Landscape engineers require skills in design, landscape architecture and gardening. They require a bachelor's or master's degree in a related field. The outlook for these positions is about average.
Landscape engineers - also known as landscape architects - design outdoor spaces that are useful, attractive and eco-friendly. Most states require landscape engineers to be licensed in order to practice. Professional bachelor's and master's degree programs in landscape architecture prepare students for careers in this field.
|Required Education||Bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture|
|Other Requirements||State licensing|
|Projected Job Growth||4% from 2018-2028 for landscape architects*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$68,230 annually for landscape architects*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Description of a Landscape Engineer
More commonly known as landscape architects, landscape engineers combine aesthetics with functionality in designing a variety of spaces that include parks and gardens, campuses, residential neighborhoods, shopping centers, historical sites, golf courses and waterfront developments. Landscape engineers also develop plans to restore natural areas, such as forests and wetlands, which have been affected by humans. They incorporate knowledge of ecology, graphic design, plant materials, construction and computer technology into their work. Landscape engineers often work with surveyors, architects, urban planners, civil engineers, environmental scientists and hydrologists.
Landscape engineers must consider budget, client needs, functionality, government regulations and environmental impact when designing a site. They research both natural and man-made features that exist on proposed sites to determine how to improve them and work them into the plans. During the planning stage, landscape engineers may make several revisions to the design of the project.
When the site plan is completed, landscape engineers compile reports, cost estimates, photos, illustrations, land use studies and models to create a proposal to submit to the client. Upon approval of a project, landscape engineers list the needed materials and supplies, as well as construction details. They also ensure that their plans are followed during site construction.
Job Requirements for Landscape Engineers
According to the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB), landscape architects are required to be licensed in 49 states (www.clarb.org). Licensure is obtained by passing the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.). One of the exam prerequisites is a bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture that is accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB). Candidates may also qualify with a combination of education and supervised work experience if they have a non-accredited landscape architecture degree or a degree in a different field.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that most employers require a bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture (www.bls.gov). Professional degrees include Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA), Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) and Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA). Bachelor's programs usually take 4-5 years to complete. Undergraduate students take studio design courses in addition to studying landscape architecture theory and history, engineering, plant materials, ecology, construction, design principles and computer modeling. Most programs require internships, and students typically complete portfolios or senior projects.
MLA programs for students with bachelor's degrees in other fields typically take at least three years to complete, while students with landscape architecture or design degrees may complete an MLA program in 1-2 years. Students in 3-year programs take studio design classes and may complete coursework in design theory and application, site development and construction, landscape engineering, conservation ecology and geographic information systems (GIS). The curriculum for all MLA students may include landscape construction and management, sustainability, land use, urban vegetation and ecological design. Students may have internship requirements or electives. Most programs have a thesis requirement.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an annual mean salary of $73,160 for landscape architects. The BLS also projected a job growth for these professionals from 2018 through 2028, which was slower than average for all occupations.
Landscape engineers require a degree as well as licensing in most states. Licensing includes meeting the requirements and passing an exam. There are no reports for landscape engineers in BLS, however, the median annual salary for landscape architects is about $68,000.