Job locations for Landscape Architects

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Job locations for Landscape Architects

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  • #3557890

    July 7, 2019……Once again, let’s look at the LAND 8 “Job Board”. 95% of the jobs
    are located in places like California, New York, CT., Washington State, etc. Only a couple of jobs are in locations where the cost of living is reasonable and where there are no State Income Taxes.

    People and corporations are leaving both California & New York…big time. I mean, look at all of the problems…especially in Southern California with homelessness and major housing shortages. Add forest fires, mud slides, high taxes, ridiculous cost of living, high gasoline prices and don’t forget earthquakes.

    I STILL maintain, “location” where you are employed as an LA is important to consider.

    For me, I always looked at “everything” in a city/state before I would consider interviewing with an LA firm. Even things like weather, politics, entertainment activities available, just everything.

    There ARE many other Job Boards….like INDEED.com and many others. I would recommend checking other job boards out as well…for some better job options (locations).

    #3558022

    July 19th…..again, looking at the LAND 8 job board today. 95% of the LA job openings are in locations like California, CT., New York…high cost of living and high state income tax states. I see a few jobs located in Florida…but, you have to be aware that the State of Florida requires a pretty challenging “State of Florida Landscape Architecture Exam”…in order to become a licensed LA in that State. Of course, there are TONS of other Job Boards on the Internet…maybe those have more favorable “locations” for LA jobs.

    #3558242

    An LA JOB OPPORTUNITY……in HANOI, VIETNAM, really?????? Wait a minute, I enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served 4 years (partly to stay OUT of Vietnam).

    Still…looking at the LAND 8 job list. Sure glad I’m NOT a young LA searching for an LA job in the U.S…..way too many jobs in just undesirable cities/States, IMO. I do see a small handful of descent locations/opportunities…but, too few.

    #3558248

    Just my opinion here (on this thread and others on LAND 8)…if you’re going to express an opinion or try to hold yourself out as an “expert” on any subject with regards to Landscape Architecture…or be critical of other members here on LAND 8…maybe you should have a NAME and PROFILE…and too, seeing some PORTFOLIO samples would be helpful. If a member is employed by a specific LA firm, that would be interesting to know as well. IMO, credibility matters when I’m reading different member’s comments here on LAND 8.

    If a member here on LAND 8 is “Anonymous”, how do we know they are even enrolled in a University studying Landscape Architecture, an LA graduate or what their experience level is?

    #3558314
    FeetandPedals
    Participant

    I thought that this post might help people do their research for US states and regions. There’s an infographic with job density and median wage for each state. Cost of living not factored in (and of course can vary really wildly within a state.)
    Landscape Architects: Salaries and Prospects

    Interesting to note that nationally LA wages increased faster than inflation last year, though! Some of the wage variation probably due to licensing, although I have no idea what’s going on in Tampa, then, since Florida does have degree requirements.

    #3558315

    To: FeelandPed. I looked at the LINK you provided. IMO, this info. is NOT accurate. For example…the median LA income in California cities are WAY TOO HIGH. I did additional research and found that in CALIFORNIA….the Median Salary runs between $52,000.00 and $65,000.00. The ONLY way you’re going to earn a SIX figure income in California OR in any other State is….if you OWN your own LA firm OR are a Principal in a major LA firm.

    Salaries are just NOT very good…especially the first 5 to 10 years. And the Bureau of Labor and Statistics recently LOWERED their job outlook for LAs for the next 10 years from 6% to 4%….that doesn’t look good to me.

    Reading the LINK you included. It stated that MORE THAN 50% of Landscape Architects are working for Architecture or Civil Engineering Firms…..IMO, that’s a PROBLEM. Those are NOT where young LAs are going to really LEARN all they need to know to be a successful Landscape Architect. I guess some people will say, well, a job is a job……of course, everyone needs employment after graduation, but, working for an Architect or CE firm is not IMO a good place to be….unless those firms have LARGE talented LA departments.

    And….just NOW looking at the LAND 8 Job Board…..I counted maybe 5 jobs out of that ENTIRE LIST that were NOT located in high cost of living – high State income Tax Cities/States. I just don’t believe that the Owners of an LA firm are going to offer an LA MORE $$$ just because the Firm is located in California, New York or another high cost of living area. Best do a TON of research on a City and State before you commit to an LA job in a specific area.

    J. Robert (Bob) Wainner

    #3558316
    Andrew Garulay, RLA
    Participant

    High cost of living states are typically states that have a large wealthy population (in numbers, not percent of population)and “big business”. Those are places where more money is spent on things that landscape architects do. That in turn means more opportunity. That is why you see job advertisement in those areas.

    Also, high tax states are states that spend a lot of money – not saying that is a good thing, just that it is a fact. Some of that money is spent on big projects that require “landscape architecture”. Another reason you see job listings in those states.

    I’m not advocating for high cost of living states, but it is reality that this is why you see jobs in those areas and not in Appalachia.

    A lot of landscape architecture is driven by the local value of aesthetics. While everyone enjoys nice aesthetics, not everyone values aesthetics enough to pay for it. When we are talking about developers spending money on aesthetics it needs a return on investment. They don’t get that return in areas where it does not give them a marketing advantage and they will lose return on investment if others are gaining a competitive advantage through aesthetics in their market.

    Basically, landscape design is a “keep up with the Jonse’s” industry. If the Jonse’ s are looking good the Smith’s will follow. If the Jonse’s don’t have anything the Smith’s will be content to do the same.

    No matter what area of the profession you work, or what region you are in, you won’t get anywhere without the Jonse’s valuing what you do.

    #3558317

    The point I was trying to make all along is…..(well, of course there will most likely be more job opportunities for LAs in larger cities – even some mid-size cities). But, if you look at the “majority” of the jobs listed on the LAND 8 Job Board, they are located in “high cost of living that are also high State tax cities”.

    Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City….plus, cities like Boston, Washington, D.C., Detroit and Chicago…these are “high cost of living and high State tax locations” because they are predominately run by Democrats. Compare those city’s/States to Cities and States that where Republican leadership is found….you’ll find both lower costs of living and lower State income taxes. Cities like Phoenix, Miami, Dallas, Atlanta, etc…have reasonable costs of living. Texas and Florida do not have State Income Taxes. Arizona has a 3% to 5% State Income Tax and Georgia has a 1% to 5% State income tax. I realize this is a bit of a “political” spin on this issue…but, I’ve done the research, and it’s true. A LOT of people are moving out of NY and California…due to the high costs of living and high State Income Taxes…that should tell you a lot.

    And, NO, I do NOT believe that just because a STATE has higher income taxes, that money goes to an especially good cause…certainly doesn’t go to assist the “Landscape Architecture Profession’.

    LA graduates and even those with a LOT of experience should do their research on the City & State where they are considering even going for an LA job interview. Determine IF you believe you could afford to live in that City on the Salary you believe you will be offered? Because, there are HUGE differences between several Cities…need to go in with your “eyes wide open”.

    J. Robert (Bob) Wain

    #3559129

    OK…..It’s now, Feb. 16, 2020 and I was just looking at the LAND 8 Job Board. I didn’t see more than maybe (2) Landscape Architecture jobs in “LOCATIONS” that would be considered “good locations” IMO.

    Go Look. California, New York, Idaho, Maryland, Connecticut…..ALL locations with high cost of living and high State Income Taxes. Plus, most recently in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and New York City….homelessness and shortage of affordable housing. Not very good “quality of life” situations. Plus, these expensive areas would be very difficult to start a Landscape Architecture Career…if you just graduated from a University.

    I would recommend looking on line @ maybe INDEED.com for a job or various other job boards on-line. There ARE better locations to practice Landscape Architecture.

    #3559344
    J. Nielsen
    Participant

    What a difference two months can make.

    with the current pandemic, graduating students are already having a hard time finding positions. I know, as I am one of them (albeit, I am entering a second career). how many principals are willing to hire someone fresh to work from home?

    This is also an opportunity within the industry to embrace the new normal. With technology as it is and telecommuting, it is not necessary to live in dense population center because of the job. If one has a home office, an internet connection, and the discipline to make deadlines, designers can work from anywhere.

    #3559347

    Working from Home. For myself, I have been working from my “Home Design Studio” (on my own), since Feb. of 1991. However, I spent (15) years designing for (2) different Landscape Architecture Firms…before going out on my own in 1991.

    Even with those 15 years of design experience…it took me a full (2) years to get my own “Private Practice” up and running. This really is pretty much the norm…Doesn’t matter how much experience you have, money or how much marketing, etc…takes at least (2) years to get up and running…to the point where you’re can fully sustain yourself, financially. It took me (2) full years of some very aggressive “marketing” and taking on every little project I could get my hands on…until early 1993, when, I finally began to get LA design contractors from some major Developers.

    I can’t really see Owners of LA Firms hiring recent LA Graduates…then, ask them to work from home. IMO, a recent Graduate NEEDS to be working in an LA Firm (under the direction & guidance) of experienced Landscape Architects. I was fortunate enough to gain (15) years of design experience working for an with many very talented, creative & experienced LAs…which made it possible for me to go out on my own…and do it successfully.

    Although, I will add this. There may be “some” LA firms who might be willing to hire young LA’s right out of College (who are proficient with autoCAD and other types of computer software programs…3D, sketchup, etc…where they could provide “production assistance” to an LA firm. You may be looking @ $20 to $25 per hour?

    I wish ALL LA Graduates the very BEST OF LUCK…just don’t really have any additional ideas answers for you here. Very difficult times for America…just hope we can get the Nation back to work (safely) ASAP!

    #3559350
    J. Nielsen
    Participant

    4.5 million students are graduating this year and entering workforce. The honest answer is that traditional work models are going to have to change. Why would a recent LA Grad put themselves at risk of exposure doing entry level CAD work, which is what you hire them for, when that work can be done remotely? The primary question of this thread is Location. I am saying that with the advances in technology and in the current health risks, location no longer matters.

    Supervision of work does not have to be in person. Digital media and the internet rendered the days of an associate lording over a designers shoulder obsolete. Work is done on a computer, sent over the internet, red-lined on an IPad then sent back for revision. This does not require being in an office, commuting, or paying astronomical rent in location that most recent graduates cannot afford.

    I specifically set myself up to do what you call production assistance. I know that a $20-$25/hr in house employee, in reality, costs the firm $100-$150/hr when you add up the overhead. (Insurance, State requirements, Sick Pay, etc.) I run my own machines and pay my own insurance, taxes and software licenses, and am still cheaper than hiring a traditional employee to come into the office. I also get to live where I want as opposed to relocating to a location that I cannot afford. I have adapted to the current situation, the next question is whether the industry is going to adapt as well.

    #3559354
    Andrew Garulay, RLA
    Participant

    The industry will find the best way to get work done like it always does. That is how it adapts. It may or may not match up with how those looking to work in it feel it should adapt. Those entering will have to adapt to how the industry goes. Water runs downhill.

    #3559355

    Telecommuting via autoCAD, etc Well, I think that’s GREAT, if someone owns an LA Company and hires several young LAs for “autoCAD” assistance. However, I chose a different route, a long time ago.

    In Feb. 1991, I est. my Own (1) man LA firm…never hired any LA’s to back me up. I personally designed every project, handled all meetings, inspection trips (even out of State), etc. Probably designed approx. 250 projects between 1991 & 2020…and at least (120) of those projects were upscale Multi-Family projects…not the most glamorous type of projects to design, but, they sure paid well (those projects averaged approx. $30K each)…my only overhead was the IRS. So, you know who got to keep all those profits? Myself & my Wife. I just didn’t see (still don’t) the sense in hiring younger LA’s to assist me. Funny thing too about my LA Career…I’m probably one of the VERY FEW LA’s still practicing who has NEVER used “autoCAD”. And, I’ve never had a single Client ask me to produce any of their projects using “autoCAD”…I have just seriously focused on having exceptional “Hand Drawing Skills”…sort of have to when you don’t use “autoCAD”.
    Every Project on my LAND 8 Project Profile…where designed & drawn “By Hand”.

    If anyone had told me 30 years ago, that I would STILL be designing anything @ the Age of 70, I would have laughed out loud, for sure. Could have retired several years ago, probably should have. But, I still enjoy the “creative process”, so, why not keep going.

    I still don’t know HOW all of the NEW LA graduates are going to make it in the “Real World” today…things have changed dramatically sense I graduated. I think I counted over (75) U.S. Universities with LA Degree Programs…and each University Graduating Class has from 25 to 50 Students. I wish them all THE BEST OF LUCK…won’t be easy, but, if you really want to be a successful LA, you just have to tell yourself “Don’t Give Up”.

    #3559383
    J. Nielsen
    Participant

    You are assuming that AutoCAD is the only format that is conducive to telecommuting and that hand media is not. Technology is such that a designer can hand draw on a mobile tablet or on a Wacom, which automatically becomes digital. If you want old school low-tech, trace paper can be scanned, digitized and e-mailed. Point being, there is a lot more than can be done remotely than just AutoCAD and SketchUp.

    This is my second career after retiring at 40 and going back to school. I am a new designer, but with 25 years of experience in technology and project management. I had a pretty deep background in hand media before I ever thought about going to university and went to school specifically to learn the digital media tools so that I can expand my skillset.

    Addressing your question on this thread, technology has developed to the point that designers can work from anywhere if they have a decent computer with the appropriate software, a flatbed scanner, a decent internet connection and the self discipline to meet deadlines. Across the country,firms are shutting down or minimizing operations during this quarantine, which I do not belive is the right answer. Work can still be accomplished under these conditions as the technology is available to keep production moving.

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