Newly graduated landscape architects typically work as interns or apprentices until they earn their licenses, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Their duties vary depending on their employers, and their salaries are on the low end for landscape architects. As they gain experience and earn promotions, their salaries increase significantly. According to a 2011 survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects, graduates with undergraduate degrees earn an average starting salary of $38,700 while those with graduate degrees receive $42,000.
Intern or apprentice landscape architects may do research, draft construction documents and also create drawings and base maps of design areas. They may work on projects such as restoring wetlands or creating an urban park. They may help create an actual design as well. A licensed landscape architect must supervise an intern’s or apprentice’s work, and he takes responsibility for all designs. Once an intern is licensed, he can work through each stage of design and development alone.
The average salary of a landscape architect as of May 2010 was $66,880 per year, or $32.15 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those in the 10th percentile earned up to $36,880 per year, or $17.73 per hour; those in the 25th percentile earned up to $47,160 per year, or $22.68 per hour. Those in the 75th percentile made up to $81,190 per year, or $39.03 per hour; those in the 90th percentile made at least $101,530 per year, or $48.81 per hour. Intern or apprentice landscape architects can expect to earn salaries in the 10th to 25th percentiles.
According to the 2011 American Society of Landscape Architects Survey of Graduating Students, the average starting salary of a new landscape architecture graduate was $38,700 for undergraduate students and $46,400 for graduate students. The average starting salary overall was $42,000. These figures represented those graduates who had accepted a job offer.
Overall job growth is expected to be good for landscape architects, according to the BLS, with employment increasing by 20 percent through 2018. This rate is much faster than the average for all other types of jobs. However, competition for positions in the most prestigious landscape architecture firms is expected to be strong for new graduates. Those with internship experience and with significant training in computers, communication and environmental regulations and codes should have much better job prospects than those without these skills.