Bureau of Labor Statistics

Landscape Architects

landscape architects image
Landscape architects plan and design land areas for parks, recreational facilities, and other open spaces.
Quick Facts: Landscape Architects
2019 Median Pay $69,360 per year
$33.35 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Internship/residency
Number of Jobs, 2019 24,500
Job Outlook, 2019-29 -2% (Decline)
Employment Change, 2019-29 -600

Summary

What Landscape Architects Do

Landscape architects design parks and other outdoor spaces.

Work Environment

Landscape architects spend much of their time in offices, where they create designs, prepare models, and meet with clients. They spend the rest of their time at jobsites.

How to Become a Landscape Architect

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

Pay

The median annual wage for landscape architects was $69,360 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of landscape architects is projected to decline 2 percent from 2019 to 2029. Improving technologies are expected to increase landscape architects’ productivity, which should reduce overall demand for the occupation over the next 10 years.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for landscape architects.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of landscape architects with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about landscape architects by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Landscape Architects Do

Landscape architects
Landscape architects create graphic representations of plans.

Landscape architects design parks and the outdoor spaces of campuses, recreational facilities, businesses, private homes, and other open spaces.

Duties

Landscape architects typically do the following:

  • Meet with clients, engineers, and building architects to understand the requirements of a project
  • Prepare site plans, specifications, and cost estimates
  • Coordinate the arrangement of existing and proposed land features and structures
  • Prepare graphic representations of plans using computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software
  • Select appropriate landscaping materials
  • Analyze environmental reports on land conditions, such as drainage and energy usage
  • Inspect landscape project progress to ensure that it adheres to plans
  • Seek new work through marketing activities or by giving presentations

Landscape architects design attractive and functional public parks, gardens, playgrounds, residential areas, college campuses, and public spaces. They also plan the locations of buildings, roads, walkways, flowers, shrubs, and trees within these environments. Landscape architects design these areas so that they are not only easy to use but also harmonious with the natural environment.

Landscape architects use various technologies in their work. For example, using CADD software, landscape architects prepare models of their proposed work. They present these models to clients for feedback and then prepare the final look of the project. Many landscape architects also use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) which offer GPS coordinates of different geographical features. This helps landscape architects design different environments by providing clues on where to start planning and how to anticipate future effects of the landscape, such as rainfall running into a valley.

The goals of landscape architects are to enhance the natural beauty of a space and foster environmental benefits. Landscape architects may plan the restoration of natural places that were changed by humans or nature, such as wetlands, streams, and mined areas. They also may design green roofs (roofs that are covered in soil and plants) or rooftop gardens that can retain storm water, absorb air pollution, and cool buildings while also providing pleasant scenery.

Work Environment

Landscape architects
Landscape architects may design gardens for resorts.

Landscape architects held about 24,500 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of landscape architects were as follows:

Architectural, engineering, and related services 53%
Self-employed workers 17
Landscaping services 16
Government 7
Construction 2

Landscape architects spend much of their time in offices, where they create plans and designs, prepare models 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.

How to Become a Landscape Architect

Landscape architects
Interns are often supervised by more experienced landscape architects.

Landscape architects usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture and a state-issued license, which typically requires completion of an internship.

Education

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.

Courses typically include landscape design and construction, landscape ecology, and site design. Other relevant coursework may include history of landscape architecture, plant and soil science, and professional practice.

The design studio is a key component of any curriculum. When possible, students are assigned projects that offer hands-on experience. These projects allow students to work with computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), model building, and other design software.

Training

To become licensed, candidates must meet experience requirements determined by each state. A list of training requirements is available from the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards.

New hires awaiting licensure may be called intern landscape architects. Although duties vary with the type and size of the employing firm, interns typically must work under the supervision of a licensed landscape architect for the experience to count toward licensure. Potential landscape architects may benefit by completing an internship with a landscape architecture firm during educational studies. Interns may improve their technical skills and gain an understanding of the day-to-day operations of the business, including learning how to recruit clients, generate fees, and work within a budget.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require landscape architects to be licensed. Candidates for licensure must pass the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE), which is sponsored by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards.

Candidates who are interested in taking the exam usually need a degree from an accredited school and experience working under the supervision of a licensed landscape architect, although standards vary by state. For candidates without a degree in landscape architecture, many states offer alternative paths—which usually require more work experience—to qualify to take the LARE.

In addition to the LARE, some states have their own registration exam to test for competency on state-specific issues, such as earthquakes in California or hurricanes in Florida. State-specific exams may focus on laws, environmental regulations, plants, soils, climate, and other characteristics unique to the state.

Licensed landscape architects also may obtain voluntary certification from the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards, which might make it easier to get licensed in another state.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Landscape architects must understand how their designs will affect locations. When designing a building’s drainage system, for example, landscape architects must understand the interaction between the building and the surrounding land.

Communication skills. Landscape architects share their ideas, both orally and in writing, with clients, other architects, and workers who help prepare drawings. Effective communication is essential to ensuring that the vision for a project gets translated into reality.

Creativity. Landscape architects create the overall look of gardens, parks, and other outdoor areas. Their designs should be both pleasing to the eye and functional.

Problem-solving skills. When designing outdoor spaces, landscape architects must be able to provide solutions to unanticipated challenges. These solutions often involve looking at challenges from different perspectives and providing the best recommendations.

Technical skills. Landscape architects use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) programs to create representations of their projects. Some also must use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for their designs.

Visualization skills. Landscape architects must be able to imagine how an overall outdoor space will look once completed.

Pay

Landscape Architects

Median annual wages, May 2019

Architects, surveyors, and cartographers

$74,520

Landscape architects

$69,360

Total, all occupations

$39,810

 

The median annual wage for landscape architects was $69,360 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $42,320, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $112,290.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for landscape architects in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Government $88,490
Construction 71,270
Architectural, engineering, and related services 70,130
Landscaping services 60,740

Job Outlook

Landscape Architects

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Total, all occupations

4%

Architects, surveyors, and cartographers

1%

Landscape architects

-2%

 

Employment of landscape architects is projected to decline 2 percent from 2019 to 2029.

Improving technologies are expected to increase landscape architects’ productivity, which should reduce overall demand for the occupation over the next 10 years.

However, there will continue to be some need for these workers to plan and develop landscapes for commercial, industrial, and residential projects. Environmental concerns and efforts to conserve water and prevent waterway pollution also may create some demand for landscape architects.

Job Prospects

There may be strong competition for the relatively small number of jobs in this occupation. Job opportunities may fluctuate with the overall state of the economy, as the number of landscape architecture projects is often tied to increases or decreases in business and consumer spending.  

Employment projections data for landscape architects, 2019-29

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Occupational Title

Landscape architects

SOC Code17-1012
Employment, 201924,500
Projected Employment, 202923,900
Percent Change, 2019-29-2
Numeric Change, 2019-29-600
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of landscape architects.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2019 MEDIAN PAY
Architects

Architects

Architects plan and design houses, factories, office buildings, and other structures.

Bachelor's degree $80,750
Civil engineers

Civil Engineers

Civil engineers design, build, and supervise infrastructure projects and systems. 

Bachelor's degree $87,060
Construction managers

Construction Managers

Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from start to finish.

Bachelor's degree $95,260
Environmental scientists and specialists

Environmental Scientists and Specialists

Environmental scientists and specialists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health.

Bachelor's degree $71,360
Hydrologists

Hydrologists

Hydrologists study how water moves across and through the Earth’s crust.

Bachelor's degree $81,270
Surveying and mapping technicians

Surveying and Mapping Technicians

Surveying and mapping technicians collect data and make maps of the Earth's surface.

High school diploma or equivalent $45,010
Surveyors

Surveyors

Surveyors make precise measurements to determine property boundaries.

Bachelor's degree $63,420
Urban and regional planners

Urban and Regional Planners

Urban and regional planners develop land use plans and programs that help create communities, accommodate population growth, and revitalize physical facilities.

Master's degree $74,350
Drafters

Drafters

Drafters use software to convert the designs of engineers and architects into technical drawings.

Associate's degree $56,830
Interior designers

Interior Designers

Interior designers make indoor spaces functional, safe, and beautiful by determining space requirements and selecting essential and decorative items.

Bachelor's degree $56,040

Contacts for More Info

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Landscape Architects,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/landscape-architects.htm (visited October 27, 2020).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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