April 20, 2011 at 12:25 am #163543
I am approaching my one year anniversary since graduation from my accredited MLA program and have yet to secure the traditional LA job with the hopes of becoming a RLA in a timely 2 years (State of IL). I have moved from my beloved NC to follow my partner to Chicago – and thus far the city has been dry in the sense of available positions that will allow me the opportunity to get the required hours under a RLA.
I have secured a position in a loosely related field (nonprofit) and am receiving valuable experience in contracts, project management, etc but am itching as the one year anniversary quickly approaches – i have yet to really get to do real landscape architecture work.
I am wondering if there are any alternatives to racking up some of the required hours if I am not gainfully employed by a company that staffs a RLA. Also, a little background – back east my family owns/operates a medium sized design/build firm and it was always the plan that I would return to work and grow the company after registration.
Any suggestions on how to get back on track with acquiring hours? As I understand it, in the state of IL, you are allowed to take the exams prior to having all your required hours and next year I fully intend to do so.April 20, 2011 at 2:10 am #163560Thomas J. JohnsonParticipant
Does your family business employ a RLA that you have been working for all this time? 😉April 20, 2011 at 12:26 pm #163559Andrew Garulay, RLAParticipant
If you can’t get intern time, set yourself up to have an advantage over others when the jobs to become open to hoards of people waiting to fill them.
Many are going to be spending this time getting LEED accredited, or working for landscapers, nurseries, or graphic art related jobs. … those “extras” are going to be a dime a dozen in my opinion.
Two areas that won’t be so widely represented in the volumes of resumes arriving will be actual work experience in civil site plan skills (anything from drafting residential sites to actively participating in layout, grading, retaining wall design, … or just working on a survey crew) and wetlands and/or other regulatory issue related work (it can be as simple as drawing simple planting plans for mitigation to flagging wetlands and representing clients at hearings), Working these two areas also puts you in the same room with potential employers and gets you more aware of what work is going on out there and where the opportunities are greater and where they are weaker.
You may want to try to see if you can get in as a drafter in a civil engineering office (small and local), or on a surveying crew (there will be opportunity to download data and get them into drawings … it begins there and then it can open up into more site drafting), or for an environmental consultant.
I know an ASLA national award winning landscape architect who started out as a receptionist back in the darker days of the 80’s in a surveyor’s office (had GSD MLA).April 20, 2011 at 4:53 pm #163558
Move to Idaho! haha…you can take your test here without working under anyone.April 20, 2011 at 4:56 pm #163557
No, unfortunately not. Up until now, all of their work has been smaller scale or projects that do not require a RLA, thus their team of horticulturist and landscape designers has been sufficient.April 20, 2011 at 4:58 pm #163556
🙂 Great idea, but unfortunately to be registered in other states such as NC or IL – the time requirement still stands.April 20, 2011 at 4:59 pm #163555
Such a great response. I will look further into those options and keep an eye out for opportunities.April 20, 2011 at 5:02 pm #163554
it does…but the clock is ticking then…six years for our neighbor Washington State…if self employed and licensed elsewhere.April 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm #163553Jordan LockmanParticipant
I worked design/build for the first 3 years out of school. It took a year and a half off the experience requirement since it counted at half time. I didn’t end up needing it though since I waited until I was seven years out to get licensed.
If you want to get a jump on things take all your tests and know that you have the luxury to take your time. Some people can get their test done in 6 months but most take a year or two. So get started with the tests!
Otherwise you could look into working part time in or around the field.April 20, 2011 at 5:23 pm #163552
I do think it is a good idea to reevaluate your time table. My husband took and passed all the tests…it is possible to pass more then one section at a time, especially the three multiple choice tests. He studied for all of them at the same time and passed all of them at once. Then he took the design and grading exam and passed one…then finished up the last one six months later. I know some states you can take certain sections without employment…BUT make sure that there isn’t a time limit between when you start and finish the tests. I know each state is different.
I also think that working design/build some places can count towards experience.April 20, 2011 at 6:10 pm #163551Tanya OlsonParticipant
I really appreciated this reminder Andrew. – “I know an ASLA national award winning landscape architect who started out as a receptionist back in the darker days of the 80’s in a surveyor’s office (had GSD MLA).” If we stay in the field we, in all likelyhood, have loooong careers ahead of us. Its hard to remember that when you just want to get started. I also found great inspiration in the Ken Burns Frank Lloyd Wright documentary – he didn’t really get to the work of his life until he was in his late 50’s.
Along with all your other recommendations….good advice!April 20, 2011 at 6:49 pm #163550Jason T. RadiceParticipant
Another nice thing about this profession, we don’t have to retire…ever. We can consult or freelance part time later on in years. We don’t retire, we expire.April 20, 2011 at 7:43 pm #163549mark fosterParticipant
The key is “some places”–licensure in every state is different. What is the difference between IL, and the state “back east”?April 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm #163548mauiBobParticipant
…for every success story, there’s about 10 failed stories! Tanya, sometimes you need to fail at something to make you realize that your talent is better suited for another profession.April 21, 2011 at 12:07 am #163547mauiBobParticipant
I agree with nrschmid! In my opinion, graduating students or entry level candidates should NEVER be allowed to take the exam. Or make the exam more difficult: Take out the multiple answer test of Sections A, B & D and replace it with write-in answers. So there’s no chance, zippo, nada of getting it “luckily” correct. You either know it or not.
And any state, such as Idaho which doesn’t require minimum supervision time under a RLA should be banned from the profession and/or not have that license be recognized as legitimate. Definitely when it comes to reciprocity!
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