If you are not a registered LA, why haven’t you gotten the stamp?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION If you are not a registered LA, why haven’t you gotten the stamp?

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • Author
  • #162869

    I’ll go first.


    I haven’t accumulated enough documented experience to meet the requirement yet.  I’m slowly knocking the tests out of the way and doing a few other things required by my state ahead of time.  The tests are a slight pain in the ass, but not much else.  I openly question their value as a measure, but I don’t see it as being that big of a deal.


    I don’t need a license for my job, but I want to get it anyway.  


    I’m lucky in that Alaska is the only state I’m aware of with a “mentorship” option to fulfill the experience requirement.  I think in most other states I would have had to quit my job and go be someone’s CAD monkey for three years if I wanted the coveted RLA designation.  Of course, had I bothered to read the fine print, I could have been documenting the experience quite some time ago.


    Let me get this straight…you go from Hawaii to Arizona and now live in Alaska?! Alas-freakin-ka? Chup, they should automatically give you a license for doing the unthinkable! Honestly, it would take a $150k/year salary for me to venture into Alaska. Hiking up the summit of Mt McKinley is the only thing I want to see there.

    I didn’t take the exam until well into my 8th year in the profession. Never needed it or had the desire to be registered. I watched many of my co-workers take the exam and had to do retakes after retakes! I passed the entire LARE in one shot, mainly because I had been doing sections A, B and C for 8 years! Site design was so easy, I think I fell asleep during the testing period. My lowest score and struggles was with section D. Barely passed it, nonetheless, good enough. Personally, I find too many entry levels trying to pass the exam without enough training and knowledge. Most employers will pay for your first exam sitting. I have yet to pay a single penny for maintaining my license or paying for that exam!


    FYI, I’ve seen the Chupacabra from my nights living in Scottsdale. Photo below. No more Chupacabra for you, but watchout for the Sasquatch.



    I grew up in AK so it’s no big deal for me.  There’s a lot more opportunity up here for the short and medium term (no recession, $100 barrels of oil), which is why I turned down a job in Kona just this week.  I miss Hawaii and will get back there someday.


    What made you decide to get registered after 8 years?  The reason why I’m pursuing it is because I think that while it is not the only way be successful in this profession, it is important to the long term health of Landscape Architecture that it is, and remains, a profession backed by law and professional licensure. 

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    Most of the many people with LA degrees that I know who are not licensed either were already in business prior to getting their degrees, or went into business before doing an internship. None seem to be very concerned about it. Some are freelance landscape designers, some are environmental landscape designers, but most are design/build residential (and residential scale commercial) landscape contractors.


    In other words, the internship would have taken them away from their immediate progress in their chosen career paths.

    Christopher Patzke

    I graduated grad school 12 years ago.  I’ve moved so often (Virginia, DC, SF and now Boston), have taken some non-traditional jobs (architecture general contractor, landscape curator) and have not made enough money at times, that I have not qualified for, or had the money, to sit for the exams.  Last year the company I worked for as an Associate imploded.  It gave me the opportunity to re-evaluate my commitment to the profession I chose and I started the license process.  I am coming up on my grading section retake in June.  It was the only section I did not pass.  Hopefully I will be able to call myself a Landscape Architect by the end of the year!

    Jennifer de Graaf

    I don’t think that is true.  I’ve been asked to stamp drawings, and have seen my employers do the same.

    Douglas M. Rooney

    I just got my license last week. My route to RLA was rather circuitous. My degree is in Architecture. I worked in that profession for 6 years out of grad school. I never got my Architect’s license because I listened to bad advice that I “would never need it, I would always work for someone with a stamp, and it was a huge waste of time and money”. I was in my 20’s and I bought it. In 2000 I was given the opportunity to work for a LA. I took it and worked full time in Landscape Architecture for the next 7 years. In 2003, I looked into getting my license in LA. I ran up against my state’s requirement of a Landscape degree (of ANY kind) that was needed to qualify to sit for the exam. My Masters in Architecture did not count, but if I wanted to deal with the time and expense of getting an Associates degree in landscape, I could then take the LARE. I decided it was not worth it.

    In 2007 I decided to start doing contract work in both fields as a way to get some variety and flexibility in my work. Then the Depression happened. I was struggling to live off of scraps of what little contract work was left, while looking for full time work again. That is when reality set in. Positions at my experience level now REQUIRED a license and positions below my experience level required expert level knowledge of 40 different software programs. To anyone who is currently employed and not going through the pain of looking for work, you have missed the pleasure of looking at job postings that REQUIRE skills and experience levels that are highly unlikely to even exist. Candidate should have 2-3 years landscape experience and at least 2 years experience doing high-end residential work, detailing, spec writing, EIRs and must know Revit. HUH???

    I quickly learned that potential employers saw my bifurcated career and lack of professional credentials as unfocused and lacking dedication. A year ago I decided a license was a must. I began the process of getting my LA license in a neighboring state that accepted my education. I completed my CLARB record and finished the LARE within a 6 month period. Last week I had my oral interview and got my license. I am now beginning the reciprocity process with my own state.

    To any young people questioning the worth of a license, let me say to you, one day you will NEED it. Right now you are young, energetic, bursting with creativity ,CHEAP, and you can crank out flashy renderings by the dozens. A license seems unnecessary. But over time that will change. I know a man in his 50s who owns his own LA firm but has no license. When his licensed partner retired, he was forced to go find another partner in order to keep his doors open. I will never let my future be in someone else’s hands again. If the job opportunities I currently have in the pipeline do not pan out, I will be starting my own firm. I now have that option.

    So to answer your original question Chup, I was not a RLA until last week, because I was shortsighted and foolish.

    Jon Quackenbush

    Congrats on the license!

    mark foster

    I didn’t get my license until I began considering owning my own business.  I second the opinion–it may not seem important now, but may be later–and you don’t want to try and pass the test with a middle aged memory!!!

    jennifer Bloch

    Architects legally can stamp the landscape documents in CA if they have directly supervised the work being done; but why rely on an architect when it is possible as a licensed landscape architect to stamp the drawings without having to be supervised…legally?

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Lost Password