Landscape Design Certificate and Certification Program Overviews

A landscape designer plans public spaces, such as parks, gardens, golf courses and residential communities. Landscape design certificate programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels and prepare students for careers in this field or the closely related area of landscape architecture.

Essential Information

At the undergraduate level, students will take coursework in horticulture fundamentals, plant design and construction and plant materials. Students most commonly earn a Certificate of Achievement. Courses offered in graduate certificate programs address more advanced topics in many of the same areas studied in the undergraduate program and could also include classes in drafting and site engineering. A graduate certificate could be earned in as little as one year, but it can sometimes take up to five years to complete all studies. Both levels offer studio exercises and field experiences.

Significant work experience is required for certification in landscape design. The most common certification is that offered by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.

Prerequisites for undergraduate programs include a GED or its equivalent. Graduate certificate programs require a bachelor's degree and GRE scores.

Certificate of Achievement in Landscape Design

Landscape design certificate programs at the undergraduate level provide foundational training for individuals with little to no professional experience in the field. Students are prepared for entry-level positions in landscape design through classroom study, studio design and field experiences at construction sites and public spaces. Career-oriented classes train students to work for landscape contractors, as well as for plant nurseries and landscape design firms.

Undergraduate landscape design certificate programs train students in the basic elements of the field, including the use of plants, landscape design drafting and construction methods. Commons courses include the following:

  • Introduction to landscape design
  • Site analysis
  • Current trends in landscape design

Graduate Certificate in Landscape Design

Graduate-level landscape design certificate programs are intended for both individuals in the landscape field looking to further develop their skills and amateurs with an interest in design, horticulture or related fields. Students learn design practices such as site analysis, landscape design planning and construction regulations. Classes often take place in design studios and many programs train students in the field at construction sites, public gardens or parks. Landscape design graduate certificates are often available as part-time programs and may require one to five years of study.

Many landscape design graduate certificate programs culminate in a capstone project involving the design of a chosen site. To prepare for this project, students take a broad array of landscape design courses, including the following:

  • Introduction to landscape design
  • Drafting for landscape design
  • History of landscape design

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't provide job data for landscape designers. However, the BLS does have data available for related positions in landscape architecture. As of May 2015, landscape architects made a median annual salary of $63,810, per the BLS.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

According to the BLS, landscape architects are require to have proper licensure in all but four states. A degree is also typically required.

The Association of Professional Landscape Designers administers a professional certification for landscape designers. Applicants must have at least two years of experience in landscape design. This can include completion a formal training program. Certification involves evaluation of submitted projects. It is necessary to recertify every three years. To recertify, applicants must complete 30 CEUs (continuing education units) to qualify.

Landscape design certification is possible at both the undergraduate and graduate level. After fundamental courses are completed, students will have the opportunity to go further into detail via their graduate studies which includes construction regulations and landscape design.

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