Landscape Architecture Licensure and Profitability06-10-24 | News

Landscape Architecture Licensure and Affordability

Sunset, LARE, and Costs to Be Licensed
by Staff

The profitability of becoming a landscape architect far outweighs the cost of licensure and testing requirements across the country.

Maintaining licensure is an important step in solidifying landscape architecture's place in the planning and design industries. Currently, there are several bills facing legislators that landscape architects and heralds of the industry need to pay attention to. Also, the cost of becoming a licensed landscape architect is an important topic of discussion as, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are a little over 20,000 employed landscape architects in the country, with New York state having the most with 3,010. With that, according to the Landscape Architecture Foundation, there are around 5,300 students enrolled in landscape architecture programs meaning that, for the future of the industry, legislation and licensure must remain at the forefront.

Sunset Licensure
Sunset provisions are a regular occurrence across the country. Most recently, a Louisiana House Bill 959, which was introduced on April 23rd, was designed to deregulate landscape architecture, among other professions. Alternately, the bill has since been heavily revised and the deregulation provisions were removed. The American Society of Landscape Architects National (ASLA) Chapter collaborated with LCASLA to craft a comment letter, initiate an iAdvoocate campaign, and begin conversations with state legislators.

The State Government Affairs team of the National Chapter also collaborated with the LCASLA to address SB 456, which proposed a sunset review that would automatically terminate all boards and commissions by July 1, 2029 unless it was reviewed and approved by a new Review Commission. Due to an overwhelming response, the sponsor withdrew the bill. Battling these types of sunset actions has to be the top priority of the profession.

Cost for License
Meanwhile, the cost to obtain a license varies from state to state. For example, the State of California Landscape Architects Technical Committee (LATC) released new fee standards that went into effect on January 1, 2024 for licensure. The state will now charge a reciprocity fee of $700. The total cost varies, however. In Washington state, it costs $590 for initial licensure and reciprocity application. Meanwhile, in Oregon, initial or reciprocity registration is $425. However, in New York State, reciprocity costs $249. Conversely, in Texas, reciprocal registration costs $150. In Indiana, landscape architects by reciprocity with CLARB costs $220, whereas without CLARB, costs $520. This raises the question though about a uniform cost standard.

These fees are not including the $2,100 to take the L.A.R.E. which may be a one-time cost, but this adds up and begs the question about the profitability of becoming licensed as opposed to simply being a landscape designer. the mean annual wage for landscape architects across the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $83,990 whereas, according to ZipRecruiter landscape designers make $65,423 on average.

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