Are landscape architect job opportunities growing or declining?

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Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most landscape architect opportunities?

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CAWW in Stuart, Florida

75 months ago

Here in FL the profession seems to be lagging. The slump in the land development market is primarily to blame. Some firms are still hiring, but competition is very tough. I have over 15 yrs exp. Nine of them with the civil engineering firm that laid me off two months ago. No responses to resumes sent out locally. Stay away from engineering firms with land development practices nationwide. They are laying off left and right. Check out this web-site: www.exkhamuniqued.com for info on one to avoid.

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Chris in Arlington, Virginia

60 months ago

Honestly, the market for Landscape Architects is horrible right now. I have worked for 3-1/2 years since graduating from the Ohio State University in June 2004. I have been laid off twice since early 2008, due to slumping housing markets in the Nashville & DC metro areas. I am currently in the midst of a very, very frustrating job hunt that is approaching 10 months without an offer.

If I were in school as an LA major, I wouldn't even test the market right now. Get a second related degree or better yet, something not at all tied to the building industry. That whole market is in absolute shambles right now. Based on what I've been seeing, it will probably take years for this sector to recover. Everyone is saying 2010 for a recovery for our profession, but I think its going to be a much slower dragged out process. Kinda like the late 70's early 80's were. With the mortgage/credit crunches and high unemployment, no-one can afford to privately finance large developments that require our services. Most LA's are in private practice now and we quite honestly are screwed.

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Tim in Las Vegas, Nevada

60 months ago

I am a licensed LA, currently only in Nevada, but have been in CA and NJ as well. I was laid of twice in 2007 as work quickly vanished from the 2 engineering firms I worked for. A few months later I found work with a design/build firm, with a large cut in pay. Even so, it was kind of fun and I enjoyed the opportunity to be out of the office more. It was going OK, but then the new leads coming into that firm fell off a cliff in August. They laid me off after I was finished with the last client I was given, with the assurance that I would be re-hired when things pick up. I think homeowners here are finally accepting the reality of how much value their homes have lost. Why put money into a home that has lost 50% of its value? So I really don't think things will improve for some time. To new grads, I'd recommend seeking public sector work. There may be less opportunity for creativity, but at least its secure, and you can still do creative work on your own time when things improve. You can still do work for design competitions. Remember, they are calling this the worst recession in 60+ years, so if we, as a country, can get our act together, economically speaking, we should be able to maintain careers for some time in the future...we can hope!

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CAWW in Stuart, Florida

60 months ago

I was employed by a large engineering firm until April of last year. To date, they have laid off over 25% of their employees, primarily any of those not directly hired as civil engineers. I understand that they are planning on another big cut in October at which time the word is that most of the remainder of their Landscape Architect division will be terminated. I agree that the public sector is the best place to look for now, although even that is 'slim pickins' with all the budget cuts that local municipalities are undergoing. Look to federal jobs: ie. park service or historical preservation if you have that expertise. Then again, you could always change careers entirely - like I did.

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Mike in Bloomington, Indiana

59 months ago

I have spent many years working in this field and I have enjoyed it very much until recently. I have worked with Landscape Architectural firms which are great places for growth. And I have worked with engineering firms and taught them much about site planning and site design. I find engineering firms see the world as a place to extract money rather than create great projects. There are big issue about green development, sustainability, and global warning that can not be ignored and need to be dealt with by all the professions. Landscape Architects must help lead the way.

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1234 in Mckinney, Texas

58 months ago

I am a recent graduate and have seen the market for new Landscape Architects slowly dwindle to nothing. When I was searching for my internship and work in school, firms seemed to be straining to fill new positions; most of all students were able to find some form of work. I landed a once-in-a-lifetime job with a large private firm in South Florida, but was a victim of mass company layoffs due to client budget cuts, contracts put on hold, etc. I believe the profession will rebound, but not until the summer of 2011, that's the estimate I've been given by many previous college professors. I am tempted to go back to school and learn new skills in a completely, and more secure, field, but I know eventually the market will turn around in favor of young landscape architects. That is a tough dilemma for anyone.

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CAWW in Stuart, Florida

58 months ago

Best of luck to you LALoesch. I am sure that you are right about the cost cutting efforts, and as you say, after 11 months of unemployment, it is good to get back into the 'dirt' - so to speak.

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Susie in Chicago, Illinois

58 months ago

I agree with most of the comments above. I'm pretty discouraged about the field of Landscape Architecture right now. The market in Chicago isn't very good and many very talented LA's and Landscape Designers have been unemployed for quite some time. I am currently considering a career change, despite 6.5 years of college and 4 years of experience in the field. I think it is a career that is extremely valuable to society and the environment but it not exactly cracked up to be what they tell you in school unless you are very lucky to land a job at a great company or can make an impact where you are. I am just not very optimistic about things turning around anytime soon and am looking into other environmental-related careers.

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CW in Gardena, California

58 months ago

After much consideration, I've started planning to
return to school and pursue a second career in LA
by entering a MLA program.

However, I'm reading all the first hand accounts
regarding the financial volatility of the profession
and it's quite troubling.

I'm at mid-life and
pursuing LA as a second career has to be a solid
choice for a (somewhat) stable lifelong profession

For those of you who are professionals in the field,
what do you see as more lucrative, stable environmental
careers? -ideally something (other than env.engineering)
related to LA.

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CAWW in Stuart, Florida

58 months ago

I would suggest you might look into the natural habitat conservation / preservation and management venue. Learn all you can about soils, forestry management practices, arboriculture and so on. The Forestry Service or National Park Service are potential employers. Making 'pretty' landscapes is best suited to a healthy economy. Keeping a forest healthy or preserving a natural habitat is critical no matter what the economy is doing. Think of "Green Industry" as the buzz words and you may be able to move forward in the profession.

On the other side of the spectrum is golf course design. This may still be a viable avenue, though I'm not really sure.

Best of luck to you. I've left the profession for 'greener pastures'. (sorry, couldn't help myself)

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LALoesch in Arlington, Virginia

58 months ago

CW in Gardena, California said: After much consideration, I've started planning to
return to school and pursue a second career in LA
by entering a MLA program.

However, I'm reading all the first hand accounts
regarding the financial volatility of the profession
and it's quite troubling.

I'm at mid-life and
pursuing LA as a second career has to be a solid
choice for a (somewhat) stable lifelong profession

For those of you who are professionals in the field,
what do you see as more lucrative, stable environmental
careers? -ideally something (other than env.engineering)
related to LA.

CW in Gardena, California.

I would recommend you stay in California first and foremost. If you have committed to pursing Landscape Architecture at this stage in your life, they economy will recover, EVENTUALLY... California is a lot like New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., etc. They went from absolute boom to bust in a snap. About a year. These are areas though that will pick back up with time. Be aware though, that it will take several years for the market to reabsorb the laid off designers in our profession. If you have an inside tract with some firm when you graduate, okay, but more then likely you haven't tested the market yet. I know of recent grads from 2008 in Maryland, where 98 percent of the class can't find a job. And this is a year later.

My recommendation is to go for an environomental related degree, such as soil scientist, forestry, urban forestry, hydrologist, biologist, etc. The federal gov. offers co-ops for these professions and you can find work with them in these fields. While it is possible to find work with the federal gov. as an LA, they usually want folks with 6-8 years of project mananagement experience. The usually do not want entry level prospects.

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Sak in Vancouver, British Columbia

56 months ago

I am also a (or another...) laid off land arch. I had fun in this profession when it lasted and got to design some pretty nice playgrounds, parks, and gardens. I can't express our proud I feel whenever I visit my sites and this feeling can never go away. However, this profession is definitely not stable enough to support a family or finance a mortgage unless you are one of the lucky ones working in a unionized government sector. Having to go back to school and spend more money is another tough choice to make, but I think it is necessary. I did just that and just got myself a rather expensive MBA. So, like many peers in this profession, I am humbly saying good-bye. I still do landscape designs and estimating for a local landscaping company on a part time basis, but I am gearing towards a new career in business management. It was fun whilst it lasted and hard to let go, but too volatile to sustain life...that is, my own.

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M in Atlanta in Decatur, Georgia

56 months ago

Sak in Vancouver, British Columbia said: ... I did just that and just got myself a rather expensive MBA. So, like many peers in this profession, I am humbly saying good-bye. I still do landscape designs and estimating for a local landscaping company on a part time basis, but I am gearing towards a new career in business management.

After 11 years in the profession, I am also considering going back to school (among other alternatives). I am interested in knowing what you will pursue in your new career? Will an MBA really help land a job more stable and financially secure?

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Cookie in ohio

56 months ago

I am a floral designer and became interested in landscape design after helping a friend design and landscape her new home. I am wondering if my design skills will transfer from floral to landscape for an entry level designer position and how to go about obtaining such a position. Any help would be appriciated.

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KK in Chandler, Arizona

56 months ago

This has been a brutal recession for our profession. I considered going back to school as some of the other posts have suggested. The question is, what profession is more financially stable? The only one that seems to be stable is something in the medical field. If you look at career builder and type in your city and hit search you will see a huge number of jobs in medicine. I have friends in sales, finance, marketing, law... they are all laid off. If you are contemplating a new career, look to medicine first.

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Chris in Annandale, Virginia

56 months ago

And supposedly we are starting a recovering. Yeah right! is all I will say. What recovery? I've been laid off 4 times since February 2008, due to lack of work. I am broke and nearly bankrupt. There are no jobs available and at 30 years old I'm going to have to move back in with my parents, while my fiance dumps me because I'm making no money.

Thanks Economy, thanks greedy bankers, stock market speculators, etc. You started this mess and you've ruined my career.

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bmw1789 in Lubbock, Texas

56 months ago

Im currently in my 2nd year as a landscape architect it will be 3 years till i graduate..can i expect to be screwed by the time i graduate or will i be find in this time frame?

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CW in Los Angeles, California

56 months ago

For those of you in school.....what are you hearing regarding the job prospects/opportunities for 2009 BA & MLA students? Are your former
classmates employed?

Also, what are your dept. advisors saying regarding potential employment? (I'm hedging on applying to MLA programs based on these dire comments, although MLA dept advisors are painting a rosy picture for the career)

For those of you in the profession -based on your experience, is it a good idea to invest 3 yrs into a graduate program?

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Chris in Annandale, Virginia

56 months ago

CW in Los Angeles,

I would advise you to invest in a different graduate program. I have been working since Oct. 2004 and I love Landscape Architecture. But the job prospects and outlooks for the next 4 or 5 years are absolutely awful.

I'm not trying to discourage you, but there is no sense spending all that money for a master's degree in a field that has seen crazy job contraction in about 18 monthes.

With all do respect to your dept. adivsors, they are basing their projections on a model when the economy was fast paced. Mid 2000's etc. They are expecting a speedy recovery, etc. The current jobs data just does not support it. And construction has just not picked up at all. Even in places like Washington D.C.

Most professors in Landscape Architecture haven't been in private or public practice for many many years. There are a few, but most are out of date and just aren't aware of the severity of the situation.
I know of a class that graduated from Maryland where 95% of the students STILL haven't found jobs. Incredible!

Don't take Advisors word of mouth, regarding potential employment as gospel. They are probably not right.

Right now and for the forseeable future (4 to 5 years), job prospects are going to be atrocious.

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Tim in Las Vegas, Nevada

56 months ago

CW in Los Angeles, California said: For those of you in school.....what are you hearing regarding the job prospects/opportunities for 2009 BA & MLA students? Are your former
classmates employed?

Also, what are your dept. advisors saying regarding potential employment? (I'm hedging on applying to MLA programs based on these dire comments, although MLA dept advisors are painting a rosy picture for the career)

For those of you in the profession -based on your experience, is it a good idea to invest 3 yrs into a graduate program?

Department advisors will of course paint a rosy picture for the career because the future of their departement, and in turn their careers, depend on attracting new students to a program. There are many majors which offer little in terms of improving one's employment projects, and right now LA is one of them. I sincerely believe the profession has a lot to offer society, but we need to evolve a business model that is not so susceptible to the downturns of the construction industry. A lot of qualified, talented people are moving into other fields. The institutions we often look to for fullfillment like supporting a family and having a home require uninterrupted sources of income.

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joe in Greer, South Carolina

55 months ago

Chris in Annandale, Virginia said: And supposedly we are starting a recovering. Yeah right! is all I will say. What recovery? I've been laid off 4 times since February 2008, due to lack of work. I am broke and nearly bankrupt. There are no jobs available and at 30 years old I'm going to have to move back in with my parents, while my fiance dumps me because I'm making no money.

Thanks Economy, thanks greedy bankers, stock market speculators, etc. You started this mess and you've ruined my career.

Sorry to hear it buddy. But I can tell you this, you can sulk or get out and kick a little ass.

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KK in Chandler, Arizona

55 months ago

joe must still have a job.

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Maureen in Delray Beach, Florida

55 months ago

Chris, You should kick a little ass and it should be Joe's. This situation is effecting most of us in the landscape industry. I have an undergrad in Architecture and a master's in Landscape Architecture, am very diversified and I cannot find freelance, part time or any work. I am considering creating a new resume and listing myself as a stay at home mom for the last 15 years and take a receptionest job. It sucks!!!!!!

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Joe in Greer, South Carolina

55 months ago

Joe does not have a job. Joe has been unemployed for 8 months.

And Maureen, my post was not intended to be anything but a motivator. Perhaps I should've chosen my words more carefully.

I am in the exact same position as everyone on this board. I have a bachelor's in LA, with honors, I am a registered LA, have nearly 10 years experience in design/build and heavy land development operations.....but I still cannot find work.

Have I complained about the market and my current position? Absolutely....but I am finding that staying positive, getting out of the house and networking, using every option at my disposal to find work, etc...is what keeps me sane. Plus, I am playing pretty damn good golf right now, so that helps.

All I am saying is keep your head up, stay positive and motivated!

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CAWW in Stuart, Florida

55 months ago

Joe, thank you for the clarification. I agree with you that keeping a positive outlook is the only thing to hang on to sometimes. That and the latest "5 hot jobs" in Yahoo. Did anyone else see this? It stymies me. Where do they come up with this stuff??? (From Yahoo:

"Landscape Architect
Responsible for planning all kinds of outdoor spaces from parks and playgrounds to shopping centers and college campuses, landscape architects are hands-on from the beginning to the end of a project. They spend time at the location site, meet with other professionals like builders and surveyors, and draw the plans for the landscaping, all in a day's work.
Education and career training: A bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture is usually a requirement, along with a license in your state.
Salary range: $64,000 was the annual average salary for landscape architects in 2008.
Fringe benefits: Over 20 percent of landscape architects are self-employed. That's about three times more than the usual for other professions.
Why settle for a job that's stationary when you're anything but? Consider training for a new career that meets your high energy level."

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Chris in Arlington, Virginia

55 months ago

Joe,

I appreciate the words of encouragement. Have you tried applying for federal gov. positions? It sounds to me like you are at the stage in your career that would be perfect to try and get in as a GS employee.

I am trying to stay positive as well. Unfortunately, I do not have the experience that you have (4 years). I have been networking heavily since Feb. 2008 and it has helped, but still I haven't been able to get an offer.

I really do hope that some of us find jobs eventually, because it is really hurting me in the pocket book.

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Joe in Greer, South Carolina

55 months ago

Chris,

I'm glad you got back in to see my clarification. I guess it helps to know that there are others (many, many others) in the same boat. We just can't let the debt, personal problems, bad economy, etc.....get us down, because after all is said and done, being a landscape architect is an incredibly rewarding career. You won't get to see your vision built if you are selling widgets or mortgages.

I have applied for several federal positions. It is a very, very long process however. It can take a year or longer to land one, but i am in it for the long haul. My background does set me up quite nicely as you mentioned. For the few I've applied for, I feel I am a perfect fit. Let's hope the feds feel the same.

Since you are relatively early in your career, you actually have more options than you realize. You could go work in the construction field, design/build, PM for a Landscape contractor, grading contractor, parks and rec....etc. Unfortunately, the job market is just so competitive.

My advice: People in this market are looking for game changers. They want to hire someone who will immediately add value to the services they provide. You have the degree, so perhaps you could add additional certifications and credentials? If I weren't currently pursuing an MBA, I'd go get my LEED cert., NEPA cert or certificate, basically any low cost additional training to help separate you.

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Joe in Greer, South Carolina

55 months ago

CAWW in Stuart, Florida said: Joe, thank you for the clarification. I agree with you that keeping a positive outlook is the only thing to hang on to sometimes. That and the latest "5 hot jobs" in Yahoo. Did anyone else see this? It stymies me. Where do they come up with this stuff??? (From Yahoo:

"Landscape Architect
Responsible for planning all kinds of outdoor spaces from parks and playgrounds to shopping centers and college campuses, landscape architects are hands-on from the beginning to the end of a project. They spend time at the location site, meet with other professionals like builders and surveyors, and draw the plans for the landscaping, all in a day's work.
Education and career training: A bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture is usually a requirement, along with a license in your state.
Salary range: $64,000 was the annual average salary for landscape architects in 2008.
Fringe benefits: Over 20 percent of landscape architects are self-employed. That's about three times more than the usual for other professions.
Why settle for a job that's stationary when you're anything but? Consider training for a new career that meets your high energy level."

ahhh yes. Careerbuilder is my favorite. I don't even visit that waste of bandwidth since I first entered my "profile" days after being laid off. I do enjoy getting their "job match" emails though....they are quite entertaining. Who knew that as a registered landscape architect I'd be qualified for a position as a registered nurse, sales support specialist, auto parts manager, etc....But the one I am shooting for is; "Menu Implementation Specialist" for Ryan's buffet! Imagine the possibilities!!!1

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Chris in Arlington, Virginia

55 months ago

Joe in Greer, South Carolina said: ahhh yes. Careerbuilder is my favorite. I don't even visit that waste of bandwidth since I first entered my "profile" days after being laid off. I do enjoy getting their "job match" emails though....they are quite entertaining. Who knew that as a registered landscape architect I'd be qualified for a position as a registered nurse, sales support specialist, auto parts manager, etc....But the one I am shooting for is; "Menu Implementation Specialist" for Ryan's buffet! Imagine the possibilities!!!1

Yeah, I have my resume on there and from the job matches i get with that site, you'd think there was no matching at all!

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Drividiv in Lincoln, Nebraska

55 months ago

I am only a third year student but my professor tells me if you know your grading/topography (not just the how but the why) you will have much better chances of landing a job

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LALoesch in Arlington, Virginia

55 months ago

Drividin in Lincoln, NE.

I agree that knowing grading/topography will help your chances, but not enough with economy. There are SO MANY people without work, it doesn't matter.

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LDUB in Glenview, Illinois

54 months ago

I graduated in 2008 with a bachlors in LA. I found this blog from searching for jobs in South Carolina. I have a few contacts and they all say the same thing. Wait it out, Go back to school, Look for a job at the new BOEING plant. I live back home in the Chicago area but would like to relocate to the South. Are their any area's I should look at? I know South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida are in the top 10 states in-debt along with Illinois. I also got into University of Illinois at Chicago's Urban Planning Masters program. Yet no one on this blog seems to be answering others questions of which professions are the best options to switch to...

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Andrea in Oak Park, Illinois

54 months ago

I just wanted to give my background before I speak on this subject. I graduated with a Bachelors in Landscape Architecture 8 years ago and I have worked for the same multi-discplinary firm for 8 years before I was laid off in the winter of '09. That being said, I have experienced all the highs (mid 2000's) and the lows (now) that this profession has to offer. Like everyone here, we all came out of college optimistic, ready and eager to face the world of landscape architecture. I definitely agree with previous posters that LA's are low on the totem pole and get about as much respect as the cleaning crew that comes in a night. I can speak from experience and would have to say ALL of that is true. Nonetheless, you can carve a niche at your firm, and 'earn' being the key word here, the respect all of you LA's desire. Understand most people will look you at you as nothing more than glorified gardeners (thanks ASLA, you're doing a great job, thanks for taking $300+ for a magazine 75% filled with ads). This is by far the toughest recession thus in my young career. There have been a couple down years in the industry, but I have never seen soo many qualified and talented individuals looking for work. That being said, I just want to respond on a couple queries this thread has brought up.
Yes, most of the country is in a deep recession, but there are bright spots where LA's can thrive if they're willing to relocate: Washington DC, Denver, Los Angeles, Austin are a few places seemingly ready to rebound and are hiring.
Those of you considering new job fields, I have two pieces of advice:
Those entrenched in this field, meaning you've weighed all your options and you want to stay in this field. Consider something like Environmental Engineering, Ecologist or Naturalist. There are a ton of jobs available if you back up your degree in LA with the above fields (thank you Obama for green initiatives). Those looking to switch completely: healthcare, computer science and sales.

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Robert in Tampa, Florida

54 months ago

Mike in Bloomington, Indiana said: I have spent many years working in this field and I have enjoyed it very much until recently. I have worked with Landscape Architectural firms which are great places for growth. And I have worked with engineering firms and taught them much about site planning and site design. I find engineering firms see the world as a place to extract money rather than create great projects. There are big issue about green development, sustainability, and global warning that can not be ignored and need to be dealt with by all the professions. Landscape Architects must help lead the way.

Sorry my friend, but global warming is a hoax and a tax fraud. Just look at the southern migration of orange groves in Florida over the past thirty years. Ask Al Gore why there are few to none orange groves in northern areas of Florida. Ask him why Royal Palms exist no more in Tampa.

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Robert in Tampa, Florida

54 months ago

Chris in Annandale, Virginia said: And supposedly we are starting a recovering. Yeah right! is all I will say. What recovery? I've been laid off 4 times since February 2008, due to lack of work. I am broke and nearly bankrupt. There are no jobs available and at 30 years old I'm going to have to move back in with my parents, while my fiance dumps me because I'm making no money.

Thanks Economy, thanks greedy bankers, stock market speculators, etc. You started this mess and you've ruined my career.

You can thank the DEMarxists who took over our government in 2006. Tax and spend and tax and spend and the growing of government has killed the private sector. The Fannie fraud also that Dodd and his cronies spawned with their Clintonian and Cartertonian mandates to force banks to lend 12%-28% of their loans to the bottom 1/6 wage earners. Redistribution has killed the goose and now Obama is plucking its feathers.

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Mak B in Sand Springs, Oklahoma

53 months ago

I would say this profession will see better days, but not for at least a couple more years. I graduated in 04 and was laid off in early 08 and was out of work for about 2 months before getting hired by a design/build firm only to be laid off a year later. Job market in Atlanta went to the pooper real fast once the housing market crashed. Some estimates have over 150,000 vacant homes in the metro area. New housing which was great for me and some commerical projects just stopped about August 08. I have applied absolutely everywhere and managed to pick up contract work here and there. I am seriously considering going back to school in a field that is no where near adjacent to a LA degree. I have some friends that are going back for a masters but I just don't see the point. Unless you plan on working for the govt on "shovel" ready projects. Like many of you, I don't want to do anything else, but when faced with bills and family you do what you got to do. I am seriously considering going into webdesigning and prgramming, I see jobs for that everyday.

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tmaster327@gmail.com in Northvale, New Jersey

53 months ago

Well, I stumbled upon this forum so here goes. We are a 30 year old company building high end concrete pools in North Jersey, Bergen Co. Our projects range from 100,000 to 500,000 currently. Yes the market has contracted but we are still building and still getting inquires every day. I am looking for a qualified Landscape Architect to work with us, at least part time to start designing these projects. We are also considering entering the landscape installation business as it relates to our projects. You can e mail me at tmaster327@gmail.com if you would like to discuss the opportunity.

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Adam Graziano in Ames, Iowa

53 months ago

I am currently a freshman thinking about going in to LA as a major. What are the chances of the housing market and/or job outlook being better in 4-6 years when I do end up graduating? good choice in major? or is there something better i should be looking into? Is there anything else i can do in school to make me stand out from other people?

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Maureen in Delray Beach, Florida

53 months ago

If it's not your calling (you can't emagine doing anything else) examine other avenues. Landscaping is the last budget item in new construction and renovations. Everything that comes before it is always over budget and the landscaping budget, the last construction component almost always suffers or is all by deleted. Minimum requirements for permitting surfice. On the other hand, I have been in this industry for 16 years and love it. My husband is the major bread winner, so for me I can rely on that through these very slow times. If I were a young male going into this industry I would focus on becomming licensed and owning Design/ build firm. I have worked in landscape construction and that is where the big bucks are in a good economy. The owner's can make hundred's of thousands a year. I've been asking landscape contractor's when they see a turn a round happening and the common concensus is- it will take 5 years for the industy to come back fully. Look at job adds in the area you want to live in after school to see whats in demand. I see alot in horticulture, road/highway design, civil engineering, 3 D acad services. Hope this helps & good luck.

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ilono in Germantown, Tennessee

53 months ago

I regret my LA degree. A grad in '02 and never got a position as a LA. I went into building golf courses with the hope that I could move into the design side of the business. Golf courses are dead now and so are my chances of designing. I was laid of in December and my degree means just about nothing to any employer. I'm considered entry level, same as I was in '02, because I wasn't in an office. I can build any of it and at a high level. I can manage multi-million dollar projects, but I have no more experience to people than a college grad. That confuses and angers the hell out of me. I feel that a LA degree is too confined. There's no ability to move laterally as the degree doesn't translate into any other field.

Business degrees are incredibly boring, but you'll have so much more options with the direction you can take. Engineering is a broad market. Go become a nurse. Just don't do what I did and pidgeon hole yourself.

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CW in Los Angeles, California

53 months ago

ilono,

I'm really sad to hear about your experience -but it's reports like
yours that have -stopped- me from applying to MLA programs.
Instead, I'm doing a yr of Nursing pre-reqs to try and get into
a 2 year BSN program.

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Tmaster327@gmail.com in Northvale, New Jersey

53 months ago

I have been following this blog for a few days now. Your post was one I felt compelled to respond to. If you have all the skills you say you have and you are a trained LA with a degree wake up. You need to go where the money is. Find the highest end swimming pool company in your area. Call the owner and ask him who sells his pools or better yet who is designing them. He will most likely have a pretty lame answer. Ask him if you could see some of the designs. When you see them you will be amazed at how bad they are. Now imagine with your skills and a little pool knowledge how easy you could blow away his crappy plans. If you were a customer who was about to lay out 100 150,000 who would you want to hire. There is always a way, go make it happen. By the way I own a pool company and I am looking for just such a talent. And by the way tell the pool company owner you would like to work on commission only. No cost to him if you don't sell anything, he has got nothing to loose. Tell him you think 5% of the gross sale would be a fair commission, should you sell the job. Now the risk reward is all yours. Sell a couple of pools for 100,000 and see how fast 5,000 adds up. Hell you could do it part time and make 50,000 a year that would give you plenty of time to be a nurse or a stock boy or whatever else you want to do to waste your talent.

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James in Scottsdale, Arizona

53 months ago

Adam Graziano in Ames, Iowa said: I am currently a freshman thinking about going in to LA as a major. What are the chances of the housing market and/or job outlook being better in 4-6 years when I do end up graduating? good choice in major? or is there something better i should be looking into? Is there anything else i can do in school to make me stand out from other people?[/

Adam,
I learned a valuable trade of LA at ISU. I have been very busy since the day I left school in 1993. I have made a very good living and fortunately I have socked away savings for downturns like this. I have learned, worked and mentored with great people in this field for the last 17 years. I enjoy it immensely. Now the bad news.......look around at the lack of building going on. Many LA's are talented good designers, sellers, marketers and managers. The competition in this field has become fierce and the demand for the LA field has dwindled. It's a simple supply/demand model and there is a low demand for the field right now. I seriously think this is going to be like this for at least another two years. The one most important thing I have learned since graduation is that your talents, work and desires are only as good as your next project/job. If there is a bleak outlook for these projects your experience may not be useful. This is a cold hard fact in slow markets. The markets dictate the profit plain and simple. I would highly recommend to you to get into IT work or business. These are fields that have vast arrays of business opportunities. People outside of the architectural/building/designing/construction industry just don't see the success of people in the LA field. Best of luck to you and go ISU!

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paul in Northfield, Minnesota

53 months ago

interesting comments - very depressing overall, as a 23 year practitioner I have to believe that 4 or 5 years out holds hope for a significant recovery and hope for graduates, golf course construction won't rebound for years, someone predicted 1,500 closing in the next several years, maybe when all that washes out and baby boomers retire and the overall numbers work there will be positions and new construction, until that happens I think we will all struggle to find work because there is almost no construction happening, hopefully this is the bottom

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CML in Arlington, Virginia

53 months ago

Adam Graziano in Ames, Iowa said: I am currently a freshman thinking about going in to LA as a major. What are the chances of the housing market and/or job outlook being better in 4-6 years when I do end up graduating? good choice in major? or is there something better i should be looking into? Is there anything else i can do in school to make me stand out from other people?

Honestly I don't know what to recommend. I think healthcare will be one of the few growing professions this decade.

Despite the rosey picture that current politicians are trying to paint, I honestly think it will take 4 to 5 years min. for the housing market and real estate in general to start rebounding.

That also assumes this country stops piling up rediculous amounts of debt and offshoring of jobs slows. I have to say it doesn't look good.

Personally, I graduated from The Ohio State University in 2004 and worked in D.C. until mid summer 2007. I then took a job in Nashville right before the recession kicked in (late 2007 to early 2008). Bad move! Lowest seniority, first to go. My company laid off half their workforce in 2 monthes. I then came back to D.C. and found a job, summer of 2008, with an engineering firm. Trouble is the recession hadn't really hit D.C. yet. By Nov. 2008, I was looking for work again. Other then a short stint at Home Depot and a temporary contract with my previous employer (Eng. Firm).

I know of a whole class that graduated from the University of Maryland in summer of 2008, and 95 percent of them STILL haven't found LA jobs. Its brutal!

And my own personal situation, I just NOW FINALLY found a job in Buffalo, NY. It took me almost 2 years and a lot of luck. Some of the previous jobs I applied to had as many as 600-700 applicants. Not good odds, especially for the inexperienced, freshly graduated LA

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florida la in Land O Lakes, Florida

53 months ago

I have over 14 years exp,. in multi-disciplinary firms and am licensed in 2 states. I was laid off in jan 09. I hope the Landscape Architect community remembers the lesson of this recession. Why are civil engineers who barley know what a contour line is still employed? Because City/county ordinances mandate companies to employ them. By this I mean every site plan has to be signed by a civil engineer, while at the same time landscape plans can be signed by a Landscape Architect or “approved” other, such as a civil engineer or architect.
So if you have to get rid of an employee, lose the Landscape architect. Pay his cad tech (that he trained) to do the plan and have the civil stamp it. In Florida and Ohio an LA has the authority, according to code, to sign and seal storm water plans. Ok, now try and stamp these plans and turn them in, BAMM!!! They are rejected because a LA, not a Civil stamped them.
So they can do are work and we cannot do theirs. I blame the ASLA for not pursuing cases where LA plans were rejected in states were under the statue they are allowed to perform work which is similar to civil engineers. I have dropped my ASLA membership, $400 is a lot of money for a magazine and some smoke blown up my you know what.

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florida la in Land O Lakes, Florida

53 months ago

I think I have a way. In each state, that actually states in its statutes that grading or storm water plans falls under the scope of landscape architecture (not just LA but says a LA can do this), have a LA submit a storm water plan to a large municipality. When the municipality rejects it, sue them. Any lawyer worth his salt would be able to prove that a municipality must accept the plans. Then get them to write it into their Land development code.
It will send ripples throughout the states. Civil engineers will have to compete with landscape architects on work, not just hire them for the design. The ASLA could use some of its money to pay lawyers.

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unemployed LA in Washington, District of Columbia

52 months ago

I've been following this message board looking for some hope of an upturn in LA jobs like many people on here. Its interested that CML in Arlington mentions the University of Maryland's class of 2008 (which is when I graduated) and it is true that most of us do not have LA jobs. We are finding ways to get by and unfortunately its not in the LA field. I was thinking of switching to the medical profession honestly, but I don't know if I should wait this recession out. I wanted to ask you if you had any suggestions on job hunting or the idea of switching careers.
I don't have any work experience because as soon as a graduated everyone stopped hiring. However if they are hiring they want someone with experience so its a lose lose situation unfortunately.

Thank you!:)

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student in Portland, Oregon

52 months ago

CAWW in Stuart, Florida said: Here in FL the profession seems to be lagging. The slump in the land development market is primarily to blame. Some firms are still hiring, but competition is very tough. I have over 15 yrs exp. Nine of them with the civil engineering firm that laid me off two months ago. No responses to resumes sent out locally. Stay away from engineering firms with land development practices nationwide. They are laying off left and right. Check out this web-site: www.exkhamuniqued.com for info on one to avoid.

The link above is bad and may contain a virus - do not click!

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