview is by fine-tuning your core technical skills and completing an apprenticeship. To become a great landscape architect, you will need to be independent, responsible, and disciplined.
Landscape Architect Job Interview Practice Questions
- Are you able to visualize an outcome before a project is completed?
- Are you comfortable working in the outdoors?
- What do you understand about public health, safety, and welfare?
- How much supervision do you need while working?
- What is the most important part of a design: the artistic quality or the environmental impact?
How Long Does It Take to Become a Landscape Architect?
It will take at least four years to become a landscape architect. The first order of business will be to complete a university degree program. That will take you at least three years to complete. Many employers will also expect you to have completed a master’s degree in this field, and that will take you another year or two.
When you are done with your education, you will need to complete an apprenticeship, which can take up to two years. Then you will need to get licensed and certified. That can be a quick process, which involves paying a fee and sitting for the exam. Depending on your path, it could take up to ten years to become a landscape architect.
Should You Become a Landscape Architect in 2021?
Yes, you should become a landscape architect in 2021. While there is a two percent decline in terms of job outlook in the coming decade, it is worth noting that the US government is in the process of funding a $2 trillion infrastructure program. China and the European Union are also planning similar projects.
Opportunities for landscape architects will emerge in all of those projects and programs, which can take you around the globe. Now is a good time to start building the skills and pursue a career where form meets function.
Landscape Architect FAQ
What is the difference between landscape architecture and landscape design?
A landscape architect is somebody who is licensed and has completed a degree program in landscape architecture. There is not a recognized license for landscape designers. The only thing you will need for landscape design is some education.
Who hires landscape architects?
The vast majority of landscape architect projects are created or sanctioned by private homeowners, architects, and government departments. They make up most of the client base.
How many landscape architects are there in the United States?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics presents a rounded figure of 24,500 employed in this field.
How many states require landscape architects to be licensed?
All 50 states require landscape architects to be licensed. According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, about 60 other professions fall within that bracket.