Landscape architecture degree programs provide most of the training that students need to work in this field, but students may seek certificates to show that they have more experience in specific areas. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is an organization that offers a certificate for those seeking one. It helps applicants get their initial certificates and then continue their education to keep working in this field. Those in an undergrad or graduate landscape architecture program can find out how to get a certificate before they complete their studies.
Education for Landscape Architects
Before becoming a landscape architect, a professional must go to school. Undergrads can choose from two different degree programs to earn either a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) or a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA). While the BLA programs usually take four years to complete, it can take up to five years to finish a BSLA program because it will require more science courses and at least one internship. Internships are a good way for students to show prospective employers that they have experience with landscape architecture.
Graduate Degree Programs
Graduate degree programs are available for students who want to go beyond the undergraduate level. With a Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA), students have the chance to earn more as a new employee. They may qualify for more advanced positions too. MLA programs take up to three years for students to finish, even as full-time students. Some include a final year in which students do an internship, but other programs allow students to spend that last year working on a thesis. Plant science, soil science, plant ecology, the history of landscape architecture and architecture practice are classes that they might take.
Landscape architects with any type of degree in this field can apply for an ASLA certificate. This organization grants certificates to people working in all 50 states and offers scholarships for members who want to go to school. The ASLA also allows individuals to join online and take advantage of the benefits of becoming a member. Some of those benefits include subscriptions to journals and magazines published by the organization and access to its annual conferences, according to the ASLA. Members also receive discounts on the online courses and training that the organization offers.
ASLA Online Learning
The ALSA allows anyone with a background in landscape architecture to sign up for its online classes. Classes take place in real-time and let online students view instructors as they teach in front of others. Members and others can sign up for the in-person classes too. The topics addressed vary each month and can include issues such as sustainable building materials, digital design in landscape architecture and business ethics. Prospective students can take online classes from ASLA without having a certificate.
Landscape Architecture Registration Examination
Landscape architects living across the country can take the Landscape Architecture Registration Examination (LARE) too, which is available from the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Board. This exam consists of four parts, including a section on project and construction management and a second section on inventory and analysis. Students will also complete a section on landscape design and a final section that covers the documentation of grading, construction and drainage. Only those who get a passing score in each section will get a license. Every state in the country requires a license to work as a landscape architect.
Who Can Take the LARE?
The LARE is open to anyone who meets all eligibility standards, which vary between states. According to the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Board (CLARB), those requirements may include a degree in landscape architecture or some experience working in the landscape industry. Anyone who wants to take the examination can view all the requirements online in a convenient checklist to make sure that they qualify.
How Important is a License or Certificate?
Having a license is important for landscape architects because they cannot work in the United States without one. While they can work as contractors or for companies as helpers, they cannot work as landscape architects without a license. A certificate isn’t quite as important because it is optional. Those who want to work on their own rather than others may find it helpful to get both.
Landscape architects need specific fields to work in this industry, including communication skills and creativity. They also need a license from the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Board that shows they can work in the United States. Most do not need certificates to work as landscape architects, but they may find it useful to get a certificate from the American Society of Landscape Architects.