Landscape Architects

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Landscape Architects

Landscape Architects


Education

What’s Needed:

  • Landscape architects typically earn at least a four-year bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture although many go on to earn a master’s degree in the field.
  • Urban planning, architecture and geology are common minors for students who earn their Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA).

What you study:

Landscape architects study the following subjects, among others:

  • Architecture
  • Urban planning
  • Ecology
  • Hydrology
  • Geology and soil science
  • Computer-aided design
  • Business


Video Overview

Quickly recaps the landscape architect career. Produced for the US Dept. of Labor.


A Day in the Life

You’ve learned to schedule big meetings early before your hair wilts at a work site.

Between meetings and site visits, your day planner as a newly graduated landscape architect is already full. You work with a regional architectural firm that handles a mixture of civic and private projects, a blend you appreciate because of the variety that it offers. At the office, you work with a fellow architect on finalizing the details of a big presentation you’ve been assembling for some time. You’ve done the necessary footwork of speaking to hydrologists, landscape designers and developers; all that remains now is the presentation itself.

You’re especially proud of the inspired choice of using fragrant herbs as plantings.

Your first client meeting of the day is your biggest. You’ve learned to schedule big meetings early before your hair wilts at a work site. You’re to meet with a local hospital’s planning committee and show your final designs for the facility’s green space and gardens. The space was once a box store’s parking lot and an empty field, but your plan transforms it into a shaded garden with footpaths and a tranquil pond.

Computer-aided design and sleek graphics give your presentation polish, but the expertise that went into the plans goes deeper than the appealing images you show to the board. The specific challenges this project presented, including full wheelchair accessibility, sustainable building materials, paths that provide firm footing and gentle slopes that convalescing patients can traverse, are all a part of your presentation. The board seems delighted with your attention to detail and readily approves your plans with no changes.

During your commute, you notice how people use parks and pathways, giving you new ideas.

Before you enjoy a celebratory lunch at the office, you stop by another building site to see how the work is progressing. This project, a small waterfront park and playground, involved careful attention to water and wind as well as the usual playground safety measures. You’re especially proud of the inspired choice of using fragrant herbs as plantings; as the wind comes in from the lake, it carries the scent of mint and lavender with it. The smaller plants are just going in, so the work is almost complete.

After lunch, you spend some time on the phone with various city officials. Pushing paperwork through a lengthy approval process takes almost as long as designing some projects. You also place a call to one of the engineers in charge of the hospital project to discuss public lighting. Your work a few summers ago as a landscape designer gave you experience with hands-on planting and building, but as a landscape architect, you’re responsible for many other aspects of a project.

The rest of your afternoon is devoted to developing cost estimates and locating sources for materials. The math isn’t as glamorous as a client presentation, but it’s essential to your work. You become absorbed in your calculations and are surprised when it’s already time to go home. During your commute, you notice how people use parks and pathways, giving you new ideas.


Certifications and Licensing

All landscape architects must earn a license by passing the Landscape Architect Registration Exam, or LARE. Some states also require additional coursework and licensing that prepares landscape architects to work with state regulations and unique environmental needs of the region.


Job Flexibility

Full-time versus part-time:

The majority of landscape architects work for private firms. Those who are self-employed have somewhat more flexibility in their work hours, but standard office hours are the norm.

Work location:

Like other architects, landscape architects spend much of their time in offices with occasional visits to work sites. Some projects require more oversight than others, and landscape architects who prefer hands-on work may choose to specialize in tasks that take them to the job site frequently


Recommended Websites

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Landscape Architects � This site offers a top-down view of what landscape architects do, how much they earn and the educational requirements they must meet. Job demand forecasts and salary statistics are helpful for students seeking direction. For those who are already in the profession or in associated fields such as landscape design or gardening, the Contacts page offers more information.
  • American Society of Landscape Architects � The ASLA has provided landscape architects with support, education and guidance since 1899, making it the oldest professional organization in the industry. As an advocate for the profession, the group features a substantial education section for current and future landscape architects.
  • Association of Professional Landscape Designers � Landscape design is closely associated with landscape architecture, and the APLD website has much to offer landscape architects. The site combines information for professionals and educational materials for clients, offering prospective landscape architects a glimpse of their work from the clients’ point of view as well as that of the provider. The FAQs page is especially useful for those who are still considering their options in landscape architecture and design.


Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below *. Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

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State City / Region Typical Salary Salary Range Job Count % of All Jobs
AL Birmingham – Hoover $36,000 $32K – $40K N/A N/A
AZ Phoenix – Mesa – Glendale $58,740 $34K – $91K 260 0.02%
AZ Tucson $60,470 $51K – $77K 60 0.02%
CA Fresno $88,930 $58K – $110K N/A N/A
CA Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area) $73,740 $45K – $114K 260 0.01%
CA Oakland – Fremont – Hayward (Metro Area) $86,540 $56K – $127K 210 0.02%
CA Oxnard – Thousand Oaks – Ventura $66,250 $46K – $100K N/A N/A
CA Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario $91,810 $57K – $112K 100 0.01%
CA Sacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville $88,120 $53K – $110K 170 0.02%
CA San Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos $69,950 $43K – $104K 380 0.03%
CA San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area) $113,770 $54K – $146K 320 0.03%
CA San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara $88,170 $69K – N/A 210 0.02%
CA Santa Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area) $70,660 $50K – $93K 320 0.02%
CA Santa Barbara – Santa Maria – Goleta $64,940 $44K – $139K 60 0.03%
CO Boulder $82,150 $45K – $96K N/A N/A
CO Denver – Aurora – Broomfield $70,220 $44K – $105K 340 0.03%
CO Fort Collins – Loveland $64,600 $39K – $86K 30 0.02%
CT Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk $69,950 $54K – $95K 70 0.02%
CT Hartford – West Hartford – East Hartford $60,010 $43K – $78K 80 0.01%
Washington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area) $75,180 $51K – $113K 530 0.02%
FL Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach (Metro Area) $56,430 $29K – $81K 140 0.02%
FL Miami – Miami Beach – Kendall (Metro Area) $76,760 $65K – $113K N/A N/A
FL North Port – Bradenton – Sarasota $46,680 $40K – $72K N/A N/A
FL Orlando – Kissimmee – Sanford $67,760 $35K – $105K 140 0.01%
FL Port St. Lucie $49,360 $41K – $87K 40 0.03%
FL Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater $70,720 $43K – $94K 60 0.01%
FL West Palm Beach – Boca Raton – Boynton Beach (Metro Area) $78,670 $58K – $108K 120 0.02%
GA Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Marietta $63,040 $41K – $98K 290 0.01%
HI Honolulu N/A N/A – N/A 210 0.05%
IA Des Moines – West Des Moines $49,780 $33K – $79K 80 0.02%
IA Iowa City $37,480 $32K – $67K 30 0.04%
ID Boise City – Nampa $37,040 $30K – $74K N/A N/A
IL Chicago – Joliet – Naperville (Metro Area) $58,960 $39K – $101K 130 0.00%
IL Lake County – Kenosha County (Metro Area) $59,250 $25K – $107K 40 0.01%
IN Gary (Metro Area) $39,790 $21K – $47K N/A N/A
IN Indianapolis – Carmel $64,560 $37K – $109K 130 0.01%
KY Lexington – Fayette $44,100 $35K – $62K N/A N/A
KY Louisville – Jefferson County $51,750 $40K – $97K 40 0.01%
MA Boston – Cambridge – Quincy (Metro Area) $70,200 $50K – $174K 350 0.02%
MA Lowell – Billerica – Chelmsford (Metro Area) $55,790 $50K – $85K N/A N/A
MA Peabody (Metro Area) $68,690 $62K – $76K N/A N/A
MD Baltimore – Towson $69,810 $52K – $111K N/A N/A
MD Bethesda – Rockville – Frederick (Metro Area) $38,220 $32K – $127K N/A N/A
ME Portland – South Portland – Biddeford $74,080 $63K – $108K N/A N/A
MI Ann Arbor $62,250 $40K – $76K 70 0.03%
MI Detroit – Livonia – Dearborn (Metro Area) $82,300 $49K – $113K 70 0.01%
MI Grand Rapids – Wyoming $57,350 $45K – $74K 30 0.01%
MI Lansing – East Lansing $72,470 $43K – $82K 30 0.02%
MI Warren – Troy – Farmington Hills (Metro Area) $51,640 $36K – $89K 130 0.01%
MN Minneapolis – St. Paul – Bloomington $54,840 $44K – $82K 580 0.03%
MO Kansas City $82,150 $46K – $94K N/A N/A
MO St. Louis $59,520 $33K – $107K 60 0.00%
NC Charlotte – Gastonia – Rock Hill $81,510 $52K – $104K N/A N/A
NC Raleigh – Cary $71,040 $44K – $95K 40 0.01%
NE Omaha – Council Bluffs $72,540 $47K – $95K 40 0.01%
NJ Camden (Metro Area) $48,340 $34K – $62K 40 0.01%
NJ Edison – New Brunswick (Metro Area) $56,980 $35K – $89K 130 0.01%
NJ Newark – Union (Metro Area) $53,260 $29K – $105K 60 0.01%
NJ Trenton – Ewing $82,820 $55K – $96K N/A N/A
NV Las Vegas – Paradise $79,840 $54K – $95K 80 0.01%
NY Albany – Schenectady – Troy $70,650 $52K – $110K 80 0.02%
NY Buffalo – Niagara Falls $53,850 $36K – $89K 40 0.01%
NY Nassau – Suffolk (Metro Area) $92,520 $58K – $116K 80 0.01%
NY New York – White Plains – Wayne (Metro Area) $71,230 $51K – $104K 360 0.01%
NY Rochester $73,010 $37K – $108K N/A N/A
NY Syracuse $63,530 $41K – $75K N/A N/A
OH Cincinnati – Middletown $48,980 $27K – $92K 110 0.01%
OH Cleveland – Elyria – Mentor $53,580 $41K – $79K N/A N/A
OH Columbus $58,770 $38K – $76K 60 0.01%
OK Oklahoma City $58,300 $50K – $94K N/A N/A
OR Bend $43,320 $39K – $75K N/A N/A
OR Eugene – Springfield $62,370 $39K – $73K N/A N/A
OR Portland – Vancouver – Hillsboro $58,540 $44K – $90K 330 0.03%
PA Lancaster $66,700 $47K – $94K 50 0.02%
PA Philadelphia (Metro Area) $59,120 $49K – $93K N/A N/A
PA Pittsburgh $48,720 $37K – $73K 100 0.01%
PR San Juan – Caguas – Guaynabo $64,270 $42K – $84K 40 0.01%
RI Providence – Fall River – Warwick $58,320 $42K – $94K N/A N/A
SC Charleston – North Charleston – Summerville $52,380 $36K – $91K 60 0.02%
SC Greenville – Mauldin – Easley $62,420 $49K – $86K N/A N/A
SD Sioux Falls $54,370 $41K – $87K N/A N/A
TN Nashville – Davidson – Murfreesboro – Franklin $82,550 $40K – $108K 40 0.01%
TX Austin – Round Rock – San Marcos $65,450 $49K – $93K N/A N/A
TX Dallas – Plano – Irving (Metro Area) $55,840 $34K – $92K 310 0.01%
TX Fort Worth – Arlington (Metro Area) $68,020 $38K – $90K 70 0.01%
TX Houston – Sugar Land – Baytown $44,090 $33K – $99K N/A N/A
TX San Antonio – New Braunfels $67,970 $55K – $76K N/A N/A
VA Charlottesville $48,080 $35K – $75K N/A N/A
VA Richmond $38,630 $33K – $53K N/A N/A
VA Virginia Beach – Norfolk – Newport News $60,310 $34K – $74K 110 0.01%
WA Seattle – Bellevue – Everett (Metro Area) $57,800 $42K – $88K 510 0.04%
WI Madison $80,870 $38K – $122K 120 0.04%
WI Milwaukee – Waukesha – West Allis $53,450 $40K – $85K 150 0.02%
WV Charleston $60,530 $43K – $95K 40 0.03%

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