The Most Affordable Paths & Career Potential in Landscape Architecture
The field of landscape architecture involves the design, planning, and creation of natural environments. After earning a landscape architecture associate degree online, graduates often have a variety of professional opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects construction and extraction occupations to grow 10% from 2018 to 2028, faster than the national average for all occupations. This industry growth leads to increased demand for landscape architects.
This guide covers the benefits of earning a landscape architecture associate degree online. The following sections explore the skills learners develop, typical program requirements, and scholarship opportunities. Earning an online degree can be a convenient option for students with personal and professional responsibilities.
What Will You Learn in an Online Associate Landscape Architecture Program?
Students in two-year landscape architecture programs generally take courses in plant life, design, and the natural sciences. Curricula vary by school, but most programs require classes in biology, plant life, water flow, ecology, site design, surveying, drafting, and construction. Some of the top landscape architecture programs also include urban and regional planning coursework.
Along with landscape architecture coursework, students complete general education courses in areas including English composition, public speaking, mathematics, and computer science.
Common Classes and Coursework
LANDSCAPE HORTICULTURE BASICS
This semester-long course explores the use of plant cultivation in landscape design. Students learn the elementary biology of plant life and how to keep species healthy. They also consider the ornamental uses of various plant families in planned landscapes.
Learners in this class prepare to work with the native ecology of a landscape. Course topics include natural resilience, sustainability, regeneration, and habitat. Students gain a holistic understanding of landscapes and learn how natural features work, with and without human alteration.
Soil forms the foundation of landscape design. Students in this course learn about the components and behavior of soil, and they prepare to maintain optimal soil health. Learners explore topics including conservation, fertility, irrigation, and erosion.
Trees serve as major landscape features across most of North America. Students explore how tree cultivation works and learn about its place in landscape design. Learners study the needs and qualities of various species, and they examine how trees react to unique environments.
Students learn about the insect species that are the most problematic in cultivated lands. The class explores species including weevils, borers, aphids, carpenter ants, and beetles. Learners examine how each insect impacts the landscape and how to address the presence of pests.
Skills You Will Gain
While earning a landscape architecture associate degree online, students gain skills in communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Students also develop technical skills related to the field and prepare to pursue four-year and graduate degrees.
Most two-year programs require coursework in communication skills. Landscape architects must communicate clearly with drafters, coworkers, and clients, both in writing and verbally.
Problem-solving is a major part of the design process. Landscape architects must be able to adapt their designs to accommodate unanticipated challenges.
Landscape architects also need critical thinking and decision-making abilities to identify needed changes and determine the appropriate courses of action. These professionals must read the landscape, interpret the wishes of the client, and find the best way to implement solutions.
Students in associate programs in the field should become comfortable with landscape architecture technology, including geographic information systems, GPS, and design software.
Average Degree Length
Most online associate degrees in landscape architecture take two years to complete. Programs typically require 60 credits, though some schools require as many as 68. Full-time students generally take an average of 15 credits per semester.
Many factors can impact degree completion time, including enrollment status. Full-time students graduate more quickly than part-time learners who take fewer credits per semester.
Other factors that affect completion time include the availability of required classes and accelerated courses. Many accredited schools do not offer all classes every semester. Some colleges offer six- or eight-week terms, which allow learners to earn credits more quickly. Graduating in less time can sometimes reduce overall tuition costs.
Career Opportunities With an Associate Degree in Landscape Architecture
Landscape architecture students gain skills in art, design, and biology. After earning an associate degree in landscape architecture online, graduates often pursue careers in forestry, soil science, hydrology, and geology. Fields that require related skills also include architecture, drafting, and interior decorating.
Potential Careers and Salaries
After earning a landscape architecture associate degree online, many graduates pursue careers in the gardening, landscaping, and design industries. These professionals often start their own companies. Many landscape architects visit sites, assess the terrain, and work in an office to draw up plans using a drafting program. Other architects not only create the blueprint but also implement the plans, moving earth and planting gardens.
Some graduates find landscape architecture jobs with corporations, architectural agencies, schools, or hospitals. Landscape architects can also work in the public sector. The table below shows the median annual salaries of common careers for graduates of landscape architecture programs.
5 Landscape Architecture Scholarships to Apply For
Many scholarships are reserved for landscape architecture students. Learners can apply for grants and awards based on financial need or merit.
- Who Can Apply: These scholarships are available to students who are 17 years or older attending or planning to attend a landscape architecture program at a trade school, college, or university.
- Amount: $2,500
ELIZABETH GARDNER NORWEB SUMMER ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES SCHOLARSHIP
- Who Can Apply: This program from the Garden Club of America helps students gain experience while pursuing a degree related to the environment. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen entering their second year of study at a U.S. institution.
- Amount: $3,000
WOMEN IN ARCHITECTURE SCHOLARSHIP
- Who Can Apply: The Association for Women in Architecture Foundation offers scholarships for women studying architecture or landscape architecture at an accredited institution. Applicants must be California residents or attending a California school.
- Amount: $2,500
VECTORWORKS DESIGN SCHOLARSHIP
- Who Can Apply: Participants in this international design competition must be enrolled in an accredited program and must have at least six credits. The winner receives the scholarship and a unique promotional opportunity.
- Amount: Up to $10,000
CLARA CARTER HIGGINS SUMMER ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES SCHOLARSHIP
- Who Can Apply: Available to students who have completed their freshman year, this award helps fund a project that benefits the natural world. The Garden Club of America delivers this scholarship program to encourage students to pursue careers in an environmental field, such as landscape architecture.
- Amount: Varies
Educational Advancement in Landscape Architecture
Graduates who have earned a landscape architecture associate degree online can qualify for positions in the field and can pursue further education. Completing the first two years of studies at a community college can help learners reduce the overall cost of their education. Many associate degree-holders transfer to a four-year program. Professionals with a bachelor’s typically earn higher salaries than those with a two-year degree.
Should You Transfer to a Four-Year Degree Program?
Individuals with a bachelor’s degree are often more competitive candidates for landscape architecture jobs and positions in related industries. Associate students who plan to transfer to a four-year program should research their college’s transfer agreements and the requirements of the four-year institution they plan to attend. Consulting with an academic advisor early in the process can simplify the transition into a bachelor’s program.
What Degree Paths Should You Consider?
Earning an associate degree in landscape architecture can lead to positions in a variety of industries. A two-year degree in the field can prepare learners to pursue further education in forestry, horticulture, and environmental science.
Bachelor’s students in forestry explore topics similar to those that landscape architecture programs cover. Required courses in forestry programs typically include soil science, ecology, entomology, watershed management, and silviculture.
The study of landscape architecture overlaps significantly with the study of garden culture and management. Students in either program learn about basic plant physiology, native botany, and hydrology.
Students in environmental science programs gain a basic understanding of the natural sciences. While earning an associate in landscape architecture, students complete relevant coursework in biology, sustainability, people in the environment, and general education.
Professional Organizations and Resources
Professional organizations unite like-minded individuals. Joining an organization in the field allows students and professionals to network, share information, learn about the latest news and research, discover job opportunities, and pursue continuing education.
The AHLP works to preserve culturally significant landscapes so that parks, gardens, and open spaces can inspire the next generation of landscape architects. The organization sponsors an annual meeting, provides scholarships, distributes news, and offers online resources.
This organization supports the nation’s public gardens and offers benefits to anyone interested in cultivated landscapes. The association offers professional development, networking opportunities, a career center, the latest news, and advocacy.
With more than 15,000 members across the country, ASLA is one of the largest professional organizations for landscape architects. Members have access to networking opportunities, continuing education courses, a conference, and Landscape Architecture Magazine.
This organization supports landscape design professionals. Members receive access to a convention, a conference, professional development, and advocacy.
CELA represents more than 120 institutions, along with individual members who are involved in the teaching of landscape design. The organization offers an international membership and provides networking events, a conference, research opportunities, a journal, news roundups, and access to awards and job postings.
CLARB works to ensure that landscape professionals carry appropriate registration to work safely. The organization prepares and administers the Landscape Architect Registration Examination, one of the premier credentials in the field.
Established to promote sustainable human environments, EDRA supports members worldwide. The association provides student resources, a directory, knowledge networks, publications, forums, and a variety of annual events.
This membership organization promotes ecology as the basis for landscaping decisions. The organization works toward this goal through science, research, and advocacy.
Based at the University of Colorado, the Natural Hazards Center promotes harmonious living with nature. The center disseminates information about dangers posed by the natural world, including large and small disasters.
SAF connects foresters across the country. The society provides forums, continuing education opportunities, advocacy, and an annual conference. Membership includes access to the SAF career center, publications, and grants.