NatureWORKS Jobs: Landscape Architect
Picture courtesy of Wikicommons.
Landscape architects can work as either a prime consultant on a project such as a large-scale park or a subcontractor on projects that feature a building as the primary focus, such as a school and its surrounding grounds, for which the main contractor would be an engineer or other type of architect. “One of the real beauties of our profession is that we get to work with a lot of other people with expertise in other areas, so it’s extremely interesting,” said Fox.“You’re constantly learning from others."
Fox described the general duties of a landscape architect, which include working with the community in which the project will be located; collaborating with other professionals such as soil scientists, biologists, engineers, and architects; designing and rendering models of the proposed project; budgeting; working with the contractors and clients to ensure the final project comes out as envisioned; and post-completion evaluation to make sure that everything works out as planned. According to Fox, projects can take anywhere from 2 or 3 years to 10 years to complete, depending on the scope and difficulty level. “Things are very variable, which is to me what makes it exciting. Every project is different, and it requires a different set of ideas to be able to solve for issues on that site,” he said.
How do I become a Landscape Architect?
Becoming a landscape architect requires either an undergraduate or graduate degree in landscape architecture as well as a state license. Students with any type of undergraduate degree are able to go to graduate school for landscape architecture; they don’t necessarily need a background in the subject.
After receiving a Landscape Architecture degree, the graduate must obtain a license from the state government in order to practice as a landscape architect. The specific requirements for this license vary between states. In North Carolina, where Fox practices, landscape architects must have a degree from an accredited program, four completed years of apprenticeship under a registered landscape architect, and a passing grade on the state examination. Other states require anywhere from two to five years of professional experience. The license must be renewed each year, which requires a fee to be paid to the state. Fox also noted that many students go through the landscape architecture program at North Carolina State but don’t end up obtaining the certification; they go into other related areas of work such as regulation, finance, policy, and more.
Fox recommended that those interested in becoming a landscape architect should research the local accredited degree programs, speak to practicing landscape architects, and read landscape architecture blogs on the Internet to gain exposure to the field.
Employment Information for Landscape Architects
Job Growth: The profession is expected to grow at an average rate until 2022.
Earnings: The average salary for landscape architects is $64,570 per year.
Education: Eighty-two percent of landscape architects have a bachelor’s degree, and seven percent have a professional degree.
● Land8: site for landscape architects that features a blog, professional profiles, and information on landscape architecture projects.