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Landscape architect training means preparing with fundamental courses such as horticulture in high school, obtaining a bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture, completing an internship, and finishing testing necessary to obtain certification or licensure. Requirements to enter the industry vary by jurisdiction, so individuals interested in the field should contact their state licensing department or major certifying agency for current standards. In most cases, it takes four to seven years to complete academic training and one to three additional years to finish required internships.
Individuals who want to become landscape architects can begin their landscape architecture training early on in high school. Courses such as ecology, biology, horticulture and chemistry all are relevant to the field. An emphasis in math or computers also is helpful, because much of landscape architecture work involves creating blueprints or models for landscape designs. Working as an assistant to a groundskeeper, landscaper, or nursery manager can provide some basic hands-on experience relevant to the industry during this time.
Landscape architect training starts with undergraduate study at a college or university. A bachelor's degree is the minimum education requirement to enter the industry, with many employers preferring a master's degree. In selecting a school, students should check that the institution is accredited by a major landscape agency within the student's jurisdiction. In the United States, for example, the major accrediting agency is the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
During study toward a bachelor's or master's degree, those completing landscape architect training normally take courses such as surveying, landscape design, geology, computer aided design, model building, site design and landscape ecology. Additional courses include construction, urban and regional planning, video simulation and general management. Some of the training is provided through hands-on projects, which allow the student to work under supervision in real-world environments. Many programs recommend a summer internship.
Even though getting a bachelor's degree is ideal for landscape architect training, some master's degree program allow individuals who do not have landscape architecture degrees to enter the industry. These programs take three years to complete instead of the usual two, because they have to spend some time teaching some of the information that normally is included in bachelor's degree programs. This option is a good choice for people who decide they want to get into landscape architecture later on.
Following the receipt of a bachelor's or master's degree, the next step in landscape architect training is to become certified or licensed if required by the architect's jurisdiction. This usually requires a minimum number of years of experience, as well as one or more exams through the state or a major certifying agency. In the United States, for instance, to get a license, a landscape architect must take the Landscape Architecture Registration Examination (LARE), which requires one to four years of experience and a landscape architecture degree. Architects are sometimes required to take an additional state exam that focuses on regulations related to architecture that are specific to the region. National standards for landscape architects include a degree, LARE completion and a supervised internship of roughly three years.
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