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Salary Survey Released, and Numbers Dip

Average salary for landscape architects was $71,400, survey says. 

The average salary for landscape architects is $71,100 according to the latest national survey by ASLA. The overall salary dropped from $74,500 in 2008, a reflection of the severe economic conditions facing the profession.

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The survey of 1,202 landscape architects was completed in May 2010.

Private sector landscape architects, who make up 70 percent of respondents, reported an average salary of $68,200. Average salary for public sector professionals was $74,000, and the average salary for academics was $100,500 – sectors that make up 26 percent and 4 percent of respondents, respectively.

The average salary for landscape architects from entry-level to up to five years experience was $45,885. Average salaries move into the six figures after 30 years in the profession.

Nearly three in four (73 percent) of landscape architects reported holding a license to practice. Being licensed significantly contributed to salary – $77,700 for those holding a license compared to $52,700 without.

The full salary data, which includes detailed demographics and firm information, is available for purchase at $150 for ASLA members and $300 for nonmembers. Learn more at

Comments November 2, 2010 3:08 PM
When are you folks at ASLA going to acknowledge that to call yourself a landscape architect in all 50 states, you must be licensed. We just spent 10 years to get the remaining states to upgrade their title acts to practice acts. In paragraph five above you state that 73 percent of landscape architects reported holding licenses. If you don't hold a license, you are not a landscape architect. It is hard enough to define "landscape architect" to the public without our own society being confused about who is and who is not a landscape architect. November 2, 2010 3:54 PM
How can you be a landscape architect if you are not licensed? "Nearly three in four (73 percent) of landscape architects reported holding a license to practice. Being licensed significantly contributed to salary $77,700 for those holding a license compared to $52,700 without." November 2, 2010 7:39 PM
Interesting article - until the end! Kudos to two above comments - EXACTLY my comment. From a licensed LA in one of the few remaining Title Act states. The battle continues...wish it didn't have to be fought internally. November 3, 2010 9:37 AM
After working with chapters the past years to finally achieve licensure in all 50 states, ASLA certainly is aware of the issue. You are right to call us on the wording here. November 3, 2010 10:37 AM
"The average salary for academics was $100,500".... REALLY???? November 3, 2010 3:22 PM
Academic response rate was low, which affects the number. The impression here is that those who did respond were senior level. November 3, 2010 3:55 PM
These salary ranges seem more in line w/ my private sector experience. I do not believe that the ASLA average salary range of $90,000 posted a few years ago was based on a reasonable sampling of practioners. November 3, 2010 5:06 PM
It seems interesting that for so many years the reason given for extravagant defined benefit pensions and fully paid healthcare for public sector employees was to equalize their earnings with those of us in the private sector. It now appears from your survey that public sector employees are faring much better than the rest of us both before and after retirement. November 4, 2010 2:44 PM
Some of the above comments denigrate those people who have worked for years in landscape architecture but are not licensed landscape architects. I'm not sure that licensing is the key to our profession's identity. Nor do I believe that those who would exclude academics, large-scale urban landscape architects, and government planners from access to their professional designation are helping the issue. Some landscape architects, long members of the ASLA and holding LA degrees, are doing work other than designing retaining walls and do not need licensure. November 8, 2010 6:06 AM
A shining example how the public sector is drainging the private sector finacially dry. The blood sucking public sector is paid from the taxes collected from the private sector. The public sector is guaranteed with entitlements while the private sector struggles. Maybe some day this progressive liberal organization will get it! The American people are starting to as you can see from the last election. November 8, 2010 12:13 PM
While I agree there are a significant number of people actively participating in the field of landscape architecture who do not hold a license, if there exists a regulation (and clearly there does, state by state, stating that to call oneself a Landscape Architect, that person needs to be registered or certified as such, then we as a profession should hold firm to this point. I do not believe it is denegrating to anyone to say they should not be calling themselves a Landscape Architect if they do not have a license. It's just a fact, according to regulation. The profession of Landscape Architecture apparently felt strong enough to put it in writing, so the regulation is what it is. Perhaps what is needed, for those who might have actively participated in the profession for a long time without a license, is an appropriate method to gain licensure, if it does not already exist in the current licensing procedures. As a side note, I have to admit to never having designed a retaining wall, despite being licensed as a Landscape Architecture. I very much appreciate the variety of planning, design and all other work (through construction administration and implementation), at various scales, with which I am involved as a Landscape Architect. Which, I suppose, is why I am also an AICP Certified Planner, an ISA Certified Arborist and a LEED AP...I'm no better than any other Landscape Architect, I just happen to be interested in and practice in a lot of different areas of the profession that overlap with other recognized professions. November 8, 2010 12:44 PM
Re: public versus private sector earnings, the differences as posted are not that severe, and public work remained more stable during the recession because it was already funded before trouble set in. If the writer is alluding to the academic salaries, which are more dramatically higher, again, this is a relatively small sample and includes private universities. November 9, 2010 2:12 AM
Here is denigration: going through the CLARB process, pass a freakin' hard LARE first time through and then listening to people whine: 'Some landscape architects, long members of the ASLA and holding LA degrees, are doing work other than designing retaining walls and do not need licensure.' An opinion statement. Here's a fact: You pass the test, you're a landscape architect. You don't pass-you're not a landscape architect, you're a landscape designer and need to get with the program in place if you want to have the professional title of landscape architect. 'A long standing member'- who cares? ASLA will take your money regardless. Thanks ASLA-once again you show us what's really important.... November 16, 2010 4:31 PM
The comments above truly do, UNFORTUNATELY, reflect the recent election atmosphere and more. It is regretable that dialogue among professionals cannot be more civilized. A suggestion: Ask questions rather than accuse. Admittedly asking questions is tougher than accusations, since accusations typically erupt from emotional (knee jerk) reactions, but intelligently framed questions require thoughtful preparation in order to elicit useful dialogue. Our heritage is more of the latter (Olmsted, etc). Lets please live up to it. June 16, 2011 8:50 AM
As an individual having entered the profession only two years ago and currently in the process of pursuing my professional accreditation as a full Landscape Architect I do appreciate the exact comparison that this article has made between licensed and unlicensed professionals. I do not expect after receiving my stamp and designation that the type or amount of work that I do will change much, however I do expect that my salary will! Thank you for the information.
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