These professionals can transform the mundane or the outdated into a magnificent landscape, incorporating the latest digital technologies and employing environmental responsibility as they further their work.
Landscape architects work directly with their clients by planning and submitting blueprints, site plans and specifications for each project. Those specifications include detailed information about the product including prices.
Architects prepare drawings and other graphic representations, compile and analyze data including environmental impact, work with other professionals to design the landscape and may seek to find ways to minimize water use through the selection of plants and through the property’s lay out. Today’s landscape architects look for ways to bring in sustainable materials and to recycle or repurpose materials as needed.
Landscape architects have at least a bachelor’s degree with 7 percent of these professionals having a master’s degree and 10 percent a doctoral degree. Every state requires these professionals to be licensed according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Professionals may pursue one of two undergraduate landscape architect professional degrees: a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture. The courses common to these degrees include site design, surveying, landscape design, geology, soil science and management. Students will also work with geographic information systems, model building and video simulation. Students will work as interns and apprentices until they obtain licensure.
Landscape architects earned an average of $64,180 annually as of 2012 according to the BLS. Those in the 10th percentile earned $38,500 per year on average while those in the 25th percentile made approximately $48,800 per year. The median salary for these professionals was $64,200 per year. For landscape architects in the 75th percentile, their average salary came in at $83,400 per year. Those in the 90th percentile made $101,900 per year on average reports the BLS.
Salaries for landscape architects varied across the nation. In 2012, Nevada reported the highest annual wage average, with these professionals making $79,000 per year. California at $78,900, Nebraska at $78,000 and Alaska at $75,700 per year followed.
From the bottom of the spectrum with wages averaging just below the 10th percentile was Idaho, reporting average annual wages of $37,900. Alabama at $39,000, North Dakota at $44,900, Kentucky at $45,800 and Indiana at $48,400 per year followed.
The BLS forecasts a 16 percent job growth for landscape architects from 2010 to 2020. That’s just above the 14 percent rate anticipated for all jobs. It is a small field with 21,600 professionals employed as of 2010, thus 3,500 new positions are expected to open. Additional opportunities will come about as people retire. Competition for jobs in the largest and most recognized landscape design firms is expected to remain strong.
Environmental concerns weigh big in this field, thus the professional with a keen understanding of local issues and advanced design incorporating green-friendly buildings and structures may have an advantage. Also key is managing water resources, including harnessing storm water run off that can be safely reused. Familiarity with environment codes and regulations are a plus.