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Become A Landscape Architect And Planner

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Working As A Landscape Architect And Planner

  • Thinking Creatively
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $80,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Landscape Architect And Planner Do

Landscape architects design parks and the outdoor spaces of campuses, recreational facilities, private homes, and other open spaces.

Duties

Landscape architects typically do the following:

  • Meet with clients, engineers, and building architects to understand the requirements of a project
  • Prepare site plans, specifications, and cost estimates
  • Coordinate the arrangement of existing and proposed land features and structures
  • Prepare graphic representations of plans using computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software
  • Select appropriate materials for use in landscape designs
  • Analyze environmental reports on land conditions, such as drainage and energy usage
  • Inspect landscape project progress to ensure that it adheres to plans
  • Seek new work through marketing activities or by giving presentations

Landscape architects design attractive and functional public parks, gardens, playgrounds, residential areas, college campuses, and public spaces. They also plan the locations of buildings, roads, walkways, flowers, shrubs, and trees within these environments. Landscape architects design these areas so that they are not only easy to use but also harmonious with the natural environment.

Landscape architects use several different technologies in their work. For example, using computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software, landscape architects prepare models of their proposed work. They present these models to clients for feedback and then prepare the final look of the project. Many landscape architects also use geographic information systems (GIS) which offer GPS coordinates of different geographical features. This helps landscape architects design different environments by giving them clues on where to start planning and how to anticipate future effects of the landscape, such as rainfall running into a valley.

The goals of landscape architects are to enhance the natural beauty of a space and provide environmental benefits. They may plan the restoration of natural places that were changed by humans or nature, such as wetlands, streams, and mined areas. They may also design “green roofs” or rooftop gardens that can retain storm water, absorb air pollution, and cool buildings while also providing pleasant scenery. Landscape architects also play a role in preserving and restoring historic landscapes. Landscape architects and architects sometimes work together to create historic memorials, such as the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C.

Landscape architects who work for government agencies design sites and landscapes for government buildings, parks, and other public lands, as well as plan for landscapes and recreation areas in national parks and forests. In addition, they prepare environmental impact assessments based on proposed construction.

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How To Become A Landscape Architect And Planner

All states except for Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, and Washington, D.C. require landscape architects to have a license. In addition, all 50 states (but not Washington, D.C.) require applicants to be licensed before they can use the title “landscape architect” while soliciting business. Licensing requirements vary among states, but usually include a degree in landscape architecture from an accredited school, internship experience, and passing the Landscape Architect Registration Examination.

Education

A bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture usually is necessary for entry into the profession. There are two undergraduate landscape architect professional degrees: a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) and a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA). These programs usually require 4 to 5 years of study.

Accredited programs are approved by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB). Those with an undergraduate degree in a field other than landscape architecture may enroll in a Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) graduate degree program, which typically takes 3 years of full-time study.

Courses typically include surveying, landscape design and construction, landscape ecology, site design, and urban and regional planning. Other relevant coursework may include history of landscape architecture, plant and soil science, geology, professional practice, and general management.

The design studio is a key component of any curriculum. Whenever possible, students are assigned real projects, providing them with valuable hands-on experience. While working on these projects, students become proficient in the use of computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), model building, and other design software.

Training

In order to become licensed, candidates must meet experience requirements determined by each state. A list of training requirements can be found at the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards.

New hires are called intern landscape architects until they become licensed. Although duties vary with the type and size of the employing firm, interns typically must work under the supervision of a licensed landscape architect for the experience to count toward licensure. In addition, all drawings and specifications must be signed and sealed by the licensed landscape architect.

Potential prospects may benefit by completing an internship with a landscape architecture firm during educational studies. Interns may improve their technical skills and gain an understanding of the day-to-day operations of the business, including learning how to recruit clients, generate fees, and work within a budget.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states, except for Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, and Washington, D.C., require landscape architects to be licensed in order to practice. In addition, all 50 states (but not Washington, D.C.) require applicants to be licensed before they can use the title “landscape architect” while soliciting business. Licensing is based on candidates passing the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE), which is sponsored by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards.

Candidates who are interested in taking the exam usually need a degree from an accredited school and several years of work experience under the supervision of a licensed landscape architect, although standards vary by state. For those without an accredited landscape architecture degree, many states provide alternative paths to qualify to take the LARE, which usually require more work experience.

In addition to the LARE, some states have their own registration exam to test for competency on state-specific issues, such as earthquakes in California or hurricanes in Florida. State-specific exams may focus on laws, environmental regulations, plants, soils, climate, and other characteristics unique to the state.

Because requirements for licensure vary, landscape architects may find it difficult to transfer their registration from one state to another. Common requirements include graduating from an accredited program, completing several years of an internship under the supervision of a licensed landscape architect, and passing the LARE. By meeting national requirements, a landscape architect may also obtain certification from the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards, which may be useful in getting a license in another state.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Landscape architects must understand the content of designs. When designing a building’s drainage system, for example, landscape architects must understand how the building’s location and surrounding land affect each other.

Communication skills. Landscape architects share their ideas, both orally and in writing, with clients, other architects, and workers who help prepare drawings. Effective communication is essential to ensuring that the vision for a project gets translated into reality.

Creativity. Landscape architects create the overall look of gardens, parks, and other outdoor areas. Their designs should be both pleasing to the eye and functional.

Problem-solving skills. When designing outdoor spaces, landscape architects must be able to provide solutions to unanticipated challenges. These solutions often involve looking at challenges from different perspectives and providing the best recommendations.

Technical skills. Landscape architects use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) programs to create representations of their projects. Some also must use geographic information systems (GIS) for their designs.

Visualization skills. Landscape architects must be able to imagine how an overall outdoor space will look once completed.

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Average Yearly Salary
$80,000
Show Salaries
$39,000
Min 10%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$164,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
PAGE SOUTHERLAND PAGE
Highest Paying City
Oakland, CA
Highest Paying State
District of Columbia
Avg Experience Level
4.1 years
How much does a Landscape Architect And Planner make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Landscape Architect And Planner in the United States is $80,965 per year or $39 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $39,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $164,000.

Real Landscape Architect And Planner Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Architect/Planner Metropolitan Architects and Planners, Inc. Alexandria, VA Sep 29, 2012 $90,300
Healthcare Architect/Medical Planner (Non-Licensed Smithgroupjjr, Inc. Sub. of Smithgroup Co., Inc. Washington, DC Oct 01, 2014 $71,000
Architect/Planner Metropolitan Architects and Planners, Inc. Alexandria, VA Sep 29, 2009 $70,000
Landscape Planner Southland Landscapes Inc. Hampton Bays, NY Sep 16, 2015 $68,996
Architect/Planner Houston-Bugatsch Architects, Chartered Nampa, ID Oct 01, 2012 $65,853
Landscape Planner Prime Associates, Inc. Newport Beach, CA Sep 27, 2010 $58,614
Architect/Planner Metropolitan Architects & Planners, Inc. Alexandria, VA Sep 04, 2011 $58,433
Landscape Architect/Planner HDR Engineering, Inc. Atlanta, GA Jun 08, 2010 $54,000 -
$57,000
Architect/Planner Metropolitan Architects & Planners, Inc. Alexandria, VA Sep 04, 2011 $53,000
Landscape Planner Kingstowne Lawn Care, Inc. Lorton, VA Sep 15, 2010 $40,592
Landscape Planner Kingstowne Lawn Care, Inc. Lorton, VA Sep 21, 2010 $40,592

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Top Skills for A Landscape Architect And Planner

  1. Master Plan Design
  2. Site Master Plans
  3. New Construction
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created detailed construction documents with computer aided drawing programs AutoCAD and Micro Station.
  • Worked closely with landscape architects and engineers on a number of commercial projects.
  • Land planning, urban and landscape design for private and public projects in the Chicago area and throughout the Midwest.
  • Project management thru concept to final project close out.
  • Craft specification documentation, prepared cost estimates, and evaluated/awarded contract bids.

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Top 10 Best States for Landscape Architects And Planner

  1. District of Columbia
  2. North Carolina
  3. Missouri
  4. Virginia
  5. California
  6. Connecticut
  7. Nevada
  8. New Mexico
  9. Minnesota
  10. Georgia
  • (164 jobs)
  • (431 jobs)
  • (178 jobs)
  • (595 jobs)
  • (1,489 jobs)
  • (162 jobs)
  • (59 jobs)
  • (20 jobs)
  • (216 jobs)
  • (360 jobs)

Landscape Architect And Planner Demographics

Gender

Male

55.3%

Female

27.9%

Unknown

16.8%
Ethnicity

White

58.3%

Hispanic or Latino

12.2%

Black or African American

11.7%

Asian

11.6%

Unknown

6.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.0%

Chinese

13.3%

Mandarin

13.3%

Italian

13.3%

Portuguese

6.7%

German

6.7%

Thai

6.7%
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Landscape Architect And Planner Education

Schools

Ohio State University

8.8%

West Virginia University

8.8%

University of Oregon

7.4%

Texas A&M University

5.9%

University of Pennsylvania

5.9%

Cornell University

5.9%

University of Georgia

5.9%

Syracuse University

4.4%

Texas Tech University

4.4%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.4%

Michigan State University

4.4%

Clemson University

4.4%

Yale University

4.4%

Utah State University

4.4%

Kansas State University

4.4%

University of Oklahoma

4.4%

Washington State University

2.9%

Temple University

2.9%

Morgan State University

2.9%

New York University

2.9%
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Majors

Landscape Architecture

34.0%

Architecture

21.0%

Urban Planning

11.7%

Business

4.9%

Construction Management

3.7%

Environmental Science

2.5%

Public Administration

2.5%

Real Estate Development

2.5%

English

1.9%

Real Estate

1.9%

Project Management

1.9%

Environmental Design

1.9%

Civil Engineering

1.2%

Area Studies

1.2%

Sustainability

1.2%

Marketing

1.2%

Natural Resources Management

1.2%

Law

1.2%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

1.2%

Information Systems

1.2%
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Degrees

Masters

39.7%

Bachelors

35.8%

Other

14.7%

Doctorate

4.4%

Certificate

3.9%

Diploma

1.0%

Associate

0.5%
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