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?

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    Earthworker I pretty much agree with you on much of what you’ve posted, but I have to disagree with you when you say the profession has fallen off a cliff. Perhaps you’re so focused on your current situation that you’re not seeing the complete picture. Things are tough right now. I’ve been surviving month-to-month for the last 4 years, but I’m grateful because I’m able to scrounge up just enough work to live just barely “o.k.” I can’t really ask for more than that when I still see lots of empty storefronts here in an area that is supposed to have so much wealth. I figure when everybody else’s business picks-up mine will as well. I figure if I can do o.k. in a bad economy, I should be able to do great in a good one. It’s just foolish to think that landscape architect’s should be doing well when most lawyers, realtors, surveyors, architects, builders/developers, etc. are just getting by.


    “It will take from you as quickly as it gives.”


    Seriously dude, just listen to yourself. You sound like a jilted lover or a victim. Who goes into landscape architecture thinking its easy? That’s one thing my little state school program prepared me for. After my first day on my first job I certainly knew what I signed up for.


    Yeah you might have to relocate a couple of times in your career, so what. People have picked up their families and moved to greener pastures since the beginning of time–not a good excuse.




    Thanks for the follow-up.


    Study hard and meet as many good people as you can, do that and you’ll have a long career in Landscape Architecture. Oh yeah, don’t listen to naysayers. You make your own luck.

    Kim Romano

    Thank you!  And I agree.


    Thanks so much for proving my point.  You’ve been ‘surviving’ for four years and I am assuming you have experience.  Do you think things will pick up enough in the next two-three years for an inexperienced mla grad to get decent work at graduation?  I am just trying to give her a little insight into the profession as it stands today and will for the immediate future. She can do with it as she wants.

    BTW I never thought LA was easy.  Nor have I ever been afraid of hard work. I work day and night to get work in the door as a sole proprietorship. Your comment about relocating a couple of times in a career is really short-sighted and ignorant.  People can’t just say oh well let’s sell our house, move and hope there is work in another state.  In case you hadn’t noticed, people are having a hell of a time just trying to selling their house even if they are staying in their state.  If you have only been ‘surviving’ for the past 4 years and living with empty storefronts, why haven’t you moved your family to greener pastures?


    I see where your heads at. I recon you’re not a “glass is half full” kind of a person.


    In my world where I see people that used to be my clients living in 2 bedroom apartments and having to tell their kids why they can’t afford dressage anymore, being a survivor is a badge of honor. Yes I have lots of experience, but nobody’s going to hire my old ass to do CAD drafting anyway. So, I’m not some young LAs competition. Besides LA’s are not immortal, believe it or not the old guys do die eventually.


    Sorry I can’t say what things will be like in three years and neither can you. If I have to endure another 4 years of surviving along with millions of Americans then I will continue to do so with a positive attitude. I learned as a child that whining is not going to help a bad situation one bit.


    Prior to the crash people could sell their homes. I understand it’s not easy to sell NOW (and you call me ignorant and short sighted). But eventually the housing market will have to recover or this country is kaput. Oh wait a minute maybe that crystal ball of yours is telling you that the housing market will never recover and America is doomed as well. Quit clouding the water, LAs aren’t the only ones whose homes are underwater.


    Greener pastures? Over my career I’ve followed them through Texas, Ohio, Kansas, Connecticut and New York. I’m on the ‘Gold Coast’ of Long Island now. This is as likely a place for the green shoots to take a hold as anywhere on the planet. I’m taking my chances right here…for now. For all I know we could end up back in Texas or servicing the new wealth in North Dakota.




    I am more in the “glass full in a shaky hand” category. I greatly appreciate your clear eyed, shoulder to the grindstone outlook. I share a lot of that, and that is what has propelled me back to China. We are both doing the probable, improbable and anything in between, to get through this, and we both know we are from the lighted end of the tunnel that seems to keep getting longer.

    I can also tell we are both of the same or similar age and vintage.

    I admire you for your tenacity and the encouragement you try to offer here. I will try to model your jaded optimism more here in the days and months to come.



    Earthworker, for the past 2 years I’ve been going around in circles with this “LA employment issue” and nothing ever comes of it. Every month or two, someone new post this similar question. I say let the grads and others sink or swim. Don’t bother with anymore suggestions. Let them find out the hard way! Previous comments in here by recent grads say to “hang in there” or “the profession is alive” are also employed overseas because they couldn’t find work stateside.

    You are correct. LA is a nomad profession. The only true stability is to have your own firm or be a college professor. I said a number of times that I’ve yet to see an LA (employee) be in the same firm for 20 years or longer. And I’ve worked at a few large design firms. Even LA Principles either were laid-off or left to start their own office. Why is it that I can’t say the same for engineers or architects? Many had worked under the same roof for well over 20 years.

    Our friend Craig is simply in denial. He’s got his head so far shoved in the beach sand where no sunshine can penetrate. For 4 years, he’s “barely” able to survive and that is his justification of how great this profession is. I left the LA profession when I accepted my current position. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Craig is probably being supported by his wife and they have no children. It makes it easier to pack and go. FYI Craig, most lawyers I know are doing great. Maybe in an oversaturated market like NYC. Yes, struggles are everywhere, but most of the sad news you hear or see are tied to the construction industry.

    Landplanner, Facebook is a buy at $14 or less. Critics were saying the same thing about Apple and Netflix a decade ago. Go back and read the rantings on Google when it went public. One of the key ingredients you seek in a stock to purchase is it an industry leader? FB lead the way in social networks. Buy only what you know!

    Want a job after college?…

    And spare me with the LA is a creative, design profession notion unlike those listed above. Everybody has a hobby outside regular 9 to 5 jobs. I know of a medical doctor who does arts & crafts on the weekend. She sells her work at the local farmer’s market every Saturday, does volunteer work for third world countries and travels frequently abroad for fun. 


    Did somebody say something?


    Thanks landplanner I appreciate that.


    I love your tunnel reference and the fact that you talk in terms of passing through. Isn’t life all about going through cycles of good and not-so-good? Who knows how long this funk is going to last or what the next “sure thing” profession is going to be. If I focus too much on the things I can’t control, I’m probably neglecting the things I need to be doing right now to make it through this.


    Honestly I don’t care if you’re living in a 100 square foot apartment and missing out on all the hot dogs and apple pie. Landscape Architecture has taken you to the other side of the world. At the very least you should be proud of that. I salute you.


    I’m going to continue to grind and hone my skills because I’m going to have to compete against bad asses like you when we start building the things we’ve needed for so long in this country.  

    April Prey

    Good luck Kim!  Texas sounds like a blast…I want to do a BBQ tour of the area some day.  That….and spend a week at a bucking bull ranch so I could draw bulls day in and day out.

    The naysayers seem to have forgotten that you already have a career that gave you a skill set you could fall back on if necessary – or even possibly merge some of your skills/experience with the MLA.

    Let us know how it goes – would love to read about it.

    Kim Romano

    Thanks April.  Good luck to you too!  I heard that UW has an excellent program.


    You heard right about the  UofW program. I am proof positive of that. Did it increase my employment appeal ? Yes, back when there was real, positive employment in our profession.

    Your encouraging naysayer.




    Yeah, you heard me my friend. Loud and clear too. Mano a mano. See the latest business news today? New round of market jitters, unemployment rate goes back up, consumer spending went down, new construction permit applications fell…it all spells doom for the landscape architect. Minimum of 5 years before any significant construction boom happens again. Now you have some folks seeking work in Brazil. What’s next? Sometimes people are so stubborn that they can’t see the forest for the trees. Firms have learned to get along with fewer design staff and those mass hiring days of 2006 is long gone!

    You, earthmover and I, know the real deal regarding this roller coaster profession. I’ve lived thru the peaks and valleys in my 14 years and its no wonder why I have NEVER seen an LA “employee” remain with the same firm for 20 yrs. During an interview, I had always chuckled whenever the company mentioned “retirement packages” because we all knew I wouldn’t be there long enough to collect it. I witnessed 2 non-owner Principals get laid-off several years ago before this recession hit and that became the real eye opener for me. That is why I decided to find something more stable and get away from the private industry. The public field has its shares of lay-offs too but at least they are not as cavalier about it as the private firms. Since then, my feeling for this profession has steadily declined. I think they terminated those two Principals to save cost and then promoted lower pay, senior associates to replace them.

    ASLA and LARE should give up, toss in the towel and let anyone become a landscape architect. Anyone who can drive a pickup truck, a shovel in hand, have a pencil, black marker, a few crayons and yardstick be able to design the residential backyards to community parks and everything in between. No need for a license. Give the work to architects, civils, landscape contractors and planners.


    Five years and it will be boom times again! Heck as long as I can continue to catch fish and gather berries, I can hang on that long. I guess I won’t need to move to North Dakota or Brazil.


    BTW aren’t you the guy that posted a Photoshop-ed image to prove a point? Oh yeah that was you. You have absolutely no credibility dude. Why would anybody listen to you?

    Jay Smith

     Reply by Craig Anthony19 hours ago

    Five years and it will be boom times again!

    That’s what everyone was saying five years ago. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking.

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