Anyone know what the job market is like for an MLA grad?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums EDUCATION Anyone know what the job market is like for an MLA grad?

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 148 total)
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  • #158246
    Jordan Lockman
    Participant

    I have found that the middle folks are being hit the hardest. The new folks out of school are the ones getting the “new jobs” as firms get busier. Since they are generally the best at the latest software and are cheaper. Just a thought.

    #158245
    April Prey
    Participant

    Same with internships.  The very few people in my class doing internships are the “software stars” of the class – OR they had prior experience in the field before starting the program.

    In one particular case, a well-paying internship went to a third year BLA that already had years of experience in landscape construction and installation.  When I asked him what he thought got him the job, without hesitation he said “My prior experience.  The BLA is just a piece of paper”.

    #158244
    Craig Anthony
    Participant

    At my first “real” job, I worked for a guy who’s an RLA who never went to college. He qualified to sit for the UNE based on experience in design/build. I remember he couldn’t draw to save his soul, but he still built one of the largest design/build companies in the mid-west. He was worth a couple million back in the early nineties, I sure he’s worth more than that now. And I’m sure there are other people who made big money in our field. So there’s always a chance.  

    #158243
    Andrew, RLA
    Participant

    Landplanner; I too did similar, contact me if you haven’t already shoved off for Asia on your second tour of duty.  rivlin @ ekistics.ca (Pacific Northwest has some life to it)

    #158242
    Andrew, RLA
    Participant

    Honestly as an employed RLA, I would NOT pursue a MLA.  If you have a planning background you could convert it to Development Masterplanning or Resort Planning and development in the up and coming countries.  Business courses are where our field lacks understanding and it continually holds back our field.

    #158241
    Kim Romano
    Participant

    Thanks Andrew.  My background is in public policy, not so much planning.  I’m trying to cross over into that field but I’m attracted to the design aspect over the finance/ business aspect. When developers explain to me how their buildings are financed through “tax exempt bonds, tax equity…LLC partnership…3% something…maturity rate…”  I just completely check out and disengage.  I really wish I were business oriented in that way, I’d be much better off financially.

    #158240
    Heather Smith
    Participant

    I haven’t been on here FOREVER…but spotted this thread. I heartily agree with what others are saying. BUT I also think there is room for a living with this career…but that it looks different then most of us imagined. We are still truckin’ along here in little Moscow…and it is getting better. The economy IS getting better. We are hearing it from realtors, bankers and we are pulling in more clients. It feels as if the dam is breaking. Keep holding on guys. I wrote under this response of Craig’s because we are doing what the RLA he mentioned is doing, design/build. We have actually wondered why larger design firms don’t also sop up the build work, it would help to create more work and profit for the companies. I encourage you all to dip your foot into the entrepreneurial pool.

    But my advice to the OP? Don’t get your MLA…for those of us with the BLA/MLA already we have to suck it up or go back to school. Also in response to health care, depending on where you live you could go to school for nursing and not find employment…check out the PNW.

    #158239
    Heather Smith
    Participant

    Hi Andrew! 🙂

    #158238
    April Prey
    Participant

    “I encourage you all to dip your foot into the entrepreneurial pool.”

    I wish you could come and talk to our professional practice class about that!  There needs to be a lot more education/support in BLA/MLA programs that would equip us to start our own businesses.  The entire thrust of our class is geared around the typical path of “do portfolio…apply to firms”.  I am sitting there thinking “screw that…I need advice on finding a business partner with solid build skills to compliment my design skills”.

    #158237
    Jay Smith
    Participant

    Kim, rather than worrying about the job market, which may or may not be down by the time you get out, just make sure you know what you are getting into in terms of the profession itself.  I don’t know what your exposure has been to the field thus far, so perhaps it goes without saying, but the majority of real life jobs in this field are nothing like the fantasy world created in the safe free thinking design environment of the typical college design studio, or the dreamy career descriptions you may stumble across online.  Finding any job in the field is a major challenge, especially when you’re narrowing your search to a very specific niche.  Not saying this to discourage you, but rather to make sure that you really know what you are diving into.  

    #158236
    Andrew, RLA
    Participant

    +1

    #158235
    Craig Anthony
    Participant

    Glad to have you back Heather. I’ve always appreciated your thoughtful input, even though we don’t always agree on everything. It’s great to see that you guys are still growing your business.

     

    Design/build is where I got my start. After ten years I became restless and decided to pursue working at a traditional design firm. Since then I’ve only worked at multi-discipline and design only firms, but I really miss design/build. You can make a lot more money with the mark-up on the materials and labor.

     

    I think most design firms don’t want to do design/build is because they really don’t know how to build. Dealing with materials acquisition, labor, scheduling, equipment, weather and your own design mistakes can be a headache.

     

    Your right the economy is starting to get better. For my business things were getting better towards the end of ’09, just to have ’10 be my toughest year ever. Then in ’11 I landed my biggest project ever, but my sales on small residential work fell off. So I’m not celebrating just yet. I’ve prepared myself mentally for a couple more years of struggling, but I hope we’re really out of the woods this time.

    #158234
    Craig Anthony
    Participant

    I just had a scary vision of me starting my own business without proper training under seasoned Landscape Architects and Designers. The thought of me making a living building my crappy rookie designs sends chills down my spine. Funny thing is, I though I was ready for primetime until my first boss schooled me.

     

    My five year BSLA program was very intense and I still had tons to learn after I graduated. I don’t see how they could have crammed any more into it without killing students.

     

    Don’t be in too much of a hurry to start your own business. Unless you’re independently wealthy, it’s probably smarter to learn from your mistakes on somebody else’s dime.

    #158233
    Andrew Garulay, RLA
    Participant

    I think that the biggest negative about going straight into entreprenuership is that it isolates you. There is a reason that most states require an internship (besides exploiting recent grads). The alternative is like homeschooling yourself and expecting that the teacher is a legitimate mentor for the student while they are one in the same person. Working for others, especially others who are already successful doing what you want to do where you want to do it is of huge value.

     

    As far as starting out of school as a design/build goes, we have to understand that someone coming out of a BLA program with no relevant construction experience is not well suited to compete with existing landscape companies that have been in the business for a while. Whether that means their ability to construct, their ability to market, their ability to manage help, their ability to price out a job, …..

     

    Someone above posted that they did not feel well prepared to do business as a landscape architect. Clearly, we are even less prepared to do business as a design/build. A twenty four year old who has labored for a successful landscape contractor for five years is likely to be better prepared to run a landscape construction business than someone right out of school.

     

    Having said all of that, you have to do what you have to do to survive sometimes. Many people do take this route now and in the past as well. My best “internship” came after my licensing while working for a person with an LA degree who went directly into design/build in 1983. I believe him to be the very best high end landscape design/build on Cape Cod. BUT, he had worked many summers and after school for landscapers and masons before getting his degree. …. he never got licensed because he never interned since he was running a business (and he has no regrets).

     

    Two years working with him changed me from being a capable design employee to being able to effectively  operate as an independent landscape architect. Much of that had nothing to do with design and everything to do with, selling, pricing, quality control, dealing with clients, dealing with laborers (the worst) , and day to day business things that come up. I already knew how to draw plans and operate a shovel.

     

     

    #158232
    April Prey
    Participant

    A twenty four year old who has labored for a successful landscape contractor for five years is likely to be better prepared to run a landscape construction business than someone out of school.

    Bingo.  Thanks for confirming my train of thought.  This is exactly the type of person I’d want to partner up with: my design abilities + your knowledge of how to put it together.  A BLA a year ahead of me has approached me about going into business together once I graduate.  However, I don’t see the point of duplicating the skill set – we’d be woefully lacking in construction knowledge and have an overabundance of design/graphic presentation skills.  I don’t see a successful partnership there.

    But with an individual that knows how to build?  That could be a winning combination if done right. Unlike many of my classmates, I am in no to position to relocate – I have to look around me and see if opportunities are there. Like you said – “….you have to do what you have to do to survive sometimes.” 

    So, faced with the choice of spending a year or two sending out portfolios into a black hole – OR, doing market research to see if there is any need for residential/small commercial design-build with an able partner…

    It would appear that finding an individual with landscape construction skills that wants to take their craft to the next level, but might lack the artistic ability, or interpersonal skills to tease out the more intangible, emotional/psychological aspects of a design, would be much more likely than one of the few firms in my metro area needing an entry level landscape architect.

    I could be full of it, but one can dream…

    I poked around the other forum categories…but don’t see a “Trying To Make it On Your Own” type thread.  I might start one if no one points me to an existing one…at least we can dream on this forum!

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 148 total)
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