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Old 10-16-2014, 06:42 PM
KevinKeefe KevinKeefe is offline
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Any Licensed Landscape Architects?

If so, what college did you attend and would you recommend going for it?
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Old 10-16-2014, 07:59 PM
cotyledon cotyledon is offline
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I'm curious about this too . I always think about going back to school for it
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:01 PM
KevinKeefe KevinKeefe is offline
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Yup, I think it definitely helps and would get a lot more work.
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Old 10-16-2014, 09:32 PM
kellanv kellanv is online now
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I'm not licensed but I did graduate from Texas A&M with a degree in landscape architecture. The program there is generally rated highly. It was an extremely challenging program. We started with 90+ classmates and graduated with 32.

I think getting a license would be helpful for pursuing some types of jobs (civic, large commercial, very picky high end residential). The main reason why I don't have mine is by Texas law, we are required to spend at least a year working directly under a licensed landscape architect to qualify. During the bust I was working for the family design/build biz and now its doing great. I would have to dump a profitable company to become a CAD monkey for a year.
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Old 10-19-2014, 09:27 AM
AGLA AGLA is offline
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Yes. U Idaho. It is a whole separate occupation and has a serious time commitment both with school and internship working full time for a licensed LA before you can get licensed yourself (most states).

If I was a landscape design/build contractor already established in business I would not pursue either a degree in landscape architecture or the path the getting licensed. The reason that I say that is that it will take you a minimum of 4 additional years if you already have some sort of bachelor's degree (2 years for master's and two years internship), five years if you have a year or more of college under your belt (3 years studio classes, two years intern), or 6 years if you are starting from scratch. That assumes that you'll get a full time job working for a licensed LA when you get your degree and right now very few are getting those internships.

The biggest thing is that you'll have to shut down your business to do so because the accredited degrees require several studio classes that run for two and three hours each and you'll have design projects that will take an additional 20 hours a week on top of all your other classes.

The end result is that you'll have a license and a stamp and it will make no difference on how your work comes to you. You will have a much broader knowledge base and experience with lots of things you would not run into on your own through the internship that will make you a more effective designer.

What most landscape contractor's expect from an LA degree and a license is that clients will flock to them because they have the credentials. That does not happen just because you have a stamp, nor does it not happen because you don't. Either way, you have to establish a reputation based on your built work, referral from others, and how well you present yourself to potential clients. Very few clients actually know that there is a license for LA nor do they care. Most states have laws requiring an LA license to practice landscape architecture, but when you read the law in its entirely the exemption list pretty much says "only a licensed LA can practice landscape architecture, or anyone else". What you can't do is call yourself one or state that you do landscape architecture.

Bottom line is that it is a huge commitment of time and money that only makes sense if you want to shut down your business to be a Landscape Architect in several years. I did. I don't regret it, but it is a totally different profession.
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Old 10-19-2014, 10:42 AM
Ormond32176 Ormond32176 is offline
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I was considering getting a degree and license from the 5 year program at Auburn University in Alabama. I just think 5 years would be better spent going to various trade schools and specialized internships.
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Old 10-19-2014, 11:39 AM
kellanv kellanv is online now
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It really depends on what you want to do. IMHO becoming licensed would really only be beneficial if you wanted to be design-only for commercial/civic projects where having a stamp is required. You could build too but for the time/money needed to put into the license I would have to make sure it becomes profitable on its own.

As it stands now, we do pretty decently sized landscape renovations for multifamily, restaurants, venues etc. and the stamp has maybe been an issue 2-3 times. Usually we'll sub a CE or LA if we need something with a stamp. I got my irrigator's license to handle that work as well. The degree/interning definitely helped with my knowledge/design skill but that can be learned over time.
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Old 10-19-2014, 01:38 PM
AGLA AGLA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kellanv View Post
I would have to dump a profitable company to become a CAD monkey for a year.
That is exactly why it would not be the best move for most contractors already in business. I personally know more contractors with LA degrees and no stamp than I personally know licensed landscape architects. They used the knowledge and skills and did not worry about the stamp. Many of them are better designers with more experience than may of the stamped guys.

I also know a lot of really good landscape designers with no degree.

One thing you also have to be aware of is that if you get an LA stamp other LAs will not have you bid to build their work. Not a big deal if they are not having you bid now, but could be a big deal if they shut you off on building their work. It absolutely will happen.
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Old 10-23-2014, 12:20 AM
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alexschultz1 alexschultz1 is offline
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it all comes down to your long term goals. If you want to spend your life behind a drafting table working for a landscape firm making (x) per year +benefits, then follow through with the arc degree. If you plan on working for yourself, screw college, and go work every day (6am-9pm)
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Old 10-23-2014, 09:44 AM
AGLA AGLA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexschultz1 View Post
it all comes down to your long term goals. If you want to spend your life behind a drafting table working for a landscape firm making (x) per year +benefits, then follow through with the arc degree. If you plan on working for yourself, screw college, and go work every day (6am-9pm)
It is not quite that simple. While I agree that you'll never make a fortune working for someone else as a landscape architect, many do extremely well doing plans AND contract administration. Some charge their clients 20% of the entire cost of the job to take bids, hire the contractors, inspect work, approve work, release payments, and take care of the whole job.

That is a higher profit than most landscape contractors make on a job and they don't pay for construction equipment or deal with the hassles of hiring and dealing with landscape laborers. .... very low overhead with a high profit.
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