Love for nature alone is not credit enough to get into this profession. For careers in this field, the individual needs to incorporate knowledge of design, construction, ecology, horticulture, and soil science into construction plans that are functional, yet, highly aesthetic. This kind of knowledge is acquired through education and experience.
Education and Training
- Formal education is a must. A bachelor's or a master's degree in landscape architecture, from colleges or universities accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board is essential.
- According to ASLA, a bachelor's or a master's degree is required to receive their certification.
- There are two undergraduate professional degrees available: Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) and Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA).
- The program is extensive, and for the duration of four to five years.
- There are two types of graduate degree programs available for receiving the Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA). Undergraduates can earn their MLA in two years, whereas those who are from different undergraduate streams, complete their MLA in three years.
- The programs include many subjects such as history of landscape architecture, landscape design and construction, surveying, landscape ecology, plant and soil science, site design, urban and regional planning, geology, etc.
- Soft skills of professional practice and general management are also taught.
- Students of these programs receive hands-on valuable experience as a part of their curriculum. The design studios assign real time projects to students who work on actual sites, and implement all they have learned, to design, plan, and create viable and functional landscaping projects under the guidance of established and experienced architects.
An architect studying landscaping requires strong visual, artistic, and analytical skills to make good explanatory presentations of his ideas. He must be well-versed with drafting and designing using CAD software. Besides CAD, he should be familiar with word processing, desktop publishing, spreadsheets, etc. A basic understanding of the other team members' work can prove to be very useful during designing and planning.
Qualified and licensed architects can diversify into many different jobs, such as construction supervisors, land or environmental planners, or landscape consultants, and are absorbed in many architectural, engineering, construction, and planning-related services. They earn anywhere between $50,000 and $70,000 annually, which keeps increasing as the experience and the number of better projects done. According to government agencies, the number of jobs in this field is expected to grow faster than all other careers by 2016.