Available certifications for landscape architects

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE Available certifications for landscape architects

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    celeste dolbec

    I’d like to make myself more marketable and was wondering what other certifications (besides LEED) are out there for Landscape Architects. I have a strong horticultural, landscape design background, but haven’t had the opportunity to practice my skills at a Landscape Architect Firm. Any ideas?

    Jordan Lockman

    When I first graduated I took the test and got certified by the local state Nursery and Landscape Association. I am sure that your state has something similar. It helped me get my first design/build jobs and I learned some new things while studying. So never hurts, I have been keeping it up since it is cheap and fairly easy.


    Wyatt Thompson, PLA

    I am certified by my State DOT as a job site inspector and by the American Concrete Institute as a Concrete Field Tester. Not really typical landscape architecture credentials, I know, but when work was really slow a year and a half ago, these creds kept me busy in the field for several days. And as luck(?) would have it, there happened to be a good number of questions on the LARE about concrete testing procedures which I only knew because of the ACI certification. (I should mention that I work at a firm that is primarily a civil engineering office, so the push to get these certs was definitely influenced by the engineers that I work with and for.)

    jennifer Bloch

    you could become an arborist or get a landscape contractors license.


    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    I would suggest that you don’t get sucked in to getting more of the same certifications that many other landscape architecture job candidates get.


    It looks like you are near the coast in Maine. Your best bet for opportunities while staying put is with high end residential I would suspect. The niche expertise that I suggest that pursue is in coastal wetland permitting. I don’t know that you need a certificate, but practical experience is highly transferable. Ocean front properties here are getting picked up on short sales by people who still have money. There is still a fair amount of raze & replace going on as locations that were not available are becoming available. You guys have brutal property tax, so I would think this niche is still pretty active up there.


    Where do you get that practical experience? – Civil Engineering offices.


    You should have enough site plan drafting skills to make you useful in a civil firm and the added extra of horticulture strengthens that. If you go in looking to get hired for landscape design, they’ll probably pass on you. If you go in looking to draft site plans, you’ll have a shot. Present yourself as a site planner who has the added heavy credentials of horticulture and landscape architecture rather than a landscape architect looking for a place to work.


    A lot of the work is boring, but it is a good place to ride out the economic storm, strengthen your site planning abilities, network for the future, and get a lot of permitting experience. If you can get that gig, you’ll be a heavy weight candidate when the economy turns.


    Believe it or not, many CE students do not get a lot of site plan drafting experience in school. We had 70 applicants last spring for a CE entry level job and none had much more than a semester of Autocad applied to site plans. CE offices also don’t lke the idea of training future CEs that may open another CE office in town … you can’t do that (I was told that this made a difference when I was hired at my last job). The fact that I had drawn many more site plans than other applicants was the reason that I was hired at the first CE office I worked in.


    They may even let you do your own landscape design business on the side …. they did with me.

    celeste dolbec

    Thanks for all the advise. I hope to start working toward a certification this winter while things are slow.



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