Landscape architects and landscape designers design indoor and outdoor spaces for individuals, families, and corporate clients. Drawing on their knowledge and expertise of horticulture and adaptive design, they draft and plan landscape creations that transform residential, commercial, and public property into spaces that are both usable and beautiful.
Education is the key to a rewarding career in landscape design or architecture, and online degree programs can offer computer skills and experience for these aspiring professionals. Online degrees in architecture and landscape design offer a unique opportunity for students to complete the bulk of their programs from the comfort of their own homes. During these programs, students study the art of horticulture, budgeting and timelines, small business practice and project management.
Although nearly anyone can pursue an landscape degree, programs are mostly geared to individuals with a green thumb and a keen eye for detail. Because work in this profession is completed both indoors and outdoors, participants should want a career that includes plenty of sunshine mixed with indoor drafting and planning.
Choosing the Right Landscape Architecture Degree
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. This chart includes each degree type available and some of the potential careers each could lead to:
Length of Completion
Certificate programs typically take 1-2 years to complete. These programs are mostly geared toward professionals already working in a related industry.
These programs typically take four years of full-time study to complete.
Landscape Architect, Agricultural Worker, Ground Maintenance Worker, Architect
These programs take up to two years of full-time study after completion of a bachelor's degree.
Landscape Architect, Urban or Regional Planner, Architect
As you can see, a degree in architecture and landscape design can lead to a number of rugged, outdoor, and professional careers in the field. Which degree type is best for you depends on your career goals and how long you want to spend completing your program.
Projected Job Growth
(2016 - 26)
|Urban and Regional Planners||35,310||$74,350||12.8%|
|Architecture Teachers, Postsecondary||7,280||$91,000||10.6%|
|Architectural and Civil Drafters||95,960||$55,110||8.1%|
|Drafters, All Other||15,300||$53,990||7.9%|
|Architects, Except Landscape and Naval||103,110||$87,500||4%|
What to Expect in a Landscape Architecture Program
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. Specializations offered can include:
- Arid Lands
- Historical and Cultural Landscapes
- Sustainable Development
- Urban Design and Revitalization
- International Studies
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.
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:
- Principles and Elements of Design
- Digital Landscape Graphics
- Seasonal Plants and Applications
- Construction Technology
- Landscape and Horticulture Photography
- Environmental Analysis of Landscape Design
- Green Roof Systems
- Landscape Design AutoCAD
Some landscape design programs may require students to complete an internship during their studies. These internships, which generally take place in the local community, help students take what they've learned and apply it to real life. As the BLS notes, internships offer an exceptional opportunity for students to learn how to win clients, maintain business budgets, and price their services in the real world.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, landscape architects must be licensed to work in all states except for Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, and the District of Columbia. In states that require licensure, students must score a passing grade on the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.), which is sponsored by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards. Students who want to take the exam may need 1 to 4 years of applicable work experience first, although requirements vary by state. Most landscape degree programs, both online and on-campus, can help prepare students to take this licensing exam.
As mentioned before, a number of different jobs fall into the category of architecture and landscape design, each with their own training requirements. 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.
Studying Landscape Design Online
Computer-aided design is an important part of architecture and landscaping design careers. Online education can help students take advantage of software like Autodesk AutoCAD while sharing designs with peers and professors across the country. When students participate in CAD programs online, they enjoy hands-on training with the convenience of online learning.
Because much of the work landscape architects complete is actually indoor design work, these programs are a natural fit for online learning. Thanks to online message boards, chat rooms and networking events, students who earn online design degrees in this discipline can also collaborate and draw inspiration from their peers and communicate with college professors.
Career Outlook for Landscape Designers and Architects
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 Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Projected Job Growth 2014-2024
Mean Annual Wage in 2014
Urban and Regional Planners
Ground Maintenance Workers
No matter how you put your landscape design or architecture degree to use, there are plenty of career options to choose from. Just remember, the degree program that's right for you will depend heavily on your career aspirations and how long you want to spend in school. While an advanced degree can open the door to a wider range of opportunities, a related certificate is an excellent option if you already have a bachelor's degree in a related field.
When it comes to landscape design degrees, your options are limitless. To learn more, check out any of the schools or programs featured on this page.
Agricultural Workers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/farming-fishing-and-forestry/agricultural-workers.htm
Architects, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/architects.htm
Ground Maintenance Workers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/building-and-grounds-cleaning/grounds-maintenance-workers.htm
Landscape Architects, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/landscape-architects.htm
May 2014 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
Urban and Regional Planners, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/urban-and-regional-planners.htm