Landscape architecture is a career that mandates licensure, and earning a license requires practical training through a formal education program. So, fully online degree programs aren't available; however, some campus-based bachelor's and master's degree programs in this field do offer a few courses in an online or hybrid format. Working professionals who are completing a continuing education graduate certificate program in landscape architecture may have more freedom to complete coursework via distance learning. If fully online learning is a necessity, students may opt to choose a diploma program such as landscaping technology. This program can be completed at a distance in approximately four months.
Requirements for online courses in landscape architecture may include Adobe Acrobat, RealOne Player, AutoCAD and other course-specific software.
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Landscape Architecture Degree Programs
Students in landscape architecture degree programs practice the use of both science and art to design and create anything from residential backyards to cities, regions, recreation areas and parks. Landscape architecture programs cover a broad spectrum of topics and skills, such as ecology, design theory, drawing, horticulture, forest law, maps, urban planning, AutoCAD and wildlife science.
Some bachelor's and master's degree programs in landscape architecture offer one or two classes online. More commonly, online courses in landscape architecture are found in graduate certificate programs, although, these too generally have on-campus requirements. Students can earn a Horticultural Landscape Management Certificate fully online, which includes topics in landscape architecture. There are also a few online courses available in the closely related field of sustainable design. In addition, related individual classes might be taken independently, such as horticulture or wildlife science.
Landscape architects must have a bachelor's or master's degree to become licensed professionals, so online students wanting to work in this field must eventually enroll in an on-campus program to meet licensure requirements. For those interested in teaching landscape architecture, doctoral degrees, although uncommon, are available through on-campus programs.
Program Information and Requirements
Depending on the school, online landscape architecture and sustainable design courses may be self-paced or follow a quarter or semester schedule and are usually the equivalent of one term. Some classes are entirely online. Others are hybrid courses that combine online and on-campus components, with the latter done in blocks of time for student convenience and planning.
Online landscape architecture and sustainable design courses require access to the Internet and a browser such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. Adobe Acrobat or another free plug-in, like RealOne Player, may be needed. When enrolling in an online program, students should check to see if any special software, such as AutoCAD, is required for a given class and whether that software is available at a discount through the school.
Online Landscape Architecture
Online landscape architecture courses feature topics that can be studied through reading, writing and the use of computer programs, such as AutoCAD. Some courses include online discussion with teachers and other students.
Introduction to Landscape Design
This online course presents the basic concepts of landscape design. Students learn to use the environment as their guide for land use design and planning.
Parks, Open Spaces and Gardens
Using a historical progression, this online course leads students through the development of landscape architecture. Included is an exploration of the relationship between urban design and the landscape, from ancient Egypt to modern-day environmental issues.
Landscape Architecture AutoCAD
Students in this online course learn to use AutoCAD software to draw 2-dimensional landscape designs of large and small sites, with details of construction and measurement. Readability and accuracy are emphasized.
Principles of Sustainable Design
An online presentation of the growing sustainability movement, this course includes information on ecological design, industry codes and regulations, permaculture, biomimicry and legislation. Also covered are the materials and techniques used in sustainable design.
Site Water Issues in Landscape Design
This online course examines the environmental factors involved in landscape architecture, such as site microclimates and ecosystems, regional climates and the hydrologic (water) processes present. Students are taught to use sustainable materials and practices to decrease structural operating costs and energy use.
Landscape architects work in a variety of venues, with most employed in private industry. A relatively small number of landscape architects work for government agencies, and many are self-employed. Some landscape architects specialize in a particular area, such as wetlands restoration and preservation, while others generalize and work on many different types of projects. Landscape architects work both indoors and out, depending on the project phase, and collaborate with other professionals, including hydrologists, engineers and architects.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 19,820 landscape architects employed in May 2015, earning a median annual wage of $63,810. Also per the BLS, job growth in this field was expected to grow 5%, about the average for all occupations, between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov).
There are a few online options for continuing education in landscape architecture. Certificate courses geared toward professionals exist, although rare, and may be taught fully online or in hybrid form. They feature themes such as 'green' urban infrastructure, the design of therapeutic gardens and sustainable landscape design.
While fully online programs in landscape architecture do not exist, hybrid formats with some online courses are available. Students will make use of art and science principles to create anything from a residential backyard to a city park.