Online Associate Degree in Landscape Design

October 19, 2021

Online Associate Degree in Landscape Design

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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 or could continue working toward a bachelor's degree. 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

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.

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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.

true Landscape Architect

Landscape architects design outdoor spaces for clients. They assess natural areas and create blueprints for changes. These professionals work on site and in an office. Some landscape architect positions require a bachelor's degree, but many require only an associate degree.

Median Annual Salary: $68,230

true Drafter

Drafters use instruction and data from architects to create blueprints and technical drawings. Most drafters work at computers or drafting desks, but some visit job sites. Most drafting positions require an associate degree.

Median Annual Salary: $55,550

true Grounds and Maintenance Worker

Corporations, schools, hospitals, and communities employ grounds and maintenance workers to improve the aesthetics of their facilities. These professionals often provide landscaping services, which involve the maintenance of lawns, gardens, and other outdoor features.

Median Annual Salary: $29,400

true Surveying and Mapping Technician

These technicians collect and deploy data for surveying and cartographical firms. Surveying technicians often work outside, holding transits and taking measurements. Mapping technicians typically work at computer stations, using GIS programs to create maps.

Median Annual Salary: $44,380

true Environmental Scientist

Environmental scientists study the impact of human activity on the natural world. These professionals conduct field studies, monitor conditions, conduct research, and consult with public and private parties. Environmental scientists can work for the government, conservation organizations, and corporations. Most positions require a bachelor's degree, but some entry-level positions are available to associate degree-holders.

Median Annual Salary: $71,130

Source: BLS

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.

Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

Houzz Scholarships

$2,500 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.

Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

$3,000 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.

Women in Architecture Scholarship

$2,500 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.

Vectorworks Design Scholarship

Up to $10,000 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.

Clara Carter Higgins Summer Environmental Studies Scholarships

Varies 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.

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.

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.

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