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Landscape architect salary & career outlook

Ever go to a park and wonder: who the heck planned and designed this? If so, you may want to look into becoming a landscape architect.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, landscape architects design land areas for parks, highways, recreational facilities, airports, and other properties. Duties range from preparing the specifications and cost estimates for the site plan to analyzing environmental data on land conditions. Many landscape architects specialize in an area, such as streets and highways or parks and playgrounds.

Becoming a landscape architect, according to the BLS, requires becoming licensed in your state and usually a bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture. Attending one of the many landscape architect schools may prepare you for this career.

Landscape architect salary

According to the BLS, as of May 2012 landscape architects in the United States earned a mean annual wage of $68,030, with the lowest-earning 10 percent making an annual wage of $38,450 and those in the 90th percentile making an annual wage of $101,850.

Which industry you choose as a landscape architect could make a financial difference. According to the BLS, the top-paying industries in the United States for landscape architects as of May 2012 were:

  • Local government - OES designation ($86,030 annual mean wage)
  • State government - OES designation ($83,930 annual mean wage)
  • Federal executive branch - OES designation ($83,320 annual mean wage)

What state you live in may also factor into how much you could make as a landscape architect. According to the BLS, as of May 2012 the top-paying states in America for landscape architects were:

  • District of Columbia ($85,890 annual mean wage)
  • California ($83,190 annual mean wage)
  • Massachusetts ($81,450 annual mean wage)

Even the city you live in within your state can impact how much you could earn as a landscape architect. Look to California, for instance. According to the BLS, the top-paying metropolitan areas in America for landscape architects as of May 2012 were:

  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($104,100 annual mean wage)
  • San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA Metropolitan Division ($101,740 annual mean wage)
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA ($89,570 annual mean wage)

So be smart about where you live and what industry you enter if you're going to become a landscape architect, since it may make a financial difference.

Job outlook for landscape architects

Prospective landscape architects, rejoice! The profession is growing.

According to the BLS, employment of landscape architects is expected to grow by 16 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is about as fast as the average of all other occupations. The expected growth, according to the BLS, can be explained by new construction of existing buildings and the increased demand for sustainability and more beautiful landscapes.

It's unclear where growth will occur the most, but perhaps history will repeat itself and it will be in the states that the BLS reported as having the highest concentration of landscape architect jobs, which as of May 2012 were:

  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • Oregon

This may be your calling. Research and look into a landscape architect education online to find out.

Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Landscape Architects, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Architecture-and-Engineering/Landscape-architects.htm#tab-2

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Landscape Architects, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes171012.htm