Certified Landscape Architect Certification and Career

Landscape architects plan and design outdoor spaces. Find out the job duties of landscape architects and learn about education programs and certification in this field. Schools offering Landscape Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Landscape architects design all types of land areas, including gardens, parks, yards, and campuses. Be sure your degree program is accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB).

Responsibilities Communicate with clients to understand a project, prepare site plans, select appropriate materials, analyze environmental reports, inspect landscape work, etc.
Programs Bachelor's or master's degree usually necessary; accredited programs are approved by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB)
Certification Most states require certification by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would I Do As A Landscape Architect?

As a landscape architect you will consider how construction will affect an area's plants, grass and shrubbery, whether the space can be developed according to the state's laws and, if so, how to do it with minimum environmental impact. Sometimes, you may develop a written plan to revitalize a habitat affected by natural disasters or humans.

Your job tasks may include landscaping an area by determining where to place plants for aesthetic purposes, identifying vegetation that must be left intact due to its endangered status and deciding which plants to move or replace to permit construction. When restoring an area, your focus may turn to creating a plan for re-growth. You will need to have knowledge of local and natural environmental laws and building codes, drafting and planning skills.

What Degree Is Required?

You will need at least a Bachelor in Landscape Architecture or a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture. An engineering or environmental science bachelor's degree is also acceptable, but may make the certification process more difficult. A Master of Landscape Architecture is another common degree.

The Landscape Architecture Accrediting Board (LAAB), a division of the American Society of Landscape Architects, is responsible for establishing educational guidelines for the field. You must graduate from an accredited program to sit for the certification exam.

Landscape architecture degree program curriculum consists of lecture, studios and internships. You can expect to take classes about the history of landscape architecture, construction, horticulture and computer-aided graphic design. Most programs also include a capstone project.

How Are Landscape Architects Certified?

You will become certified by passing the Landscape Architecture Registration Exam (LARE) administered by the Council of Landscape Architecture Registration Boards (CLARB). The exam consists of multiple choice and graphic design questions and is offered twice a year. Each portion is graded independently, and if you fail one portion you are only required to retake that section.

CLARB administers the multiple-choice portion of the exam throughout the United States, but because not every state's licensure board has the same requirements the Council does not administer the graphic design portion in every area. In some states, the graphic design portion is administered by the state's licensing board. Some states may also require you to be pre-approved before registering or taking the exam. CLARB recommends that you sit for the exam in the jurisdiction where you intend to practice. Some states require an additional exam for licensure.

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