How to Become a Landscape Architect
A landscape architect creates outdoor spaces that are both functional and beautiful. If you have strong analytical skills, enjoy working with your hands, and are a born problem solver then you might like to become a landscape architect. Being a creative person is also required, as you will often need to come up with new ideas for projects.
A landscape architect plans outdoor spaces. These could include a garden, a playground, a university campus, a shopping center, or a park. Landscape architects also work on conservation projects, for instance the rejuvenation of a natural eco-system such as a wetland.
This field offers good opportunities and strong employment growth. Jobs in some of the more exclusive firms is competitive for new graduates.
Education Requirements to Become a Landscape Architect
If you would like to become a landscape architect your first step is to enroll in a four year bachelor degree with a major in landscape architecture. There are many schools in the Unites States that offer these courses.
If you have an undergraduate degree in a different area, you could enroll in a master of landscape architecture, which will still give you the necessary educational background to become a landscape architect. This course takes three years to complete, while those who have an undergraduate degree in landscape architecture can complete a master's program in two years.
Firms will prefer employees who have completed summer internships while working towards their degree. An internship will help you learn the technical side of the work, as well as other aspects such as communicating with clients.
In almost all states you are required to be licensed to become a landscape architect. To do so required completion of an accredited education program, plus passing a state-set exam. You can find out the requirements in your state at the The Council of Architectural Registration Board website.
Landscape Architect Job Description
A landscape architect plans outdoor spaces. There are many aspects of a place that they may design. It could be the design of a garden, the placement of trees, or where to place a feature such as a playground. They decide the best places for roads and pathways. When planning, a landscape architect takes into consideration local planning laws, environmental concerns, drainage, soil type, and climate.
When you become a landscape architect you will start a project with a brief from a clients. You will work to design a plan that falls into their requirements as well as their budget. A plan may be revised many time to take into account the needs of a client, as well as a site.
A landscape architect must work closely with many other professions, such as architects, surveyors, and council employees. Of course, they must also stay in close communication with their own clients.
Here are some of the tasks of a landscape architect:
- Review a brief from a clients
- Coming up with initial plans and ideas
- Putting together a design
- Making revisions to an initial project
- Making sure building and safety regulations are adhered to
- Considering the environmental impact of a project
Landscape Architect Salary and Career Path
Once qualified and licensed as a landscape architect in your state, you could expect to start your first job. While there is good opportunity and growth within this field, if you want to work in the top firms, expect some competition for the graduate positions.
In the first few years of your career you will work closely with other landscape architects. With experience, you could expect to head your own projects. Some landscape architects will go on to become project managers. They may also become partners in firms, or even start their own firms.
The median wage for a landscape architect is $58,000 a year. The middle 50% make between $45,000 and $70,000 a year. The top 10% of earners make over $97,000 a year.
Some similar roles to landscape architects include:
If you enjoy the outdoors, have an eye for design and architecture, and are a creative person then you might like to become a landscape architect. Employment prospects are good in this secure field. The role also offers many opportunities for advancement. The work is varied and interesting, and will make for a rewarding career for those who are successful.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics