Landscape architects salaries??

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    Chiara Goitein

    What’s the typical low-high range for entry level landscape architecture positions in California? Public vs. private consulting firms?  


    A couple of yrs. ago (in states like Arizona & Texas), I was seeing entry level LA salaries at $27K to $32k (those were Private Practice).  5 yrs. ago, I was seeing those same salaries closer to $45k to $50k.

    My guess would be that “public” LA salaries would be higher than “private”.  Personally, I was never interested in a “public” sector job of any kind….but, that’s just me.

    However, I always avoided LA job searches in the State of California…..due to the very high cost of living and high taxes.  Don’t get me wrong…California is FANTASTIC….hey, I was born in So. Cal.  But, I can also add that LA firms are NOT compensating (adjusting salaries) for their LA employees due to the high cost of living or high tax situation in that State.  Because, if LA firms were doing so…they’d need to adjust salaries upwards of 15% to 20%.

    But, I really don’t think SALARY should be the main focus while job searching.  LA grads need to get their foot in the door of a good – well established LA firm and get some EXPERIENCE.  Get in a firm and LEARN from the experienced and talented LA’s around them.  As your LA skills improved and you prove yourself…I think the salary should follow.

    It would be my advise to LA grads to NOT even mention SALARY in a first job interview.  If an LA firm is interested….they most likely would invite you back for a 2nd interview and then maybe offer you a position at the firm – and make you a salary offer. 

    I would like to highly recommend a job interview book to ALL LA grads.  It’s called “HIRE ME” by Patricia Drain.  Great book.  It explains everything you really NEED to know to give a great job interview.  And, because LA jobs are just not easy to find these days……if you do get a job interview with an LA firm….you need to make SURE you give an outstanding interview.  This book is only a $10 book…on – well worth the expense.

    Good Luck!

    J. Robert (Bob) Wainner

    Chiara Goitein

    thanks for the input. completely agree salary is not the overarching goal but it is good to have a sense of your local areas range. 


    Hey Brian;

    I did some checking on COST OF LIVING……take ONLY “housing” for this comparison.

    I began with Los Angeles….and compared several cities “housing” to Los Angeles.

    Here are my results:  San Francisco…….+44%

                                      Phoenix, AZ………..-54%

                                      Dallas, TX…………..-60.7%

                                      Miami, FL……………-40%

                                      New York, NY……..+122%


                                      Washington, D.C….+30%

    You can of course a LOT of various COST ISSUES for every major U.S. city.  But, the point I was making…..entry level & early career LA’s just aren’t paid very much.  So, when you’re doing a JOB SEARCH, you really have to a LOT of “research”….look at everything in locations where you are wanting to practice Landscape Architecture.  Oh, I know, times are rough now, everyone can’t just pick and choose WHERE they wish to work as an LA. 

    However, there are DEFINITELY reasonable cities/states to live and work in…..California and New York are NOT on that list… far as I’m concerned.


    Oh, I understand your philosophy, Brian……WHERE you live, work & retire is important, for sure.

    But, consider this…..think of the “dollar figure” in terms of California State Taxes and very high cost of living…….$___________?  That amount of excessive expense COULD have been deposited in to your 401K……..for retirement.

    That’s “part of the reason”, many thousands of Californians (and New Yorkers) are moving out of those states.  They probably can’t afford to retire there.

    Just a thought.


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