Landscape architects are licensed professionals who design, plan, implement and maintain outdoor spaces for public and private uses, utilizing cultural, psychological and environmental influences to create an aesthetic. Becoming a landscape architect requires formal education, in addition to work experience and successful completion of required examinations. In the United States, the requirements for acquiring licensure are governed by individual states and administered by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Board (CLARB); so, a thorough investigation of your state's policies is recommended when planning your career path.

Landscape Architecture Degree Programs

Finding a landscape architecture program accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB) is simple. A detailed list of accredited and candidate schools is available through the American Society of Landscape Architecture (ASLA) on their website. In order to sit for the Landscape Architecture Registration Examination (LARE), aspiring landscape architects must complete a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA), Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA), and/or a Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) degree. Bachelors degree programs are typically four to five years in duration. Masters programs typically take two years to complete for students holding a BLA or BSLA, or three years for those with an undergraduate degree outside of the concentration.

Coursework for Landscape Architects

Coursework in landscape architecture has many facets, from business and management to horticulture, design and construction. Due to the ever-present influence of nature on the landscape, scientific coursework varies based on regional plant hardiness, ecology, and geology, to name a few. Moreover, a thorough understanding of horticulture and plant materials is required, with focus on seasonal annual plantings, perennials, and evergreens. Design principles also weigh heavily on a student's education, requiring study in cultural influences, aesthetic principles and theories, and the history of landscape architecture.

The combination of science and design orientation is put to work in concert with coursework in planning and construction. Students learn surveying, site preparation, planning and drawing, and become proficient in the use of AutoCAD programs to generate designs and implement specifications. Finally, business and management courses help round out the portfolio of a landscape architect, enabling them to successfully create outdoor spaces for their clients, within budget, while managing their staff.