Landscape Architect Job Description
Landscape architects design attractive and useful outdoor spaces. They are frequently employed to design land areas for universities, golf courses, playgrounds, homes, parks, and other facilities.
Each job begins by meeting with clients to determine what their needs are for a given space. Then they visit the land to take detailed notes about the locations of trees, buildings, existing structures, and any topographic characteristics that will influence their design.
Once all of the information is gathered, they make recommendations to clients on how they could best use the land. When the client agrees, the landscape architect creates detailed drawings that include how the land should be shaped, as well as the types of shrubs, trees, and flowers that should be planted in each location.
Because there are so many different types of properties that a landscape architect can work on, many choose to specialize in working with a particular type of space. For example, a landscape architect may work exclusively with residential properties, while another may only design parks.
By specializing, landscape architects are often able to more easily market their services. Additionally, by continuously working with the same types of properties, they are able to refine their skills and become known for doing a particular type of work.
Work Environment and Schedule
Most landscape architects work in the architecture and engineering industry, but many are also employed by local and federal government agencies.
Landscape architects spend most of their time working in an office environment. While in the office they create designs, prepare models, meet with clients, and collaborate with other specialists who can help them with particular aspects of their work.
When they’re not in an office, landscape architects spend their time visiting job sites to assess potential projects or monitor the progress on an existing project. Particularly large projects can require a lot of on site attention to make sure that everything is being constructed as needed.
Almost all landscape architects work full time, and many work far more than the standard 40 hour work week.
Since landscaping projects operate on very tight deadlines, these architects frequently need to work on nights and weekends to make sure that the deadlines are met. They also need to keep flexible schedules so they’re able to meet with clients after working hours or other times that meet their schedule.
About one quarter of landscape architects are self-employed, which can provide a little extra flexibility in their schedule.
How to Become a Landscape Architect
A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required to work as a landscape architect, but a master’s is often required for advancement.
There are two bachelor’s of landscape architect degrees available: a Bachelor of science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA), and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA). Before you enroll in a program, you should make sure that it’s accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board. If the program isn’t accredited, it can be difficult to earn the license required to practice.
Many people who earn a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture enroll in a Master of Landscape Architecture program. These degrees normally take an additional two years to complete, but can improve your chances of advancement later in your career.
While in school, getting an internship will go a long way towards helping you find a job after graduation. During an internship, you will learn a lot about how a landscape architecture firm operates. This real work experience will make you much more attractive to employers when the time comes to look for a job.
All states require landscape architects to be licensed unless they work for the federal government.
To become licensed, you will have to pass the Landscape Architect Registration Examination. To be eligible for the exam, you will need a degree from an accredited school, as well as experience working under a licensed landscape architect.
Some states have additional licensing requirements, and may even have their own exams that you will need to take. State exams normally focus on things that are unique the the state — for example, laws, soil, plants, and other characteristics.
Because many states have their own requirements, it can be difficult to become licensed when moving from one state to another.
There are currently 21,600 landscape architects in the United States, with 780 new landscape architect job openings created each year.
Landscape Architect jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Landscape Architect Salaries
Landscape Architect salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most landscape architects make between $47,600 – $81,500 per year, or $22.89 – $39.17 per hour.