Landscape architects plan and design land areas for parks, highways, college campuses, airports, and other private, commercial, and government properties. The job of a landscape architect is focused on making an outdoor construction functional, attractive, and harmonious with its surroundings. They also help restore and preserve historic landscapes. Some of the general job responsibilities of landscape architects, according to the BLS, include:
- Preparing plans, designs, and cost estimates for projects
- Preparing visual presentations for project plans and designs
- Reviewing environmental data regarding the condition of land
The BLS predicts 5% total job growth for landscape architects from 2014 to 2024. Employment growth will be fueled by new construction and development and public demand for attractive yet functional outdoor environments. A growing global concern for environmentally friendly building practices and sustainable construction will also increase career opportunities for landscape architects.
Becoming a Landscape Architect
Every state requires landscape architects to be licensed. Licensure typically requires the candidate hold a bachelor’s or master’s in landscape architecture from an accredited school. The Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB), part of the American Society of Landscape Architects, has accredited landscape architecture degree programs offered by over 60 U.S. universities. Candidates for licensure must also have one to four years of work experience and pass the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE).
Highly ranked schools offering bachelor’s and master’s degree in landscape architecture include Ohio State University, Texas A&M University, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and the University of Michigan. At present, very few online degree programs in landscape architecture exist. The for-profit Academy of Art University (AAU) offers an online associate, bachelor’s, and master’s in landscape architecture. However, these degree programs are not accredited by the LAAB.
Landscape architecture degree programs will include courses in design and graphic arts, computer and technical applications and science and mathematics. A sampling of classes you may take in a landscape architecture degree program include:
- Landscape Design
- Landscape Theory
- Landscape Construction
- Geographic Information System Application in Resource Management
Landscape architects who meet national requirements can obtain certification from the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards. This certification can help professionals get one state to accept a landscape architecture license from another state. Landscape architects employed by the federal government do not need to be licensed.