Landscape Architect Degree

With some building projects, landscape architects start planning the landscaping design before the structure is even completed. They may redesign and restore areas that were once used by humans such as mining lands, wetlands and forested property.

Landscape Architect Degrees

To become a landscape architect, an individual must meet the following criteria:

  • Possess a Bachelor’s Degree in landscape architecture from an accredited school which usually requires 4-5 years
  • If the individual previously earned a related Bachelor’s Degree, a Masters of Landscape Architecture (MLA) may be acquired with only 2-3 years at an accredited school
  • Complete a summer long internship while earning a professional degree
  • After one to four years of work with a licensed landscape architect, take the the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.) to acquire a license
  • Thirteen states require an additional state exam for licensing

Specific licensing requirements vary from state to state. Most states also require continuing education credits to maintain licensure.

Landscape Architect Job Description

Landscape architects work closely with professionals, such as engineers and architects, to create detailed plans laying out the landscape for a particular project. Their plans may include drawings, photographs, land use studies and cost analysis reports. They utilize different types of technology in planning including computer-aided design (CAD) and geographic information systems. With completed and approved plans, landscape architects outline the methodology of the construction and order the materials for the project.

With a greater emphasis on “green” architecture, landscape architects may be required to prepare environmental impact studies and environmental issues reports, particularly if they work for government agencies. Historic landscape preservation and restoration is another area that has received greater emphasis among landscape architects recently.

Landscape architects complete a variety of tasks including but not limited to the following:

  • Work with other professionals including engineers and architects.
  • Listen carefully to client needs and expectations concerning design.
  • Assess structures currently in place and local habitats.
  • Decide which topography, vegetation and decorative features to use.
  • Analyze issues related to climate, land slope and size and irrigation options.
  • Design a detailed landscaping plan.
  • Develop construction methods and order necessary materials.
  • Utilize current technology such as CAD and GIS.
  • Follow through with client as plan is completed.

At least 21% of landscape architects are self-employed and the remaining professionals work with private firms or for government agencies. Some specialize in specific areas such as public areas or residential landscaping. Other landscape architects focus on a particular type of project including environmental remediation or historical preservation and restoration.

Landscape Architect Salary

The field of landscape architecture is expected to significantly increase through 2016, as noted in reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Landscape architecture is projected to grow by 20% which is much faster than most other professions.

In a may 2008 Federal government report, the average annual income for a landscape architect was around $59,000. The overall range for annual salaries for the same time period was from about $37,000 to over $97,000. A greater demand for “green” architects is also anticipated, allowing for a new area of specialty to be filled by current degree seekers.

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