Landscape Architect Career Profile
Do you want to work as a landscape architect?
READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.
RESEARCH: Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.
PREPARE: If you want to plan and prepare for your career, then join the OZT Community! Members have access to tools while chatting with other students and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!
12 September 2023
What is a landscape architect?
Landscape architects combine their skills in design and science to create public and private spaces such as public parks, golf courses and gardens. They are trained in the art of transforming a landscape to serve a purpose. In the case of zoos, it’s to change the layout of the zoo grounds so that it can blend in with the enclosures, walkways, and buildings, while still remaining practical for the visitors to use.
In working with animals, they can also work with:
- zoo designers (or theme park designers) who sketch a concept of a new zoo or theme park
- horticulturists or landscape designers who are responsible for choosing the right kind of plants and trees
- habitat designers in creating the best enclosure for the animals to ensure that the animals have the right kind of landscape that simulates their natural habitat
- sanctuary owners in creating areas, specific to the kept species
2. What do they do?
Art & Design / Business / Zoos, Aquariums, Theme Parks and Museums
A landscape architect will create the artistic concept of the area, which includes everything from the layout, ground cover (where the types of grass and plants must go), water features, space for trees and garden features (sculptures, benches etc). They can either design the drawing, or give this task to a Landscape Architectural Technician.
- Meet with clients, engineers, and building architects to understand the requirements of a project
- Prepare site plans, specifications, and cost estimates
- Coordinate the arrangement of existing and proposed land features and structures
- Prepare graphic representations of plans using computer-aided design and drafting (CAD) software
- Select appropriate landscaping materials
- Presentation to clients of work done
- Create and add new work to a portfolio
- Administration and filing
Where they work:
Landscape architects work in offices, studios, and outdoors. While most of the actual drawing of designs takes place in an office environment, landscape architects must also visit clients to assess sites – and gather information on soil type, pre-existing vegetation and the shape of the land.
Places of Employment –
Most landscape architects may be permanently employed by government, contractors, and major landowners. They may also decide to start their own businesses.
As most landscape architects are self employed, their income is based on obtaining contracts. On average the income per year is around $60,000. This will differ from country to country.
Some of the most difficult issues that landscape architects need to deal with are dealing with limited project budgets, competition to find work, and a tough working environment. Most architects need to work long hours, on short deadlines and even perform some of the hard labour themselves.
Future growth and Possibilities:
3. Which Skills are required?
The skills required for a career as a landscape architect can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.
- Critical thinking
- Creative thinking
- Decision making
- Problem Solving
- Effective communication
- Interpersonal relationship
- Good business knowledge
- Good artistic skills
- Basic customer service skills
- Good health and physical fitness
- Excellent knowledge of plants and use of water
- Excellent computer literacy (drawing software)
4. Which Subjects must I have at School?
Art will be your major or most important subject in school, whether you want to study further, or not. It will strengthen your artistic skills and techniques, and prepare you for a career as a landscape architect.
The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.
OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!
5. What will I need to Study?
The field of landscape architecture has become highly competitive and skilled, which means that the minimum qualifications would be a college diploma. Most professional architects have a Bachelor’s degree.
Focus studies on a diploma or degree in landscaping.
Short Courses –
Short Courses in horticulture, project management and zoo/habitat designing (if available).
Short Courses in animal studies are also recommended if you want to focus on working with places where animals are kept. Know the species before you design their home!
A good background in drawing is essential, so be sure to perfect your doodling and sketching skills. Knowledge of a design software package would also be recommended.
The duration of College and Bachelor’s Degrees can be up to 3 or 4 years. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.
Possible Career Preparation Paths:
If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.
Why is planning important?
To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.
Possible Combined Career Paths:
It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.
Possible Alternatives (there are a lot more):
Stepping Stone Career:
Being a landscape architect can also be used as a stepping stone career. A stepping stone career is one which is used to help you get to another career, normally because the other career is too difficult to reach (sometimes due to things like high fees etc), or because it’s a new field you are interested in.
You can begin as an intern landscape architect at a reputable company. The money made can then be used to pay for studies towards a promotion or another career, and the experience helps in gaining knowledge. One paying to help get to the other.
Some of the possible paths:
Training and apprenticeship:
Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal careers, most of the skills you will need as a cartoonist will be acquired through practice. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.
In some cases entry level positions (or junior architect positions) require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.
Apprenticeship is also possible where you need to learn skills from a more senior person or expert.
Join the Landscape Architect Group in STEP 8 to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!
Average entry level of education across the career:
6. Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations
Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.
Certifications may help workers establish their credentials and enhance their skills.
Most countries do require landscape architects to be qualified and licensed. Some even have licensing exams.
Learn more about requirements by joining OZT in STEP 8.
7. Where can I study further?
All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.
See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards landscaping.
8. Join the OZT community
Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a landscape architect.
Members of the Platform have special access to:
- Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
- Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
- Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
- Make friends around the world and share knowledge
- Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!
If you have decided on being a Landscape Architect, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.
If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu, and search for something different.
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One Zoo Tree