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While certifications and degrees in the landscape field do exist and can be helpful, experience is most often the key credential for those aspiring to become a landscape manager. Other positions within a landscaping company can lead, through promotion, to a management position. A landscape manager's work is usually very hands-on, and employability will depend mainly on one's ability to demonstrate both strong leadership potential as well as practical ability, such as machine operation and knowledge of landscaping techniques.
The requirements to become a landscape manager and those to become a landscape architect, as well as their job roles, are quite distinct. The two job titles are sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably. A landscape architect is responsible for the design of various landscapes, including, for example, golf courses, university campuses, and shopping centers. Landscape architects decide the placement of green space, pathways, buildings and other facilities on these kinds of sites. Landscape managers might sometimes direct renovations to an existing landscape, but their main occupation is not the landscape’s design, but rather its day-to-day maintenance.
Licensure is a requirement in many jurisdictions in order to work as a landscape architect, but it is less common as a legal requirement to become a landscape manager. Even where the law does not require it, landscape managers hoping to distinguish themselves in their professions may seek certifications or join professional associations. It is also possible to work as both a landscape architect as well as a landscape manager, performing both roles.
Depending on the size of the landscape or the company, the manager might work completely alone on a site or be in charge of managing teams of hundreds of employees. Even when directing a very large number of workers, it is important that anyone wishing to become a landscape manager understand that it will likely be necessary to participate to some extent in manual labor, guiding other workers through example. Good landscape managers are familiar with the machinery and processes necessary to the fulfillment of their own and their subordinates' duties.
In a few countries, every level of postsecondary study — from certificates to PhDs — is available for those who want to study specifically to become a landscape manager. In most places, this does not represent a common area of specialization, and those who study with the aim of increasing their employability in this field tend to choose other applicable degree programs, such as management, civil engineering, environmental studies or horticulture. While one does not always require formal postsecondary studies to become a landscape manager, employers in many industries increasingly prefer some postsecondary education when hiring for management roles.
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