March 23, 2012 at 4:02 pm #158261
This article along with its charts is telling us what? It was hard to make a living in the arts and architecture before the great recession/depression. Who goes into professions like photography, dance, sports, music, Landscape Architecture, etc. thinking that their chances of “success” are as good as someone going in to health care? You want an easy path to the big bucks, don’t go into Landscape Architecture. It was that way before the crash, it’s the same now.
Come on, what good is posting this article doing for you and people that are pursuing a career in Landscape Architecture? Enough singing the blues already. Bullsh!t charts and statistics are not going to keep some one away from what they are passionate about. You have to give it a shot (right?).
We need writers, dancers, musicians, LAs and other like professionals to make life worth living so…Go hard!March 24, 2012 at 5:24 am #158260mauiBobParticipant
LP, always remember: “Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” We just happen to read different reports. Have fun in China.March 24, 2012 at 5:31 am #158259mauiBobParticipant
When someone graduates with an art degree, sometimes they go into teaching or graphic designer or working for a film company to design sets. Generally, when LAs and Architects graduate, they go do LA and Architect stuff, and not teach in high school.
Anyway, Craig. I’ll never convince you. Start working on Plan D. LA is gone, man. Craig the NYC man, the greatest LA in state of NY! A hui hou.March 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm #158258
I’m not leaving the profession until it stops feeding me and there’s a real career alternative.
So in other words, I’m dancin’ wit da one dat brung me!March 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm #158257Andrew Garulay, RLAParticipant
The fact is that the job market for MLAs, as well as others, sucks. It does not mean that the profession is dead. Obviously, the profession is not expanding because development is stagnant. That means that new opportunities for employment is not very widespread.
The idea that an MLA is a big advantage seems like wishful thinking to me. There are just too many experienced people looking for work that are far better suited for project management positions to have MLAs without experience take those positions. BLA/BSLA undegrads are far more geared to studio production than MLAs because that is what they have been doing day in and day out for at least the last three years of their schooling – not going to pay a lesser trained MLA to do what a BLA can do better.
That does not mean that you should not do it or that your individual experience, personal attributes, or efforts can not over come that. It is only to answer the question:
“What is the job market like for an MLA grad”
Not GoodMarch 24, 2012 at 9:26 pm #158256landplannerParticipant
There is a better than strong likelihood that we will never meet in person. So our probable forum will probably remain here. I read this Lounge, not like a lizard, but frequently. I have always appreciated your moderation in comment and insights into the profession, where it is at, where it is not and where it might be headed. I have not always been so level-headed or cogent. You have. Maybe this next round in China will get me closer to that.
Believe this (and anyone else who reads this) I have made beyond monumental efforts to practice our art, craft, science and world bettering practice in our own country, and I have not broken through the wall. Now it is a thick and reinforced wall. In a not so distant time, I had enough mojo, moxy, credible backing and accomplishments that I was offered a job, on-the-spot, for handsome renumeration and so on. Happened twice. It will not happen again, only in a parallel dimension, if even there.
Again, I go much farther west, kicking and screaming. At least this time, I know full well what to expect and how to best prosper with it all. Simple summary, I spent the last five months here in the greater Pacific Northwest (PNW) trying to find an equal or close to equal job opportunity like has been offfered to me in China. I did get interest and I did get interviews. Suffice it to say, there is a HUGE, no make that, IMMENSE pool of highly under-utilized talent in the planning and design professions floating out there right now, ready to bite at any job prospect with a pulse of possibility,
How ironic and telling that I find my validation 6500 miles away.March 25, 2012 at 12:06 am #158255April PreyParticipant
Other posters have addressed your main question regarding the job market. I wanted to comment on your issue as a fellow “mid career changer” – I will finish up year 2 of my BLA in June. My prior life includes 25 years of work experience in non profits, env. engineering, and law. For reasons I won’t bore you with, I opted for a second bachelor’s rather than a master’s.
I have the same concerns as you regarding the employment situation – our situations are similar in that we already have a work history and skills to fall back on. Only you know your financial situation and how big of a risk you can assume. Ask yourself: “If I earn a MLA, and end up returning to the work I was doing prior to that, can I live with it?” Can you? I finally decided that my situation could assume the risk, and that there were worse things than spending 3 years stretching my mind, jump-starting my creativity, meeting some of the most amazing people I have met in years, and learning a slew of software programs I knew damn well I would not learn unless I had to. If I returned to paralegal work once I graduate….well, I’d probably make a lot more than as a landscape architect anyway, so paying off the student loan is still doable.
Are you dead set on the “I’m hoping to work in a major city for a studio that specializes in large, sustainable public projects” thing? Did you explore alternate paths such as certificates that would add skills to your existing grad degree and get you into something that might not be exactly landscape architecture, but would get you involved with sustainability issues? If you do end up earning the MLA, you might be exposed to some aspect of the profession completely different from your original goal – and you might develop new goals.
Food for thought. Good luck! My first bachelor’s is in social work…I had contemplated a grad degree in public administration at one point. But it would have been a disaster – I am not cut out for government work in any way, shape or form.March 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm #158254
April it’s so nice to hear from someone who can relate to the career transition. Yes! I’ve definitely searched for alternative routes of education and career paths. I considered going to Yestermorrow school as well but finally decided that the MLA path would be the most stable path financially. What I’m learning from this thread contradicts that.
You were right to turn away from the M.P.A–I’m not cut out for government work either. It really is soul-less and stifling with no room to be creative or even act like a human being. That being said if an M.L.A degree didn’t work out I just couldn’t fall back on the working situation I find myself in now. It’d be a real leap of faith!!
Thanks so much for your response, it’s helpful.March 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm #158253
When I first started reading this post, I got the feeling I was reading a story like ‘Old Yeller’ or something. I started getting misty eyed. How dramatic can you get?
Count your blessings. You’ve been fortunate enough to have interviews and the ability to traverse the globe to pursue your dreams. There are hundreds of LAs out there that are just as experienced and talented as you are that haven’t even received a reject letter, let alone interviews and job offers. So suck it up life happens to everybody.
Please don’t tell me this episode ends with LP slowly riding off into the sunset with a sad harmonica tune playing.March 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm #158252
“That does not mean that you should not do it or that your individual experience, personal attributes, or efforts can not over come that. It is only to answer the question…”
Andrew, once again you’re spot on. One of the reasons I’m so passionate about this subject is, if I had listened to the naysayers when I was younger, I more than likely would have ended up getting a degree in business/finance and going to work as a “suit” at some faceless corporation. That would have been the safe route for me to take.
I heard it all from my college roommate who never used his LA degree saying “You know there’s only one black Landscape Architect in the entire state of Ohio and not even one in the state of Texas” to my professor in my first Architectural design studio telling me I’d never make it as a design professional. I didn’t listen to that crap. No one knows how much heart a person has by just looking at them. And you shouldn’t depend solely on statistics to make a career choice.
Like the title of the book by Gary Coxe says, Don’t Let Others Rent Space in Your Head.March 26, 2012 at 6:08 pm #158251Jordan LockmanParticipant
So by now you know you will not be rich by becoming a Landscape Architect. Have you talked to local practicing professionals? Visited their offices and ask this question to them. They will usually give you a good answer for the location you are in.March 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm #158250
Yep! I did that before applying to MLA programs. I live in NYC where there are a lot of LArch firms. They said that the salaries varied and were a little vague to be honest. They did mention that the industry was seeing a slump right now but were optimistic that it would be better by the time I graduated.March 26, 2012 at 8:20 pm #158249Jason T. RadiceParticipant
The deal I’ve been finding with salaries is, because many firms are tettering right now, they pay what the market will bear. Some LAs will work for less, just to get the work. I’ve talked with firms who are trying to get mid-level experienced (8-10+ yrs) people to work for near entry wages (3-5 yrs). Because they can.
They really don’t know what to pay, especially for starters, but pay is an issue across the industry right now. Billing hours are way down, firms have to cut their bids just to get work…there is not a lot of money flowing around anywhere.March 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm #158248
So firms probably aren’t eager to hire entry level architects then and I imagine someone just out of school like me will have an extremely hard time finding work.March 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm #158247Jason T. RadiceParticipant
At the present time, there is slim pickings everywhere. Most adverts are for persons with 3 to 5 years experience. Entry level would be behind that, with those with substantial experience (8yrs plus) having the hardest time finding employment. The reason? They are expensive and there are not enough projects to warrant hiring project managers. Instead, the senior members left, usually principals, are doing that work. Firms are mostly looking for those who have some experience, especially with drafting and graphics, to create construction documents. But not enough experience to garner a higher salary.
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