Landscape architects design a wide spectrum of outdoor spaces such as parks, golf courses and drainage systems. They incorporate natural objects into planned spaces, creating environments that are harmonious with nature.
The landscape architecture major at the undergraduate level results in a professional design degree. Students in these programs are taught to analyze and design urban spaces, residential communities, parks, gardens and more. These programs regularly include internships or field experiences in which students gain hands-on training with experienced landscape architects. Though bachelor's degrees in other majors are often earned in four years, landscape architects generally need to study for four or five years.
Bachelor's Degree in Landscape Architecture
Undergraduate degrees for aspiring landscape architects are typically offered at 4-year colleges and universities. Applicants are required to possess high school diplomas or the equivalent. Many programs require submission of ACT or SAT scores. Some programs require submission of creative portfolios or essays, demonstrating the student's creative interests and technical skills.
Students who major in landscape architecture are required to learn not just design skills through studio work, but also topics relating to the natural environment, including geology and botany. Courses within this program may include the following:
- Principles of design
- Geology and landforms
- Introductory botany
- Landscape architecture studio design
- Residential and urban planning
- Garden design
Salary Information and Career Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 22,500 employed landscape architects in 2014 (www.bls.gov). That number was expected to grow 5% for the years 2014 through 2024, which is average growth. This growth was expected because of increases in both new construction and sustainable design. Also, opportunities for landscape architects will rise as communities look to find new ways to conserve water resources. The median annual salary for landscape architects as of May 2015 was $63,810.
Continuing Education Information
Landscape architects must be licensed in 47 states. Licensure requirements vary by state, but common requirements include earning at least an undergraduate degree, completing several years of work experience under the guidance of a licensed landscape architect and passing the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE). In some states, landscape architects must also take a state exam, which typically focus on issues pertinent to the state, including laws, soils and flora. Additionally, students may pursue a master's degree in landscape architecture.
Aspiring landscape architects need to earn at least a 4- to 5-year bachelor's degree in landscape architecture. Students will study landscape design, urban planning, and more to prepare for licensure requirements.