Employment at U.S. landscape architecture firms will increase over 21% through the year 2006 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor’s 1998-99 Occupation Outlook Handbook. According to the handbook, anticipated growth in construction is expected to increase demand for landscape architecture services over the long run despite periodic fluctuations.
Last fall, landscape architecture was named a runner-up hot track profession by U. S. News & World Report in their October 26, 1998, issue.
"It’s exciting to see hard statistics validating what we’re hearing anecdotally all the time—our members just can’t hire enough new staff to keep up with the demand. There’s been a tremendous explosion in both the appreciation and need for landscape architecture services," said Peter Kirsch, ASLA executive vice president.
Every year only 1,200 to 1,300 students graduate with a degree in landscape architecture. This number has held steady in the last few years, despite the strong job market.
New graduates can expect to face competition for jobs in the largest and most prestigious landscape architecture firms according to the handbook. Opportunities will be best for landscape architects who develop strong technical and communication skills and a knowledge of environmental codes and regulations.
Job offers for new hires are brisk with upwards of twenty percent of all respondents reporting that they are out to hire more landscape architects, according to the ASLA 1998 Salary Survey. The average offer to recent graduates is $22,775 from the private sector and $25,730 from the public sector. With one- to three-years’ experience, the average offer rises to $26,407 and $30,016, respectively. At four to nine years, it escalates to $35,042 and $37,377, respectively. Finally, at more than ten years, the private-sector advantage appears and the offers are $45,454 for the private sector and $44,096 for public sector.
Overall, landscape architects’ average salaries have surpassed those of architects, according to the results of the ASLA salary survey ,compared to those of an existing similar survey by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Survey results show the average salary of the landscape architect in America today is $52,886, and it goes to a professional who has been practicing for 15.9 years. The comparison of ASLA and AIA survey data, adjusted to compensate for the ten months of difference in time between the two surveys, shows that landscape architects report a higher average income by about $6,000.
Landscape architects held about 17,000 jobs in 1996 according to the handbook. About two out of five worked for firms that provide landscape architectural services. Most of the rest were employed by landscape architecture and architecture firms. The federal government also employs these workers, primarily in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Defense and Interior. About three of every ten landscape architects were self-employed.
U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics show employment of landscape architects is concentrated in urban and suburban areas throughout the country. Some landscape architects do work in rural areas though, particularly those in the Federal Government who plan and design parks and recreation areas.
A formal education program is required to become a landscape architect. At the undergraduate level, students attend four- or five-year programs leading to a bachelor of science in landscape architecture or a bachelor of landscape architecture degree. At the graduate level, students whose undergraduate degree is in a non-design field attend a three-year program leading to the first professional master of landscape architecture degree. Students whose undergraduate degree is in landscape architecture can usually complete a master’s degree program in one to two years.
Presently, approximately 5,600 students attend accredited, first-professional landscape architecture programs in the United States and Canada, including more than 900 at the master’s level. Generally, course work for a first professional degree in landscape architecture encompasses design studios, art history, construction techniques, plant identification, grading and drainage, and the natural and social sciences, such as botany, geology and sociology.
State laws in 46 states require that professionals obtain a license before practicing as a landscape architect. Licensing states require successful completion of the rigorous, three-day, uniform national examination before granting licensure. Often states require a degree from a professional landscape architecture program before allowing a candidate to take the exam. Some states also require work experience.
ASLA is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 1999 and represents over 13,000 members nationwide. Landscape architecture is a comprehensive discipline of land analysis, planning, design, management, preservation, and rehabilitation. Typical projects include site design and planning, town and urban planning, regional planning, preparation of environmental impact plans, garden design, historic preservation, and parks/recreation design and planning. Landscape architects hold undergraduate or graduate degrees and are licensed in 46 of the 50 states.
Additional information, including a job bank and full list of accredited U.S. programs, is available here on ASLA Online. The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook is online at