Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects › Forums › EDUCATION › Anyone know what the job market is like for an MLA grad?
- This topic has 1 reply, 26 voices, and was last updated 10 years, 3 months ago by earthworker.
April 6, 2012 at 4:15 am #158186April PreyParticipant
For you, Craig. And the thanks. I never fail to be amazed at how helpful and generous one stranger can be to another.April 6, 2012 at 4:23 am #158185AnonymousInactive
My longest stretch of unemployment was 8 months. I had a tough time finding my first job during the late eighties/early nineties recession. But this recession/depression is the worst.April 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm #158184Kim RomanoParticipant
Not sure this helps as I’m not a LArch and started a thread to get an idea of the job market. BUT, when I was doing my initial research before applying to grad school I got in touch with a few principals of Landscape Architecture firms here in NYC. I mentioned how old I was and nervous about starting a new career at this point in my life. One piece of encouragement he had was about a fellow student he met in grad school. She was in her late forties and “sky rocketed” in the career and started her own firm a year after getting her MLA. This was more than a decade ago but I guess there is precedence. Have a good weekend!April 6, 2012 at 5:12 pm #158183Jay SmithParticipant
“do you think an employer is going to be more interested in someone that pulled themselves up and created opportunity or who bagged groceries at Winco and sent out hundreds of resumes and portfolios?”
Having a partner (husband, wife, significant other, best friend, etc.) who is also producing income or taking on half the risk makes a big difference. I would say there a lot of LA’s who would go solo if they were in a financial position to do so. I would hope employer’s aren’t that narrow sighted.April 6, 2012 at 11:24 pm #158182Mike MetevierParticipant
You dont mention what your BA is in, so let me get right to the point. STAY OUT OF THE FIELD OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE. Most Bachalor degrees in Landscape architecture have a 5 year program, a master has only 2 years. Most firms know better then to hire someone with a masters with only 2 years of education then to hire someown with a BLA who will have 5 years of education in the field of landscape architecture. I have worked with and meet some with a masters and frankly what they dont know is shocking. Add to that the difficulty of getting a job in the field now your better off doing something else. I promise you, if you waste your time with a masters, you will be shocked at how much more someone with a BLA degree knows more then you. I have had my BLA for 27 years, and still find this field hard to find a good job that stays stable. Many (5) layoffs in my life. Best of luck to you.April 7, 2012 at 10:28 pm #158181Brian YParticipant
An MLA is typically 3 years.April 8, 2012 at 3:44 am #158180
Your plan is workable if you can find the right person. Most builders may want to employ you rather than partner up. A new landscaper may want a partner. You may wind up doing some of the actual landscape construction work to stay busy. This means shoveling bark, raking future lawns, or clearing irrigation ditches. The paper work is about 20% of the project and the actual on the ground work is 80% so your partner will be working while you have nothing to do in the office at first. If you and your partner get a good reputation then you may stay busy designing while the builder builds.
The builder will also be your consultant so your construction details will be correct and won’t fail which costs you money. Some large landscape construction firms make great money and might want to hire a good designer. I did this at one point in my career. They will keep your designs grounded and do-able. while you can live out your landscape dreams on paper,April 8, 2012 at 3:57 am #158179April PreyParticipant
Fabulous info – thanks. Especially the info about the ratio of paperwork vs. building – I had wondered about that.April 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm #158178
Mike, nice pictures of your landscape projects on your personal page.April 9, 2012 at 8:59 am #158177mauiBobParticipant
Brian, it depends on your bachelors degree. 2 years for MLA if you had a BLA/BSLA or 3 years if some other type of degree. And many schools vary on this requirement.
Bottom line is why a MLA? Isn’t anyone paying attention to the economy and which professions are ALWAYS hit the hardest during recessions? People are just so stubborn and don’t make wise decisions. In my 14 years in this profession, I have yet to meet a landscape architect who has been with the same firm for more than 20 years, unless they were a principal/owner. This field has such a high turnover rate. The only true path to employment stability in LA is to be your own boss, but some people are just not meant to be entrepreneurs.April 9, 2012 at 10:24 am #158176Jason T. RadiceParticipant
Some places are also now offering a 1 year MLA or MSLA for those who may have a 5yr BLA and substantial experience, kind of like a professional MBA. For those who are experienced and licensed, there is no need to rehash old classes just to get an MLA when you already HAVE a professional (and more in depth) BLA. The educational structure of this industry is appaling when compared to our allied professions. No reason for it.April 9, 2012 at 11:57 am #158175Brian YParticipant
Most people who go for a post-prof 1 year MLA aren’t doing it to take the same courses as they did for their BLA, but rather for research and academic purposes (at least at most top schools).
And mauiBob, the masters realm is still dominated by MLA 1s, not MLA APs. What I find funny is that, coming from architecture (also a field that is extremely cyclical), I’ve actually found a plethora of jobs between 09-now (basically when our economy tanked), all extremely well paying, and this seems to hold true with all of my friends/colleagues. And I owe most of it to the design thinking and software skills that I acquired during my undergrad years. Yes, if you were planning on doing traditional LA work (garden planning, residential, etc), then good luck. But a MLA 1 these days gives you those niche skills that research/critical design firms are looking for.April 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm #158174
Bottom line is why a MLA? Isn’t anyone paying attention to the economy and which professions are ALWAYS hit the hardest during recessions?
This is so true. Anyone in the building industry gets hit the hardest and not just LAs. LAs do get the worst. I found this out in 1982 when my Oregon design build business went from going wide open to nothing for several years. Lesson in economics.
I suppose a MLA would help if a LA is going to apply for jobs with the Forest Service or BLM. In Oregon many LAs are getting jobs with county planning departments. The other option is to go for a PHD and become a college professor. That would be fun and pays well. Kim, look well beyond the MLA to see what’s out there for you.April 13, 2012 at 7:33 pm #158173Leslie BParticipant
Thank you Craig. I’ve harbored the dream for many years to practice LA but have allowed life’s realities to stand in the way. At the age of 50–(yeah…slow learner…..) I’ve decided to take the plunge and will begin a 3 yr MLA program in Florida in June. This hasn’t been an easy decision as I will be living 3 hours away from my household and, given the demands of the program, will probably be lucky to make it home for a few days each month. Even though I appreciate the candor, many of these posts were leading me to second guess my decision. Thanks for shifting my focus back into gear.April 13, 2012 at 8:47 pm #158172AnonymousInactive
Glad to help Leslie. I’d also like to add, most of my friends make more money than I do. They have all the trappings of “success”, the mc mansion, the BMW, Rolex watches, yada-yada, but none of them are as happy and youthful as I am. Not one. I believe it’s because I am making a decent living doing something that turns me on. Twenty three years later and I’m still learning and growing as a professional.
LAs are some of the coolest people to be around. I feel we have a certain bond to one another because we’re so misunderstood. The thing I miss the most about going out on my own is being around other LAs. Spend a little time in an LA office and visit a few engineering or accounting firms. The atmosphere is totally different.
I commend you for leaning out and taking a shot at the brass ring. Twenty years from now, you won’t be telling any sad stories of regret. People that live their lives with alligator arms, never reaching out or taking chances usually live pitiful, boring lives. Thank goodness the world isn’t full of “practical” people that emotionlessly adhere to charts and graphs to make life decisions.
Best of luck with your studies.
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