Sitting for LARE sections C & E in NYS- not enough work experience supervised by RLA…

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE Sitting for LARE sections C & E in NYS- not enough work experience supervised by RLA…

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    I’d like to know if anyone out there from New York has ever been granted approval to take the LARE without the required minimum work under an LA…


    Here is my story:  I graduated with an MLA in 1998, and worked part time (anywhere from 15 hours to 50 hours a week) for about a year and a half for a registered landscape architect. There wasn’t really enough work in that office for me to work full time, so I finally found a full-time job working in an engineering office, and I worked there for 9 years until I was laid of in February 2009. Most of the work I did there was typical of work I would have been doing in a landscape architecture firm: site plans, subdivision layout, planting plans, visual impacts analysis, stormwater biofiltration systems, habitat and wetland delineation and restoration, park and trail design, streetscape design, EIS’s etc. I took and passed sections A, B & D the first time I took the exam, and hoped I to take sections C & E.


    According to NYS regulations, you need 2 years working under direct supervision of a Lansdscape architect to sit for sections C & E, but the Landscape Architecture Board may opt to waive this requirement, upon review of material. Here is the language found on their website:

    “You must complete at least two years of your professional experience requirement directly under the supervision of a lawfully practicing landscape architect. You may make a written request for waiver of this requirement to the State Board for Landscape Architecture. You will be required to present, in person and to the satisfaction of the Board, evidence that your work experience is equivalent to that which would be obtained under the direct supervision of a lawfully practicing landscape architect.”


    I submitted a lot of stuff – they were vague as to what to turn in or what format was preferred, so I gave them hard copies of material, including drawings illustrating my work on projects from conceptual through construction document phases for many projects. I included a narrative about my contribution to each project, and a cover letter explaining my career trajectory to date (this was last year), the approximate percentage of time working on LA-type work, and discussing other projects I worked on. I had my supervisor write a letter explaining my work and how it differed from the work that engineers in the firm performed. I asked if I could appear in person to present my work, but they said that was not necessary.


    Needless to say, they denied my request for a waiver. When I asked if there was anything else they would need to see (because I really have done a whole lot of different things and couldn’t very well have submitted everything…), the only reply was that I needed to work for at least one more year under a landscape architect. Which would suit me just fine if there were any LA’s doing any hiring 🙂 They said there was no way to appeal the decision, I would just have to wait until I found a job with an LA.


    Now, more than a year later, I’m no closer to finding a job with an LA, and I’m just wondering if anyone in NYS has ever successfully accomplished this seemingly impossible feat.





    PS – I know there are already several discussions similar to this, but I am curious specifically about experiences in NYS.

    Theodore Tegen



    I am going through the same woes in MN.  Although I have already passed all sections of the LARE, MN won’t grant me licensure for the same reasons you state, not enough time under a licensed LA.  I’ve been working in the same capacity as you in an Arch/Eng firm.


    I’m jealous of NYS though, because MN does not have any provision for an experience waiver.  They won’t even give me a chance to make my argument, unless it is in front of a judge, with a MN attorney arguing against my case.  Awesome.


    It doesn’t really seem like NY has a provision for an experience waiver, either.   O_o   I wouldn’t mind taking the sections C & E, if they would let me, and then just sit on my hands and wait for the actual license – I think it would make my resume a little stronger when I am applying for jobs, because the potential future employer would see that they wouldn’t need to subsidize my exam, either as an outright expense or as a time sink (that is assuming I would pass… even if I didn’t pass, I think it would be a great experience to have had a shot at it while I am unemployed, sort of to keep my mind sharp and to know what I was getting into for a second time around).


    One of the biggest frustrations is that when I showed my work to the LA who I had worked for briefly, he said (and I paraphrase) “Wow! This is great experience – you’d never have gotten to work on these kinds of things if you’d stayed with me. Landscape architects really need to know how to do this stuff…”


    Oh well.

    Theodore Tegen

    I posted a thread last week about licensure woes, and it seems that there are some who disagree with the claim that working in an A/E firm exposes one to broader experience than working in an LA-only firm.  Myself and two firm principles (one Arch, one Eng) agree with you and your previous LA supervisor, that our experience is much broader in an A/E firm than in an LA-only firm.  Of course it depends on the firm, but it still lends credence to our argument.


    Perhaps if you were able to get your previous LA supervisor, and maybe some other LA’s to write you letters of endorsement, it might begin to sway the board’s decision?


    Hi Chris,


    I too have had similar experiences with the NYS Office of Professions regarding professional experience requirements.  I’ve found them to be very rigid with the experience gained under “allied professions”.  My situtation was similar in that I worked for years under the direct supervision of a registered landscape architect, but within an architecture firm.  That firm was not licensed to practice landscape architecture (to qualify as a multidisciplinary firm a partner must be registered to practice LA).  Upon applying for the CE portions of the exam, I was denied in the same manner as yourself.


    In all my wranglings with the state, I’ve found them to be completely unwavering in their experience requirements.  I also have yet to hear of a sucessful petition for waiver of experience in NYS.  While I understand their reasoning behind the strict requirements, to regulate landscape architecture as a profession, it fails in practice especially in this tough economy.  Looking at licensing statistics for LAs in NYS, it’s extremely difficult to gain their required experience due to the small number of licenses (let alone availability of work).


    So, unfortunately there is no recourse for us.  However, be sure to spin this positively when interviewing, that you’ve successfully completed ABD and within 6 months you would be eligible to sit for CE.  With your experience level and drive for professional advancement, I would think that prospective employers would understand the difficult position you’re in.





    John Payne


    I have to agree wtih Mark.  NYS OOP denied me 9 months of work experience because the firm was not licensed to call itself an LA firm similar to Mark’s case.  I had my former employers submit a letter, but to no avail.  I ended up just sucking up the time and waiting.  I just took the C and E portions, conditional on the fact that I will have the required experience met in February this year.

    Another pleasant note- I got an MLA as well with a non-design Bachelors degree.  NYS told me that I had to have four years of work expereince, not two, as for some reason (unlike most states in the union) they do not give as much weight to the MLA as the BLA.


    Jordan Lockman

    I wonder why there are so many different types of programs out there. It is wierd that a person can go to school for 3 years and get an MLA while someone else has a BLA that took 5 years and still others have a 4 year BSLA. In many ways these three degrees are all at the same level and some states arbitrarily put one over the other as far as experience.


    I can’t believe that working for a registered LA in an “unlicensed multidisciplinary firm” doesn’t count!  That is just crazy and I don’t see anything in their regs that would make anyone think they would be able to do this. I’m all in favor of protecting the profession, but not from itself. 


    The fact is, engineers and architects have enough overlap to be able to approve almost anything that a landscape architect can do, and there a a whole bunch of “landscape designers” who can do a better job with planting plans and small-scale design than many LA’s can, but landscape architects don’t seem to lobby hard enough for getting themselves appropriate credit or recognition. In a lot of towns’ site plan and subdivision regulations I have seen, plans must be prepared by architects, engineers and surveyors, but landscape architects cannot have final sign-off on plans (OK, I understand that you always need a surveyor for a subdivision, which is cool with me – they work hard in miserable conditions….), even though LAs are often very well equipped for much of this work.


    I worked on stormwater plans, doing calculations for pipe sizes, and outfall and risers for ponds. At one point years ago, I spoke to the people at the office of the professions and was scolded for doing these calcs – told I was not allowed to do them. Well, in the office I worked in, we all did them, even undergrad interns – obviously the PE project engineer looked at them before stamping the work, but I thought it was kind of short-sighted to be told that I wasn’t allowed to work on it.  As a landscape architect, it helps to realize that yes, a stormwater pond or swale will inevitably need to be 5 times bigger than you expected, it won’t be able to work on a slope with a 10% grade, and that the outfall structure is going to be huge and ugly if you don’t think about it first. But we collaborated with many landscape architects who really had no concept of this, and got really upset when we had to alter their plans to come close to meeting stormwater standards.


    As for school, I reach all 12 credits based on academics alone, because I have another masters in planning… I’m still supposed to get 2 years minimum professional credit. Fine, I’ll work with that.


    I wrote to find out about getting a refund of my application fee – I think it was $275 when I applied. I can get a refund of $155. It would have been nice for them to tell me when I had applied that there was no chance of them ever letting me take the exam so that I could have saved my money and spent it on something useful like the LEED exam or a set of garden tools to start my own landscaping/garden design enterprise.


    Anyway, Happy Holidays!


    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    I would get licensed in another state just to have it done. I finished my license for Idaho after I moved to Massachusetts and took the exam in Maine. I got reciprocity in Massachusetts after I completed requirements for work experience. Having the license in another state helped me get the job that got me the added work experience that I needed. Do what you can when you can do it whether or not it is in traditional order.


    Put that roast in the crock pot before breakfast and you won’t waste time preparing dinner after you get home from work!



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