How to Become A Landscape Designer

Landscape designers plan public spaces, like parks, gardens, golf courses, and residential communities. Landscape designers work as landscape contractors who combine art and science to blend natural and man made elements to beautify outdoor surroundings. Landscape designers combine knowledge of horticulture and gardening to help parks bloom in cities, design green space for suburban areas, restore wetlands, or combine architecture with trees, flowers, or structures to accent buildings. Future landscape designers must enjoy working with their hands, possess strong analytical skills, have artistic talent, and possess strong oral and written communication skills. Landscape designers must also be technologically savvy to use computer software like CAD, word processing, desktop publishing, and spreadsheets to develop presentations, proposals, reports, and land impact studies for clients, colleagues, and superiors.

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High school students who love the outdoors, gardening, and horticulture may prepare for a career as a landscape designer through courses in: art, biology, calculus, algebra, physical education, English, business communications, chemistry, physics and even design if available. High school students may work as an assistant for a landscape contractor or as a landscape maintenance worker to gain hands on skills and increase chances of acceptance in formal training programs.

A career diploma offered from a trade, vocational, or online school allows students to gain foundational training for entry level landscape design employment. Students learn basic skills through courses in: introduction to landscape design, plant materials, plant design, fundamentals of horticulture, site analysis, current trends in landscape design, and construction manuals and methods. Students complete training with hands on experiences with landscape contractors, operators of plant nurseries, or landscape design firms to go on to licensing exams offered through the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards. Applicants take a two part Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.) to demonstrate proficiencies in skills acquired during training programs. Applicants who successfully complete licensing determined by state boards or facility of employment may advance to entry level jobs as assistant landscape designers or advanced degree programs.

An associates degree in landscape design is available through trade or vocational schools, as well as online or community colleges. A two year degree allows students to expand educational and career opportunities necessary for a career as a landscape designer. Students enrolled in a two year degree program participate in courses like: horticulture, project and site planning, landscape design, theory and principles, drafting and drawing, AutoCAD, site analysis, construction materials and methods, and a soils course. Students also must complete an internship experience under the supervision of a qualified landscape designer before advancing to licensing/certification exams, employment, or advanced degree programs. Successfully completing an associates degree program allows students to gain employment as landscape designers upon completion of certification examinations as determined by state and facility regulations. Licensing is available through the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards. Candidates participate in a two part Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.) to demonstrate skills learned from formal training programs. Applicants must have previous work experience and knowledge of laws, environmental regulations, plants, soils, climate and other factors determined by State regulations.Successfully completing L.A.R.E. exams allows students credentials necessary to expand client base and continuing education requirements necessary to maintain licensure.

A bachelor degree in landscape design allows students to learn historical and theoretical aspects of landscape design while expanding educational and career opportunities. Students participate in courses like: landscape design theory, landscape architecture drafting, landscape architecture practice, constructing landscapes, geographic information systems (GIS) in landscape architecture, land use planning, and natural resource management. Students must also complete internships under the supervision of qualified landscape architects before advancing to graduate degrees or certification examinations necessary for employment. Graduates from a bachelor degree program participate in Landscape Architect Registration Examinations (L.A.R.E.) to demonstrate proficiencies learned from classroom instruction and internship experiences. Candidates must have previous work experience and knowledge of laws, environmental regulations, plants, soils, climate, and other factors . Candidates participate in a two part Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.) to demonstrate skills learned from formal training programs. Applicants must have previous work experience and knowledge of laws, environmental regulations, plants, soils, climate and other factors determined by State regulations. Upon completion of L.A.R.E. exams, landscape designers may gain credentials necessary to expand client base and access to continuing education necessary to maintain licensure.

Master degree programs in landscape design allow students to gain skills and training necessary to work as supervisors in the field of landscape design. Graduate students participate in specialized courses like: site analysis, landscape design planning, graphics in landscape design, construction regulation, Computer Aided Design landscape design, principles of horticulture, site engineering, construction materials and methods, plant design, current trends in landscape design, and history of landscape design. Graduate students must complete an internship under the supervision of a qualified landscape architect before completing a masters thesis. Upon completion of coursework, internships, and thesis, students may advance to certification examinations determined by state boards and facility of employment. Students participate in two part Landscape Architect Registration Examinations (L.A.R.E.) to demonstrate skills learned from graduate degree programs. Candidates must have previous work experience and proficiencies learned from classroom instruction and internship experiences in areas of environmental regulations, plants, soils, climate, law, and other factors. Successfully completing L.A.R.E. certification examinations allows candidates to expand client base and access continuing education programs necessary to maintain licensure to work as supervisors or managers of landscape design organizations. Students may also advance to doctoral degree programs.

Doctoral degree programs in landscape design allow students to become experts in the field. Students participate in intensive classroom and clinical experiences under the supervision of qualified landscape designers to expand career and educational opportunities. Courses prepare students to apply theoretical and clinical experiences necessary to perform as lead researchers and experts in landscape design. Students participate in courses like: Ecology, history of landscape architecture, water use and conservation, business organization and management, computerized landscape drafting, coastal zone management, flood unudation modeling, urban planning, ethics, statistics, engineering survey, laser scanning, photogrammetry, and field based geospatial information. Doctoral degree students must complete an internship with a certified landscape architect and complete a publishable dissertation before advancing to certification examinations administered by Landscape Architectural Registration Examinations (L.A.R.E.) Candidates must demonstrate proficiencies learned through classroom and clinical experiences in areas like: environmental regulations, plants, soils, climate, law, and other factors to attain credentials focused on expanding client base and providing access continuing education courses necessary to retain licensure. Successfully completing a doctoral degree program, internships, and L.A.R.E. certification exams allows students to advance as top researchers or professors in the discipline of landscape design.

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