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Landscape Architects

If you have design skills and an interest in conservation and the environment, working as a landscape architect may be the career choice for you. Design, plan, create and manage a variety of landscapes, including parks, housing developments and areas around public buildings, roads and highways.

The median pay for landscape architects is $65,760 per year and the occupation is growing at an average pace of 6 percent. As a designer of outdoor spaces, you might design the green spaces for a new community, help restore a wetland or work with an architect to create outdoor areas to accent the buildings they surround. You may spend your time creating plans and designs, preparing models and cost estimates, conducting research, meeting with clients or visiting the job site.

You will need good communication skills to collaborate with others in related occupations, such as civil engineers, urban and regional planners, interior designers and architects. Other attributes that should make you a successful landscape architect include the following:

  • Love of the outdoors
  • Good sense of spatial awareness
  • Strong drawing and sketching skills
  • Excellent computer skills and technical abilities
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Business expertise
  • Vision and follow-through
  • Passion for your work

Education and training

To become a certified landscape architect, you must complete the following three steps:

  1. Acquire a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, or BLA, or a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture, or BSLA, through a program accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board, or LAAB of the American Society of Landscape Architects, or ASLA.
  2. Obtain relevant experience through a paid internship lasting one to four years. This is required before taking the licensing exam.
  3. All 50 states require landscape architects to have a license. The Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards, or CLARB, sponsors the Landscape Architect Registration Examination, or LARE. Candidates must first meet eligibility requirements, including education and work experience. Some states also require landscape architects to have specific state licensing.

Find state licensing requirements on the National Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards or use the CareerOneStop License Finder tool. Be sure to also visit the Department of Labor Military Spouse License Recognition Map for up-to-date legislation and licensure information for your specific state. If you move due to a PCS, your service branch can now help reimburse licensure and certification costs up to $500. Learn more.

Once you have made the decision to pursue a career as a landscape architect, you can explore the many tools and resources on MySECO to assist you with education planning. College Scorecard is a great starting point for researching and selecting an education institution. When you visit College Scorecard, search by degree/program, size, location and more to find a program of study near you. You can also use the Scholarship Finder to locate funding relevant to the military community to help pay for classes. See if you are eligible for the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship to help with education or licensure costs. 

A Bachelor of Landscape Architecture or a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture usually require four or five years of study in design, construction techniques, art, history, or natural and social sciences.

If time to earn a degree and money to pay for your education are concerns, think about completing a two-year associate degree as a landscape design technician through a community college, technical school or university. Learn about plant identification, soil fertility, computer-aided landscape design, landscape architecture, plant health and diseases, and other subjects that should help you get a job and start gaining experience in landscape design. Try to find a program where the credits you earn will transfer toward your bachelor's degree.

Finding employment

Private, public and academic organizations employ landscape architects. Look for private sector jobs with landscape architectural, engineering, architectural and planning firms. Jobs may also be available with corporations that offer products and services related to land planning and development. Search for positions with companies seeking to hire military spouses on the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search, where hundreds of partner employers have made the commitment to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses in portable careers.

Public sector jobs are available with federal, state, regional and municipal agencies involved in land planning, development and preservation. Look for federal positions on USAJOBS with a number of organizations with open positions in landscape architecture.

Landscape architects teach and conduct research in college and university departments of architecture, art and planning. They also teach in community colleges and continuing education programs. 

Gain experience in landscape architecture by volunteering and through internships. Proactively network to build your contacts and experience. Tell family, friends, coworkers and all others that you are hoping to be a landscape architect and ask for referrals to assist you in building and expanding your network.

Professional organizations and networking

You may wish to consider joining a professional organization in your career field to gain a better understanding of current industry trends in landscape architecture. Professional organizations are great ways to continue your education through workshops and conferences, which will add to your transferable skill set as you move. Networking with other professionals will give you an edge in meeting the right people who may have the connections you need to obtain an interview or restart your career at your new location. They may provide important information about available internships and jobs, additional learning opportunities, seminars, networking events, hiring fairs and more. Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career.

Next steps

To learn more about careers in landscape architecture, review the Research Occupations tool on MySECO and investigate your options. Take self-assessments to make sure your skills and interests align with your career choice. Talk to others in the field and get their feedback.

Contact a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or use the Live Chat feature on the MySECO website to discuss career or education choices, searching for a job or overcoming challenges. Coaches are available to review your resume, practice interviewing, discuss networking or assist you in understanding employer requirements for this field.

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