MLA needed now for an Entry Level Job?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION MLA needed now for an Entry Level Job?

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    Have any of you read the job requirements for some of those LA jobs that the Army Corp. of Engineers advertises? Its like you’d need at least a minor in hydrology and many years of experience doing specifically the job they are advertising to qualify! Makes me think they only promote from within. I met one LA who was with the Corp. a few years ago when I taught a review session for Section B of the LARE. OK, he wasn’t a licensed LA yet, so he couldn’t really use the title at the time. Anyway he seemed to really know his wetlands stuff. You always see their jobs advertised on the USAJOBS site, but the requirements seem quite impssible to gain without actually working for the corp.!

    Trace One

    Ha! anecdotal evidence, Mr. McDonald! Harvard is WAYYYY worse than Penn, of course, because it’s Harvard..and that is strictly based on nothing..
    and yes, Nick..who will make you the most money..I geuss it depends on where exactly you need help..I once didn’t hire a guy because he had an earring..I’ll just leave that lay there..nothing else to say..


    I entered this field eight years ago with merely a Bachelors of Science in Parks and Recreation emphasizing in Plan and Design. I knew AutoCAD and GIS (never used the GIS). The positions I applied for always required a BLA but I always sent my resume and portfolio anyways. I posted my resume on ASLA’s website in 2004 & 2007 and couldn’t keep up with the amount of firms that wanted to interview and hire me in CA and FL. I’ve been employed as a plan reviewer and landscape inspector with the City, and as a landscape designer, and a job captain that has led up to a junior project management position with firms. My responsibilities are the same as someone who has either a BLA or MLA. In one instance, with one firm despite that I had four years of experience and knew irrigation and had more responsibilities, I was paid the same as my cowoker who had no experience but had a Bachelors in Dance and a MLA from Cornell.

    Because of this recession, I have been working part time since 2009 and plan to get an MLA now even though I don’t want to take out those dreaded loans. I want to keep active during this recession as I see there are limited job opportunities like there were. I am hoping an MLA will increase my design abilities and lead to a big leap in promotion and look great on my resume in addition to all this experience. I should have no problem finding the position that fits me best when this field recovers from the recession.

    I hope this helps you all. Just for those of you entering the field, be very prepared for an unstable career. Find a firm that has a variety of clients. For instance I worked for a firm that did mostly master planned communities and when the housing market crashed, they went from 20 to 4 employees. With another firm, 60% of our work came from one client. One day they called and told us that all projects are to be terminated. That meant we started working part time, some weeks only 5 hours a week! This causes you to have to go to firm to firm based on the market and then your resume is filled with 2 – 3 year positions which now employers are picky about, as they are with everything.

    About the requirements to know all of those different types of software, many firms are looking for people who can still do hand graphics and that’s what’s most important to them. In Southern California there are a lot of mid sized firms that like showing their clients hand drawn or photoshop renderings and most of us can do that. If they go beyond that, they hire a graphic artist to prepare the specialized digital graphics. So perhaps think about that role you want to serve in a firm, as a technical graphic illustrator or a landscape architect managing and designing projects. Be careful not to get type-casted right out of school, because they will keep using you for those tasks. They get into those habits. You earned that MLA for a reason, for your future career goals. The economy will get better and we can do what we want perhaps open our own firms! Good Luck!

    Frank Varro

    An accredited MLA degree for someone with a non-design background is 3 years, not 2, FYI. In which case it compares equally to a BSLA in design training, as most BSLAs are 4 years, and 1 year of that essentially is gen.eds that MLAs do not take.

    I think the base attraction for an MLA is that you have someone with the design training of a BSLA, but who also has experience in other fields, bringing a wide worldview, and more life experience into the fold. It may not always be true, but that is the intended benefit employers are looking for.

    Frank Varro

    Also, a masters in urban studies does not compare to an MLA. Imagine the paper writing for the masters with the studio work for the BSLA at the same time and you have the fun that is the MLA.

    Zeke Cooper

    WOW! May be the dumbest thing I’ve ever read on this site……………

    David Farber

    Supply and Demand. There are more people, supply, then there is demand. I havent really seen this though. Companies asking for MLA’s for entry level? Where? What companies? If your good enough they will want you as an investment.

    Thomas J. Johnson


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