Online Landscape Architecture Degrees

As more people move to urban areas, the need for green spaces becomes increasingly acute. A 2019 study published by the University of British Columbia found that green spaces like parks and gardens not only beautify urban areas and keep the air clean but also add to the well-being of the people that live nearby. Landscape architects and landscape designers design parks and other such recreational spaces for individuals, families, and corporate clients.

According to the College Board, a career in landscape architecture may suit creative, outdoorsy individuals with green thumbs. It states that an interest in nature and ecology is important along with a good eye for detail. An online architecture and landscaping degree programs can offer a unique opportunity for students to complete the bulk of their coursework from the comfort of their own homes and so allow them to adhere to work, family or other commitments. Additionally, as much of the work landscape architects complete is actually indoor design work, online landscape architecture degree programs can be a natural fit for online learning

Landscape architects and designers plan and design outdoor areas that are both functional and beautiful. They may include gardens, golf courses, green roofs or even the restoration of damaged natural spaces. While their tasks may vary depending on the project, their duties typically include:

  • Meeting with clients and other stakeholders to understand a project’s needs
  • Preparing site plans and virtual models using computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software
  • Selecting appropriate landscaping materials and preparing cost estimates
  • Analyzing environmental reports and ensuring the project adheres to various development codes
  • Keeping track of projects’ progress and ensure it sticks to plans and timelines
These younger generations are also entering the workforce, bringing with them a number of innovations such as smart irrigation systems and new methods for weed control.

A degree in architecture and landscape design can lead to a number of rugged, outdoor, and professional careers in the field. Although landscape architecture is a fairly specific field, there are plenty of careers that begin with a landscape design degree.

Here are some of the most popular careers for graduates, along with relevant wage and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Career
Employment
Median Salary
Projected Job Growth
Urban and Regional Planners38,560$77,75010.7%
Architects, Except Landscape and Naval105,850$89,5608.4%
Architecture Teachers, Postsecondary6,780$98,9807.7%
Landscape Architects20,280$73,9704.4%
Drafters, All Other14,600$54,8404.4%
Architectural and Civil Drafters98,800$58,0801.8%

Source: 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

What can I do with a degree in landscape architecture?

Since landscape architecture is a professional field, formal education is typically required. However, different careers in the realm of landscape design may require varying levels of education for entry-level work. Degrees in this field range from certificate programs to graduate degrees, and the right option is different for everyone. If you want to begin working as a grounds maintenance worker, for example, you may get by with some on-the-job experience or a career certificate. To start a career as a landscape architect, on the other hand, you’ll be better off pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree. At the end of the day, you decide how long you want to spend in school — and where you’ll ultimately end up.

What can I expect to learn in an online associate degree program?

Students earning a landscape architecture associate degree online often start by learning the fundamentals of landscape design before moving on to understand the different techniques used and learn about plants and their aesthetic and practical applications and more.

Typical duration: Two years of full-time study

General prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent

Typical coursework: Apart from general education classes, topics cover different horticultural management techniques and landscape planning methods. Some courses you may take include:

  • Plant growth and development
  • Landscape Construction Techniques
  • Understanding soil, pruning and basic irrigation
  • Gardening practices and techniques
  • Urban Plant Identification and Use

Possible electives: computer aided landscape design, propagation of horticultural plants

What kind of jobs can I get after earning an associate degree in landscape architecture?

Students who have earned their landscape architecture associate degree online may be qualified to work in a variety of settings in entry-level positions under the supervision of landscape architects, horticulturists, and urban planners. Potential occupations include:

  • Supervisor of Landscaping, Lawn Service, and Groundskeeping Workers
  • Tree Trimmer and Pruner
  • Forest and conservation worker
  • Groundskeeper
Speaking of technology, landscapers can boost their efficiency by taking advantage of new technologies such as aerial photography, smart controllers and apps to track workers or control systems remotely.

What can I expect to learn in an online bachelor’s degree program?

Online landscape architecture bachelor’s degree programs explore the various concepts behind landscape design in more depth than landscape architecture associate degree programs. Students can learn how to approach design from various angles including sustainability, beautification and more.

Typical duration: Four years of full-time study

General prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent

Typical coursework: Topics studied can help students understand how to use design solutions that take into account client needs as well as reflect the cultural heritage and natural beauty of a site. Some courses you may take include:

  • Digital imaging
  • Survey of landscape architecture
  • Plants in the landscape
  • Planting design
  • Postindustrial urban open spaces

You may have to complete an internship as a part of your online architecture and landscaping degree program.

Possible electives: Site design and mapping; dynamic aerial imagery: fundamentals of drone production

What kind of jobs can I get after earning a bachelor’s in landscape architecture?

According to the BLS, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum qualification needed to work as a landscape architect. Students may be able to obtain employment in city planning offices, design firms, architectural firms among others. Potential job titles include:

  • Landscape architect
  • Garden designer
  • Landscape designer
  • Landscape renderer
  • Planting designer
A common theme among customers, regardless of age, is the fact that a majority do not have the time to properly care for their landscapes. This results in them either requesting a more low-maintenance design or hiring professionals to do the work for them.

What can I expect to learn in an online master’s degree program?

Students enrolled in an online landscape architecture master’s degree program can learn to manage landscape design and architecture projects of different scales along with how to evaluate and analyze sites. They may learn how to incorporate the diverse needs of a community and their traditions into design schemes.

Typical duration: Two years of full-time study

General prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture. Some programs may also require a portfolio of previous work.

Typical coursework: Curriculum for these programs varies depending on the school and specialization chosen. However, most online architecture and landscape design programs offer similar core courses. Some examples include:

  • Landscape architectural methods and materials
  • Landscape architecture design theory
  • People and the environment
  • Professional practice for landscape architecture
  • The history of urban landscapes

Depending on your online architecture and landscaping degree program, you may have to complete a capstone project or a master’s thesis presenting original design concepts and their feasibility.

Possible electives: Spatial composition; graduate design technology; programming and space planning

What kind of jobs can I get after earning a master’s in landscape architecture?

A master’s degree in landscape architecture may allow you to work in supervisory roles within the landscape design and architecture industry. Some individuals may also move on to open their own design firms. Potential job titles include:

  • Landscape architect
  • Master planner
  • Urban designer
  • Urban or regional planner
  • Urban strategist
A particular type of landscape that is predicted to continue to be requested are pollinator gardens, as more homeowners become aware of the peril that a number of pollinators, including bees and butterflies, face.

Online graduate certificates in landscape architecture may suit individuals who want to advance their education but cannot complete a full-fledged master’s degree program due to financial or work constraints. Certificate programs are usually focused on a few aspects of the field allowing for programs to be typically completed in a far shorter time than a master’s degree.

Typical duration: One year of part-time study

General prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture or related field

Typical coursework: Curricula can vary depending on the focus of the program. Some courses you may take include:

  • Administrative aspects of landscape architecture
  • Advanced arboriculture
  • Advanced environmental soils
  • Advanced turfgrass science
  • Conservation and restoration

What can I expect to learn in an online doctoral degree program?

Online doctoral degree programs in landscape architecture offer opportunities for advanced studies in the field. Students can learn how to assess large landscapes and understand how to manage them to meet social and environmental needs.

Typical duration: Five to seven years of full-time study

General prerequisites: Master’s degree in landscape architecture or related field

Typical coursework: Students can learn how to conduct original research, apply appropriate methods of inquiry and develop creative approaches to landscape design. Coursework usually includes methods of research along with topics pertaining to the student’s area of interest within the field. Courses you may take include:

  • Design and Planning Theory
  • Research Foundations
  • Adv. Research Methods

Possible electives: Contemporary landscape theory; advanced landscape ecology; land use planning and growth management

Dissertation: A major part of the doctoral degree program is spent researching and constructing a doctoral thesis. Once completed, the thesis has to be defended before a panel of experts in order to complete the program.

What kind of jobs can I get after earning a doctorate in landscape architecture?

Graduates of online doctoral degree programs may go on to teach in colleges and universities, work in leadership position in design firms or work in policy making roles for governmental, environmental and planning agencies, developers, professional design firms, and international corporations.

Accreditation

Attending an accredited school or program can demonstrate that the education you have received meets or exceeds the professional standards of excellence necessary to work in the field today. It can also be a prerequisite for receiving federal financial aid and other scholarships as well as for the ease of transferring credits. Accreditation may be regional, national or programmatic.

Landscape architecture degree programs are accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels.

Specializations in Landscape Architecture

Most of the time, landscape architecture is a standalone college major. However, some students may choose to pursue a specialization that aligns with their personal interests or career goals. While choosing a specialization isn’t always necessary, exploring any one of these fields is a great way to get your foot in the door in especially competitive career fields such as urban planning and eco-friendly planning. Specializations offered can include:

  • Arid Lands
  • Historical and Cultural Landscapes
  • Eco-tourism
  • Sustainable Development
  • Urban Design and Revitalization
  • International Studies

Licensures and Certifications in Landscape Architecture

The BLS reports that landscape architects in all states need to be licensed. Individuals need to pass the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE), which is sponsored by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards in order to receive their licenses. While a degree in landscape architecture and work experience is often a prerequisite for appearing for the examinations, many states offer alternative paths, substituting educational requirements with work experience under a licensed landscape architect. States may also require landscape architects to take state-specific examinations. Other workers in the field, too, may require specific licenses. For example, agricultural workers and forest workers may need licenses to operate equipment or apply pesticides.

While professional certifications may be voluntary, a certification from the the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards may make it easier to obtain licensure in another state. Certifications may also be obtained in specific areas of the field. For example, the National Association of Landscape Professionals offers seven certifications for landscaping and groundkeepers with different levels of experience in the field.

As with many fields, there are plenty of scholarships available for eligible students of online landscape architecture degree programs. Scholarships and financial aid programs may be offered by colleges, educational foundations, and professional bodies among others. It can be a good idea to ask your school if you are eligible for any financial aid they offer. Here are some scholarships to help you get started in your search:

Other resources for aspiring landscape architects

Employment Statistics

Landscape Architects

Industries with the highest concentration of employment
  • Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services
  • Lawn and Garden Equipment and Supplies Stores
  • Services to Buildings and Dwellings
  • Other Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction
States with the highest level of employment
  • California
  • Florida
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Virginia
Top-paying metropolitan areas
  • San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA
  • San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
  • Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

Forest and Conservation Workers

Industries with the highest concentration of employment
  • Social Advocacy Organizations
  • State Government, excluding schools and hospitals (OES Designation)
  • Sawmills and Wood Preservation
  • Museums, Historical Sites, and Similar Institutions
  • Local Government, excluding schools and hospitals (OES Designation)
States with the highest level of employment
  • California
  • South Dakota
  • Washington
  • Tennessee
  • Missouri
Top-paying metropolitan areas
  • Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH
  • Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
  • Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
  • Eugene, OR

Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Sources:

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  • Forest and Conservation Workers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/farming-fishing-and-forestry/forest-and-conservation-workers.htm, accessed August 2019
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  • Landscape Architecture BFA, Academy of Art University, https://www.academyart.edu/degree/landscape-architecture/?degree=bfa, accessed August 2019
  • Landscape Architecture, Bircham University, https://www.bircham.edu/landscape-architecture/, accessed August 2019
  • Landscape Architecture, MA, Academy of Art University, https://www.academyart.edu/degree/landscape-architecture/?degree=ma, accessed August 2019
  • Landscape Architecture, MFA, Academy of Art University, https://www.academyart.edu/degree/landscape-architecture/?degree=mfa, accessed August 2019
  • Lorien Nesbitt, Michael J. Meitner, Cynthia Girling, Stephen R.J. Sheppard, Yuhao Lu, Who has access to urban vegetation? A spatial analysis of distributional green equity in 10 US cities, Landscape and Urban Planning, 2019; 181: 51 DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2018.08.007
  • Major: Landscape Architecture, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/architecture-planning-landscape-architecture, accessed August 2019
  • Major: Landscaping, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/agriculture-related-sciences-applied-horticulture-horticultural-business-landscaping, accessed August 2019
  • Ph.D. Program, College of Architecture, Planning and Design, Kansas State University, https://apdesign.k-state.edu/academics/phd/, accessed August 2019
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