5 Misconceptions About The Landscape Architects Registration Exam (LARE)

5 Misconceptions About The Landscape Architects Registration Exam (LARE)

The first 2015 Landscape Architects Registration Exam (LARE) is offered April 6 – 18, 2015. Why is licensure important?  The primary reason States license Landscape Architects is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. I also maintain studying for licensure educates a landscape architect how to be a greater success in career and business providing a better quality of life.

From my seven years of offering Landscape Architecture Registration Exam (LARE) Review courses at UCLA Extension and at the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Conferences, I have heard multiple misconceptions about the Landscape Architects License Exam and confusion on the process.  So let me address five of the issues, specifically California!


1.  Two Years Experience are required before I am eligible to take the exam

You can take the exam right after graduation!  The State of California Landscape Architects Technical Committee (LATC) states that Candidates shall be eligible to take sections 1 and 2 of the LARE if they fulfill one of the following educational requirements:

  • Have an accredited Bachelors or Masters degree in landscape architecture.

  • Have an extension certificate in landscape architecture from an approved program and have a Bachelor’s degree.

2.  Where do I find out about becoming licensed in California?

  • First – Apply through the State of California Landscape Architects Technical Committee- . Make sure you have the application materials and start the application process.

  • Second- Go to the Council of Landscape Architects Registration Board (CLARB)  Register for the exam.

  • Third – Check the ASLA web site under LARE Prep Tab for FREE Study Resources

3.  I don’t need a license. Only Principals Stamp and Sign Plans in Our Office.

During the recession, about 60% of the UCLA Extension review course attendees were laid off, starting their own business or landscape designers/contractors seeking to expand their services and needing a license.

  • Many offices only allow Licensed Landscape Architects to perform Construction Observation.

  • A license is one more qualification to differentiate you on your resume.

4.  No need to Study, I prepare construction documents every day.

The LARE is a National Exam which covers the entire range and scope of Landscape Architecture.

  • From stormwater management to construction observation to ethics, the exam covers knowledge, skills and your ability to apply these to various sites and situations.  

  • How are you at taking exams? Do you really understand how the questions will be worded?  How to manage your time? What are good study practices?

  • The Council of Landscape Architects Registration Board (CLARB) is a the most current resource for what to study to become licensed.

  • The LARE is testing for understanding and comprehension.

  • Review Courses provide the opportunity for better understanding of the examination process; the opportunity to practice answering complex questions; the opportunity to understand and critically analyze scenarios for issues that are critical to protecting public health, safety and welfare.

5.  Exam is too expensive.

Can you afford not to be licensed? Saving will take planning and budgeting but the results are worth it. There is a critical need for licensed landscape architects in city, county and state positions as well as private firms.

  • Licensed Landscape architects earn 40% more than unlicensed landscape architects (LAM 2010).

  • Government licensed employees have a higher rank and higher salaries.

The environment needs more landscape architects. For your own health, safety and welfare become a licensed landscape architect.   The world needs you!

Published in Blog


  1. You may want to clarify that you do need 2 years of experience in other states like Maryland. Linking to the CLARB website for a state by state breakdown would be useful. The rest of the information is great and very useful. 

    All the being said, getting licensed is a great differentiator especially for young professionals. The exam is hard and will take a ton of effort, but as a recently licensed architect – the benefit long term outweighs the cost (it is way too expensive though IMO).

  2. I agree with Benjamin, according to CLARB, 20% of states have practice requirements. Maryland, where we’re licensed, requires combined 6 years of education and experience. The webinar we did for ASLA national in November spells out many details regarding how to approach the exam. See: 

  3. Always check your state board’s requirements! Every state has different requirements and combinations.

    CLARB’s study: The Determinents of Success, indicates that candidates do best when taking Sections 1 and 2 immediately after graduation (based on comparing scores from those states that allow this and those that require practice before taking exam).

    This research is why the State of California’s LATC changed their requirements for sitting for the Exam to allow graduates to have the best chance to succeed. The evidence supports allowing candidates to sit for the Exam sections 1 and 2 immediately after graduation.

    California requires 6 years combined education and experience also, but that experience must be acquired before sitting for Sections 3 and 4.


  4. The way our economy is going, steady full-time employment will become rare before long. Becoming licensed is a great way to assure that you can work anytime and anywhere, no matter if you are employed or self-employed. 

  5. I am an Architect with Masters in Landscape Architecture from India, working for the last 4 years. Presently employed with Parsons Corporation at Dubai.

    I am interested to take the exam, am I eligible to do so? Can somebody guide me regarding the procedure for the same? Many thanks.

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