Landscape Design Training Program Overview

A bachelor's degree program in landscape architecture prepares landscape designers, also known as landscape architects, for entry into the field; a master's degree equips graduates for advanced positions. Learn about the program prerequisites, coursework and licensure information.

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Essential Information

Applicants for the master's degree program should hold a bachelor's degree in a similar field and have completed coursework in areas such as basic landscape design, CAD, and construction. Students must also complete an internship or field-requirement experience with a professional landscaping company or firm to graduate with a master's degree.

Most states require licensure of landscape designers and architects, which can be accomplished by completing a training program, internship and passing an architectural examination.

Bachelor's Degree in Landscape Architecture

Undergraduate landscape design students develop core skills and knowledge in landscape architecture in order to address the future challenges of designing aesthetically pleasing and environmentally responsible landscapes in a variety of settings. Areas of focus include research techniques, design methodologies and sustainable practices. The curriculum is composed of classes that emphasize the roles and responsibilities of landscape designers in settings ranging from commercial and residential areas to public parks and recreational locations. Possible subjects covered include:

  • Computer-aided drafting (CAD)
  • Site planning
  • Landscape construction
  • Planting design
  • Plant materials

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Master of Science in Landscape Architecture

Master's degree candidates explore advanced theoretical and practical concepts in landscape design and architecture for commercial and residential settings. Students gain hands-on experience in planning cost-effective and aesthetically appealing landscape designs for a wide range of clients.

Graduate degree programs contain classes that provide advanced knowledge of core landscape design principles, and design studio courses apply those principles in a variety of settings. The following are some possible subjects covered in the program.

  • Graphics and landform modeling
  • Construction and site details
  • Site analysis
  • Professional practice in landscape architecture

Popular Career Options

Graduates are equipped to seek mid- to senior-level positions in a variety of architectural and engineering industries. Some career options include:

  • Environmental planner
  • Senior project manager
  • Building and grounds supervisor

Licensure and Continuing Education Information

As of 2015, landscape architects were required to be licensed in all 50 states, according to the BLS. They must pass the two-part Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.), which is administered by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB). Applicants must hold a degree from an accredited college or university, as well as have 1-4 years of qualified work experience.

Many states require landscape architects to maintain their licenses by completing a set amount of hours of continuing education through professional activities or classroom or self-study classes in topics including construction law, barrier removal and seismic design methods.

Employment and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment of landscape architects is expected to grow by 5% from 2014-2024. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for landscape architects was $63,810 in May 2015.

Landscape architecture programs at the bachelor's degree level provide fundamental knowledge of site design, plants and construction, whereas master's degree students apply their knowledge to various practical opportunities. Both programs ready graduates for various landscape design positions, but to be called a landscape architect, licensure and an examination are required.

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