Yes, you might end up creating palatial backyards for rich people, but you might also help design restored wetlands, mountain resorts, urban plazas, and zoos. A landscape architect must have talent for both the aesthetic and the functional, the art and the science—you're creating an ecosystem that must thrive over time.
Since it costs little to open up shop, many landscape architects are self-employed. Those who are less entrepreneurial often work for the government. One thorn: Landscape architecture projects are subject to an ever growing thicket of government regulations. To be content in this career, it helps if you're an avid environmentalist and can tolerate the often labyrinthine approvals process. And if the stress builds, you can always seek a moment of peace in one of your landscape projects.
National: $64,200. More pay data by metropolitan area
(Data provided by PayScale.com)
Typically, you can land a job with just a bachelor's degree and a one-year internship. If you already have an undergraduate degree in a field other than landscape architecture, the way in is a three-year master's program.
- The Design Research Group, an industry research firm, publishes rankings and profiles of 100 programs.
- The American Society of Landscape Architects publishes a complete list of accredited programs.
Ecosystem Restoration. Governments and nonprofit groups are restoring increasing amounts of land to their primitive states.