How to Advance (Advancement)
After several years, landscape architects may become project managers, taking on the responsibility for meeting schedules and budgets, in addition to overseeing the project design. Later, they may become associates or partners of a firm, with a proprietary interest in the business.
Those with landscape architecture training also qualify for jobs closely related to landscape architecture, and may, after gaining some experience, become construction supervisors, land or environmental planners, or landscape consultants.
Landscape architects held about 26,700 jobs in 2008. About 51 percent of landscape architects were employed in architectural, engineering, and related services. State and local governments employed approximately 6 percent. About 21 percent of landscape architects were self-employed.
Employment of landscape architects is concentrated in urban and suburban areas throughout the country; some landscape architects work in rural areas, particularly those employed by the Federal Government to plan and design parks and recreation areas.
Employment is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. There should be good job prospects overall, but new graduates may face competition for jobs in the largest and most prestigious landscape architecture firms.
Employment of landscape architects is expected to increase by 20 percent during the 2008–18 decade, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment will grow as the planning and development of new construction, together with the continued redevelopment of existing buildings, creates more opportunities for landscape architects. With land costs rising and the public desiring more beautiful spaces, the importance of good site planning and landscape design is growing.
Additionally, environmental concerns and increased demand for sustainably designed construction projects will spur demand for the services of landscape architects. For example, landscape architects are involved in designing green roofs that are covered with some form of vegetation, and that can significantly reduce costs associated with heating and cooling a building, as well as reduce air and water pollution. Landscape architects will also be needed to design plans to manage storm water run-off in a way that avoids pollution of waterways and conserves water resources.
There should be good job opportunities overall as demand for landscape architecture services increases, but new graduates can expect to face competition for jobs in the largest and most prestigious landscape architecture firms. Many employers prefer to hire entry-level landscape architects who have internship experience, which significantly reduces the amount of on-the-job training required. Opportunities will be best for landscape architects who develop strong technical skills—such as computer design—communication skills, and knowledge of environmental codes and regulations. Those with additional training or experience in urban planning increase their opportunities for employment in landscape architecture firms that specialize in site planning as well as landscape design.
Opportunities will vary by year and geographic region, depending on local economic conditions. During a recession, when real estate sales and construction slow down, landscape architects may face greater competition for jobs and sometimes layoffs. But because landscape architects can work on many different types of projects, they may have steadier work than other design professionals when traditional construction slows.
In addition to growth, the need to replace landscape architects who retire or leave the labor force will produce some job openings.
In May 2008, median annual wages for landscape architects were $58,960. The middle 50 percent earned between $45,840 and $77,610. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,520 and the highest 10 percent earned over $97,370. Architectural, engineering, and related services employed more landscape architects than any other group of industries, and there the median annual wages were $59,610 in May 2008.
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