Landscaping Art Education and Training Program Information

Landscape architecture programs are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. These programs equip students with the technical knowledge and practical experience they need to gain employment or obtain licensure in the field.

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Essential Information

Landscaping art, also called landscape design, encompasses gardening and cultivation, technology, and design to create different landscapes ranging from golf courses to irrigated indoor gardens. Landscape architecture students examine courses in horticulture, ecology and botany. They learn to create designs that protect natural environments, enhance beauty, and provide people with a sense of well-being.


Associate Degree in Landscape Architecture

Students in two-year associate's degree programs prepare for entry-level positions in landscape art by learning the foundations of the field, from different types of soils to computer-aided design (CAD) programs. Their typical project goals include revitalization of public areas, restoration of local ecology and the creation of ornamental gardens. Students also learn how to grade sites, plan layouts with complementary color schemes and manage designed landscapes. Common topics of study include:

  • Architectural design
  • Landscape construction methods
  • Graphic design
  • Horticulture
  • Site engineering

Bachelor's Degree in Landscape Architecture

Students in bachelor's degree tracks learn landscape construction principles as well as which types of plants to use in certain soil and hardiness zones. Drafting, sustainable design, land grading and design principles are all covered in bachelor's degree programs. Bachelor's level programs take four years to complete. The common prerequisite for these programs is a high school diploma or equivalent. Budding landscape architects learn how to make plans for gardens in healthcare facilities to designs that encourage sales and maintain privacy between apartments for condo complexes. Core coursework includes the following:

  • Botany
  • Landscape construction planning
  • Ecology
  • Geographic information systems
  • Psychology of design
  • Visual communication

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  • Architectural History
  • Architectural Technology
  • Environmental Design
  • Interior Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Urban and Regional Planning

Master's Degree in Landscape Design

Students in graduate-level landscaping art programs study the restoration of natural resources and hone their skills with CAD programs, as well as study construction technology. A graduate program enables students to build a portfolio of their work by attending required studio classes. Master's degree programs in landscape architecture take 2-3 years to complete. Applicants are expected to have earned a bachelor's degree, but not necessarily in a related field. Graduate programs in landscaping art also teach students research methods and bioregional design, so that students understand how to create sustainable gardens that promote healing and peace of mind. Topics of study include:

  • Advanced CAD programs
  • Environmental laws
  • History of landscape design
  • Landscapes for healthcare facilities
  • Urban ecology

Popular Careers

Graduates from associate degree programs find work in entry-level jobs, working with parks and recreation departments, or under architects, city planners, environmental engineers and surveyors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2015, there were 895,600 landscaping and groundskeeping workers employed in the United States (www.bls.gov). Job forecasts showed that roughly 71,700 landscaping and groundskeeping jobs are expected to be added between 2014-2024, giving this occupation a projected job growth rate of 6%, which is as fast as average. Entry-level workers were employed in the following jobs:

  • Grounds maintenance worker
  • Landscaper
  • Pesticide specialist
  • Tree trimmer

Like bachelor's degree programs, master's-level programs prepare students for licensure. Licensed graduates may work with landscaping firms, public agencies and interdisciplinary planning offices. According to the BLS in May 2015, there were 19,820 landscape architects employed across various fields (www.bls.gov). Graduates from master's degree landscape architecture programs might find work as:

  • 3-D modeling specialists
  • Community planners
  • Landscape conservationists or designers
  • Landscape architecture professors
  • Parks and recreation managers
  • Site engineers

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the BLS, the field of landscape architecture is expected to grow 5% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov), which is as fast as the average. Median annual wages for landscape architects were $63,810 as of May 2015.

Licensure and Certification Information

In nearly every state in the U.S., landscape architects must be licensed before they can begin working. A bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement for licensure; the degree must be awarded from a school accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architects, which maintains the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board. Some work experience is typically required, as well. Once candidates meet the education and experience requirements, they may sit for the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE). Most states mandate a passing score on the LARE before granting landscape architect licensure.

National certification from the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards is an additional option. This certification has the same education and exam standards as for state licensure, but it has a set requirement of a supervised 3-year internship. The benefit to national certification is that it allows landscape architects to transfer their license from one state to another, should they decide to move.

Whether you are a beginner landscaper or an experienced professional, a degree in landscape architecture can improve your landscaping art skills. Depending on your background, you can choose an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree in the field.

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