Education and Training Required to Become a Landscape Architect

Posted in Career Blog

In order to complete a landscape architect education, individuals must remain flexible and in good physical condition, since a great deal of time will be spent outdoors performing manual labor.

Getting Started while in High School
While in high school, those who wish to become landscape architects can take classes dealing with landscaping or horticulture. It can also be a good idea to take several math courses including advanced placement calculus, physics, geometry and algebra. Mechanical drawing or drafting classes can help prepare one for creating and reading blueprints. Students who maintain a 3.5 or better grade point average stand a better chance of being successful at performing college level work.

Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture
It normally takes around four years to complete a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture. Bachelor’s degree programs should ideally be accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. Some classes that are typically required include landscape design, graphic design, ecology and plant selection. It can cost between $9,700 and $23,000 for tuition each year. Books, materials, and fees can run an additional $300 to $1,300. Students may also need to purchase their own protective clothing and equipment to wear while working in the field. They could also be required to bear the cost of transportation to and from a job site when performing internships.

Advanced Landscape Architecture Education: Master’s Degree
While earning a Master’s degree in landscape architecture, students can specialize in certain areas such as residential landscaping, urban design, or park planning. A few of the courses needed for graduation include landscape preservation, site construction and engineering, housing landscape design and plant materials. This degree could take between 18 months and three years to complete after earning a Bachelor’s degree. It can cost between $9,000 and $27,200 for tuition, with books and fees running an additional $1,400 annually. Some schools also add a two to three percent surcharge for the use of a credit card.

Practical Work Experience
A certain amount of work experience is needed before becoming licensed. The exact amount varies by state, and is sometimes contingent upon the amount of education an individual has obtained. For example, someone with a Bachelor’s degree may need more work experience than another person who holds a Master’s degree. In most cases, the required work experience is between two and four years. Hands-on landscape architect training should be performed under the direct supervision of a licensed professional in order to qualify.

Licensing Requirements
After meeting the education and training requirements, individuals will then be eligible for state licensing. This requires an examination, which may be given by that state’s board of architecture. Some states require a criminal background check before applicants are eligible to sit for the exam. The average cost of obtaining a landscape architect’s license is around $300 nationwide.
Changes in technology sometimes make it necessary for landscape architects to undergo continuing education. Training seminars are held on a regular basis to help these professionals maintain their proficiency in this career field.

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