I just ran across this in the course of some unrelated random surfing and wonder what people think (although I guess it's already been approved etc.)?


I don't live in California but I'm surprised that what they are saying is true! (That it only takes one year of educational preparation, which would seem to be awfully sparse on history and other insights like master planning, grading etc.) The courses struck me as graphic-enhanced landscape contractor training.

The remainder of the years prior to qualifying for the exam would presumably have to be gained on the job which may not really save anybody much time on the student end. But will it lead to more people coming into what they hope will be LA, thereby making it harder to find and defend well paid starter positions, and ultimately confusing fields? I could even imagine political pressure to fast track the whole profession down the road. Of course there have always been architectural designer paths into architecture with enough work time added....not so sure about engineering. Thoughts?

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I was just editing myself on top of you, to make my original post clearer, but I tend to agree with you. Irrigation but no city planning insights? Would they know what a conditional use permit is, and how to really interface with allied but different professions on complex projects? Write, not just read specifications?

That's what I found rolling around in my mind after I posted, too. Besides adding to the confusion about what the term LA should mean, as if there isn't already enough confusion....


When I was getting my degree, I had to spend 3 additional years beyond a BS in Horticulture, and there was no way to condense that because the LA school simply didn't allow you into Sr. studios without completing the Jr. ones, and so forth down to where the only option was a partial course load over a longer time. Why was this? Was it that we were also only taking one year fluffed up with public speaking or accounting or marginally relevant courses and the school was just a bunch of "meanies"? Why didn't they let people "crunch" and send them out after one (possibly intense) year? 


No, it was because: you have to sort of gestate into a designer. In school, you go through some maturation and grasp of the subtleties and complexities that nothing but exposure to professors and more advanced students can do nearly as well, which takes time and studios where you apply it to recreation, to multi family housing, etc. And that idea is extended into having some field experience before sitting in the exam. So then why not all field experience? Because once in an office, the context is production and the time in school offers a foundation of insight which there is little time for the employer to give or impart it, but society still needs from its true professionals.

Oh, and where is storm drainage and erosion control? Are we going to just concede on the matter of whether we are qualified in these areas (we have had to fight for) by just giving up? I'd like to think the state's professionals will keep the nationally designed exam as a challenge this school but the fallout may take some time to be revealed. Sad if it's the way of the future.

It looks like a good two year preparation for landscape design. I would not be threatened by it. Harvard University used to have a certificate program through Radcliffe College for years - it has move to Boston Arhitecture College (or something like that). It was/is a very good program for landscape designers. It has not killed landscape architecture and neither will that AA degree.


I think it is good that there is some basic training available to people who want to be more than self taught and don't want to go through a 5 year LA program. ... unless they actually want to be LAs.

I just saw something like this on the TV.  Some online college was offering an AA or BFA in LandArch.  The funny thing is if you look at any of the job postings, and anyone I have talked to, Firms are looking for MLA, BLA, or BSLA.  That's it.  And the majority of them are requesting an accredited college.  Most new job postings I have seen also require Licensure, or ability for reciprocity.  An AA or BFA will not get you far when you look at CLARB's requirements for trying to take the tests.

I'm rather sensitive to young (or career changing) people being misled as well as the public. There are already "landscape design" concentrations or full degrees out there, but to apply the same title to something else is in fact going to attract people specifically because they will see that term and "want to be LA's" - as Andrew referenced.

This is kind of like ASLA discussing certificates. Not a degree, but a certificate. At least an AA gets you on the road, as you can transfer with many core courses out of the way (many 5 year programs, including where I got my BLA, used to have this model, and somewhat still do). It is ASLA and CLARB allowing the use of nomenclature they probably shouldn't. Perhaps "landscape design" degree or certificate would be more apropos. Only an accredited degree, or one you can only get if you are already accredited (like a MSLA or MALA) should use the name "landscape architecture".


My school would probably make you start as a first year regardless of this degree.

I guess I'm a little confused. So CLARB has one set of requirements to be met for taking the exam (which do NOT include anything less than a bachelors in something, but strangely the degree doesn't need to be from an accredited program), while each state sets their own rules for who can take the test and those rules can be far less stringent than the CLARB requirements? What's the point of the CLARB requirements then? I also fail to see any value in program accreditation unless your particular state requires it - perhaps most do. Nor do I see any mention of this AA degree being accredited. Is CA's one year AA or AS degree requirement a new thing? Because it isn't listed on CLARB's reference page.

This  'degree' is essentially the same as taking a year of liberal arts in the eye of CLARB. Its nearly useless in terms of licensure reqs and misleading..shame on merritt college.

The course description is misleading at best. How many contractors do you think will sign up for this course only to realize they cant sit for the LARE without another 3 years minmum education plus work experience? This is the problem with for-profit community colleges.

To be clear I dont think this course will qualify you to sit for the exam, you still need the minimum 6 as stated in the description lower down. Might as well just got enroll at the university.

I think we are all looking at this from a narrow perspective of professional landscape architects. Clearly, this degree is for people who want training in landscape design without all the other subject matter that makes up the profession of landscape architecture or the time commitment that comes with it.


I don't think the use of the term "landscape architecture" is appropriate and it is misleading. One of my pet peeves is that colleges and universities are more worried about marketing than the students whether it is dropping undergraduate accreditation in order to force students to get masters degrees or pretending that it positions people to take over developent projects and turn into ecology restoration projects.


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