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Landscape architect

Landscape architects plan and design outdoor spaces such as parks, campuses, and residential and commercial sites. They play a large role in creating sustainable spaces through designs that improve energy efficiency, conserve water, use sustainable materials, increase biodiversity, and support resiliency efforts.

Source O*Net
Quick facts: Landscape architect
2020 Median Pay $70,630 per year; $33.96 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Number of Jobs, 2019 24,500
Job Outlook, 2019-29 - 1% (decline)
Employment Change, 2019-29 1,500

Landscape architects spend much of their time in offices, where they create plans and designs, prepare concepts and preliminary cost estimates, and meet with clients and workers involved in designing or planning a project. They spend the rest of their time at jobsites.

On a green building project this role’s work would relate to site selection, site design; stormwater management and harvesting strategies; plantings for habitat restoration, green infrastructure and green roofs; materials selection (furnishings, pavements, lighting, etc.); water efficiency for landscaping; and evaluating the project's impact on the local ecosystem.

Role on a LEED project

LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building types, LEED provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership.

How to become a landscape architect

A bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture is usually necessary for entry into the profession. There are two undergraduate landscape architect degrees: a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) and a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA). These programs usually require 4 to 5 years of study. Accredited programs are approved by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB). Prospective landscape architects whose undergraduate degree is in another field may enroll in a Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) graduate degree program, which typically takes 3 years of full-time study. Accredited programs are approved by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB).

Courses typically include landscape design and construction, landscape ecology, site engineering, history of architecture, computer-aided design, graphic communications and site design. Other relevant coursework may include history of landscape architecture, plant and soil science, urban and regional planning, and professional practice and general management. The design studio is a key component of any curriculum. While working on real-world projects, students become proficient in the use of computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), model building, and other design software. Important skills include creativity, visualization, analytical, technical, communications (written and oral) and problem-solving.

All states require landscape architects to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state but usually include at least a bachelor’s degree or master's degree in landscape architecture from an accredited school, internship experience, and passing the Landscape Architect Registration Examination.

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