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Become A Landscape Architect

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Working As A Landscape Architect

  • Thinking Creatively
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $54,371

    Average Salary

What Does A Landscape Architect Do

Architects plan and design houses, factories, office buildings, and other structures.

Duties

Architects typically do the following:

  • Meet with clients to determine objectives and requirements for structures
  • Give preliminary estimates on cost and construction time
  • Prepare structure specifications
  • Direct workers who prepare drawings and documents
  • Prepare scaled drawings, either with computer software or by hand
  • Prepare contract documents for building contractors
  • Manage construction contracts
  • Visit worksites to ensure that construction adheres to architectural plans
  • Seek new work by marketing and giving presentations

People need places to live, work, play, learn, shop, and eat. Architects are responsible for designing these places. They work on public or private projects and design both indoor and outdoor spaces. Architects can be commissioned to design anything from a single room to an entire complex of buildings.

Architects discuss the objectives, requirements, and budget of a project with clients. In some cases, architects provide various predesign services, such as feasibility and environmental impact studies, site selection, cost analyses, and design requirements.

Architects develop final construction plans after discussing and agreeing on the initial proposal with clients. These plans show the building’s appearance and details of its construction. Accompanying these plans are drawings of the structural system; air-conditioning, heating, and ventilating systems; electrical systems; communications systems; and plumbing. Sometimes, landscape plans are included as well. In developing designs, architects must follow state and local building codes, zoning laws, fire regulations, and other ordinances, such as those requiring easy access to buildings for people who are disabled.

Computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) and building information modeling (BIM) have replaced traditional drafting paper and pencil as the most common methods for creating designs and construction drawings. However, hand-drawing skills are still required, especially during the conceptual stages of a project and when an architect is at a construction site.

As construction continues, architects may visit building sites to ensure that contractors follow the design, adhere to the schedule, use the specified materials, and meet work-quality standards. The job is not complete until all construction is finished, required tests are conducted, and construction costs are paid.

Architects may also help clients get construction bids, select contractors, and negotiate construction contracts.

Architects often collaborate with workers in related occupations, such as civil engineers, urban and regional planners, drafters, interior designers, and landscape architects.

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How To Become A Landscape Architect

There are typically three main steps to becoming a licensed architect: completing a professional degree in architecture, gaining relevant experience through a paid internship, and passing the Architect Registration Examination.

Education

In all states, earning a professional degree in architecture is typically the first step to becoming an architect. Most architects earn their professional degree through a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree program, intended for students with no previous architectural training. Many earn a master’s degree in architecture, which can take 1 to 5 years in addition to the time spent earning a bachelor’s degree. The amount of time required depends on the extent of the student’s previous education and training in architecture.

A typical bachelor’s degree program includes courses in architectural history and theory, building design with an emphasis on computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), structures, construction methods, professional practices, math, physical sciences, and liberal arts. Central to most architectural programs is the design studio, where students apply the skills and concepts learned in the classroom to create drawings and three-dimensional models of their designs.

Currently, 34 states require that architects hold a professional degree in architecture from one of the 123 schools of architecture accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). State licensing requirements can be found at the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). In the states that do not have that requirement, applicants can become licensed with 8 to 13 years of related work experience in addition to a high school diploma. However, most architects in these states still obtain a professional degree in architecture.

Training

All state architectural registration boards require architecture graduates to complete a lengthy paid internship—generally 3 years of experience—before they may sit for the Architect Registration Examination. Most new graduates complete their training period by working at architectural firms through the Intern Development Program (IDP), a program run by NCARB that guides students through the internship process. Some states allow a portion of the training to occur in the offices of employers in related careers, such as engineers and general contractors. Architecture students who complete internships while still in school can count some of that time toward the 3-year training period.

Interns in architectural firms may help design part of a project. They may help prepare architectural documents and drawings, build models, and prepare construction drawings on CADD. Interns may also research building codes and write specifications for building materials, installation criteria, the quality of finishes, and other related details. Licensed architects will take the documents that interns produce, make edits to them, finalize plans, and then sign and seal the documents.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states and the District of Columbia require architects to be licensed. Licensing requirements typically include completing a professional degree in architecture, gaining relevant experience through a paid internship, and passing the Architect Registration Examination.

Most states also require some form of continuing education to keep a license, and some additional states are expected to adopt mandatory continuing education. Requirements vary by state but usually involve additional education through workshops, university classes, conferences, self-study courses, or other sources.

A growing number of architects voluntarily seek certification from NCARB. This certification makes it easier to become licensed across states, because it is the primary requirement for reciprocity of licensing among state boards that are NCARB members. In 2014, approximately one-third of all licensed architects had the certification.

Advancement

After many years of work experience, some architects advance to become architectural and engineering managers. These managers typically coordinate the activities of employees and may work on larger construction projects.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Architects must understand the content of designs and the context in which they were created. For example, architects must understand the locations of mechanical systems and how those systems affect building operations.

Communication skills. Architects share their ideas, both in oral presentations and in writing, with clients, other architects, and workers who help prepare drawings. Many also give presentations to explain their ideas and designs.

Creativity. Architects design the overall look of houses, buildings, and other structures. Therefore, the final product should be attractive and functional.

Organizational skills. Architects often manage contracts. Therefore, they must keep records related to the details of a project, including total cost, materials used, and progress.

Technical skills. Architects need to use CADD technology to create plans as part of building information modeling (BIM).

Visualization skills. Architects must be able to see how the parts of a structure relate to each other. They also must be able to visualize how the overall building will look once completed.

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Landscape Architect jobs

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Landscape Architect Career Paths

Landscape Architect
Project Manager Program Manager General Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Associate Consultant Architect
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Planner Senior Buyer Operations Manager
Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Planner Planning Manager Product Manager
Brand Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Planner Program Manager Marketing Director
Chief Marketing Officer
10 Yearsyrs
Principal Superintendent
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Owner Property Manager Business Developer
Director New Business Development
11 Yearsyrs
Land Planner Senior Planner Project Manager
Director Of Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Consultant Architect Project Designer
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Associate Account Manager Account Director
Group Director
9 Yearsyrs
Principal Owner Design Consultant
Interior Designer/Project Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Project Landscape Architect Project Manager Program Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Owner Sales Consultant Business Developer
Marketing/Business Development
8 Yearsyrs
Landscape Architect And Planner Project Manager Program Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Program Director Operations Director
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Planner Planning Manager Project Manager
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Consultant
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Land Planner Planning Director Senior Project Manager
Senior Project Manager Construction
14 Yearsyrs
Landscape Architect And Planner Project Architect Senior Project Manager
Vice President And Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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Landscape Architect Demographics

Gender

Male

71.6%

Female

25.8%

Unknown

2.6%
Ethnicity

White

81.5%

Asian

9.0%

Hispanic or Latino

7.6%

Unknown

1.2%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

51.9%

French

14.8%

Japanese

11.1%

Chinese

3.7%

Venetian

3.7%

Mandarin

3.7%

Polish

3.7%

Thai

3.7%

Italian

3.7%
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Landscape Architect Education

Schools

University of Georgia

11.3%

Iowa State University

9.8%

West Virginia University

8.3%

Pennsylvania State University

6.9%

Ball State University

6.4%

Mississippi State University

5.9%

Michigan State University

5.4%

Utah State University

5.4%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

4.9%

University of Florida

4.9%

State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry

4.4%

Texas Tech University

3.9%

Ohio State University

3.9%

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

3.4%

University of Arizona

2.9%

Auburn University

2.5%

University of Wisconsin Extension

2.5%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

2.5%

University of Rhode Island

2.5%

Colorado State University

2.5%
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Majors

Landscape Architecture

63.0%

Business

6.3%

Architecture

3.4%

Urban Planning

3.1%

Applied Horticulture

2.7%

Environmental Design

2.2%

English

1.7%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.7%

Construction Management

1.7%

Fine Arts

1.5%

Photography

1.5%

Education

1.5%

Plant Sciences

1.5%

Environmental Science

1.5%

Communication

1.5%

General Studies

1.2%

Psychology

1.2%

Accounting

1.2%

Liberal Arts

1.0%

Management

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

51.2%

Masters

22.5%

Other

17.4%

Associate

4.8%

Certificate

3.0%

Doctorate

0.7%

Diploma

0.4%
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Real Landscape Architect Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Landscape Architect. Greenlanders Group, Inc. Fort Lauderdale, FL Jan 14, 2016 $86,133
Landscape Architect Richard Krumwiede Inc. Rancho Cucamonga, CA Sep 15, 2015 $84,127
Landscape Architect James Corner Field Operations New York, NY Feb 27, 2016 $83,000
Landscape Architect Rios Associates Inc., DBA/Rios Clementi Hale Studio Los Angeles, CA Jul 13, 2016 $77,792
Mid-Level Landscape Architect-Associate Sasaki Associates, Inc. Watertown Town, MA Sep 16, 2015 $75,000
Landscape Architect Ecografx, Inc. San Luis Obispo, CA Jan 09, 2016 $75,000
Landscape Architect Wallace Roberts & Todd LLC San Francisco, CA Apr 18, 2016 $74,000
Landscape Architect Rabben/Herman Design Office Newport Beach, CA Jun 22, 2016 $72,100
Landscape Architect Staff Member Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects & Planners, PLLC New York, NY Apr 15, 2016 $72,000
Mid-Level Landscape Architect-Associate Sasaki Associates Watertown Town, MA Feb 23, 2015 $70,741
Associate Landscape Architect GLS Landscape/Architecture San Francisco, CA Feb 25, 2015 $70,000
Associate Landscape Architect GLS Landscape/Architecture San Francisco, CA Jan 10, 2016 $70,000
JR Landscape Architect Thomas Balsley Associate Landscape Architecture PLLC New York, NY Sep 19, 2016 $58,000
JR Landscape Architect Thomas Balsley Associate Landscape Architecture PLLC New York, NY Feb 08, 2016 $58,000
Landscape Architect Lee and Associates, Inc. Washington, DC Sep 07, 2015 $57,000
Landscape Architect Black Jungle Enterprises, Inc. North Miami, FL Sep 18, 2015 $56,599
Landscape Architect Black Jungle Enterprises, Inc. North Miami, FL Sep 18, 2015 $56,410
Landscape Architect Raymond Jungles, Inc. Miami, FL Feb 10, 2016 $56,306
Landscape Architect Sasaki Associates, Inc. Watertown Town, MA Aug 27, 2015 $52,520
Landscape Architect Landdesign, Inc. Alexandria, VA Jan 09, 2016 $52,499
Landscape Architect Landscape Architecture Bureau LLC Washington, DC Aug 31, 2016 $52,499 -
$54,200
Landscape Architect EPT Design, Inc. Pasadena, CA Mar 21, 2015 $52,467
Landscape Architect Design Workshop, Inc. Denver, CO Feb 09, 2015 $52,437
Landscape Architect I Perkins + Will, Inc. Minneapolis, MN Jan 09, 2016 $52,000
Landscape Architect Sasaki Associates, Inc. Watertown Town, MA Aug 22, 2015 $51,314

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Top Skills for A Landscape Architect

ArchitectsConstructionDocumentsMasterPlanAutoCADSitePlansProjectManagementLandscapePlansSiteDesignConceptualDesignCostEstimatesAdobePhotoshopSiteAnalysisCivilEngineersConstructionDetailsConstructionAdministrationStreetscapeDesignDevelopmentLandscapeProjectsSketch-UpProposal

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Top Landscape Architect Skills

  1. Architects
  2. Construction Documents
  3. Master Plan
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Collaborated with landscape architects and engineers on a bike/pedestrian trail design project.
  • Manage and supervise the development of multiple projects from conceptual phase to construction documents.
  • Prepared site Master Plan for existing 16,000 acre Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant.
  • Worked with both AUTO CAD and LAND CAD.
  • Developed preliminary and working Site Plans, Landscape Plans, renders, exhibits and other various plans.

Top Landscape Architect Employers

Landscape Architect Videos

Eddie George on Careers in Landscape Architecture

Laurie Olin on Skills of a Landscape Architect

Expectation and Reality: Life as a Landscape Architect

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