If you are considering a career as a landscape designer then you should look at landscape design associate degrees. An associate degree will be enough for most landscape design jobs, but if you want to further your education, you can use your associate degree to obtain a four-year degree in landscape architecture.
The associate degree programs in landscape design vary from one community college to another, so research is vital depending on the area you want to focus on. Most programs will cover the basics of botany, horticulture, design theory, pest management, ecology, and natural science, among other subjects.
In this guide, we have outlined the best colleges for landscape design to get you started. We’ve included the cost of an associate’s degree, job outlook and salaries for landscape designers, and landscape design associate degree requirements.
What Is Landscape Design?
Landscape designers are creative professionals who analyze, plan, and design outdoor spaces. They use a wide variety of elements to create functional and elegant spaces. Landscape designers not only improve how a space looks but also its functionality. For example, they can increase the square footage of usable space.
Landscape designers will often collaborate with other landscape professionals to satisfy their client’s needs. Some of the primary roles of a landscape designer include choosing plants and features that enhance the space, evaluating the current landscape, using computer software to create landscape designs, maintaining the project’s budget, and working with the client to ensure their vision is maintained.
What Is a Landscape Design Associate Degree?
A landscape design associate degree is a two-year program that gives students in-demand skills to enter the workforce quickly. An associate degree can also be used to transfer to a four-year degree program.
An associate’s degree is ideal for students who can’t afford, or can’t commit to, a four-year degree. They are also ideal for current professionals looking to quickly change careers. Landscape design associate degrees will give graduates a strong understanding of the core elements of landscape design as well as provide them with general education.
Core classes for a landscape design program may include an introduction to landscape architecture, site planning, landscape for environmental design, irrigation, planting design, math for environmental design, landscape graphics, and pest control. These core skills will set graduates up with plenty of career opportunities.
Landscape Design Associate Degree Requirements
While the education requirements for a landscape design associate degree vary from college to college, there are general education requirements that need to be met before gaining admission for an associate degree and venturing into this potential career path.
Students must be at least 18 years of age on the first day of class. You must have a high school diploma or a high school equivalency diploma, such as a GED. Finally, students must meet the minimum grade point average (GPA) requirements of the institution.
How Much Does a Landscape Design Associate Degree Cost?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the total cost of a landscape design associate degree is on average $16,455 for on-campus students, $10,024 for off-campus students living with a family, and $19,304 for off-campus students not living with a family. The average tuition rate is $4,230.
Landscape Design Associate Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Landscape Degree
Students can get financial aid to help pay for a landscape degree. You can submit a FAFSA application to see if you are eligible for federal aid or federal student loans. Accredited schools usually offer federal financial aid. You can also apply for student loans from your local banks. These types of loans can be paid back when you get an entry-level job.
The success rate of financial aid in the US has been steadily increasing over the last five years and in the 2019-2020 academic year 86.4 percent of students who applied for aid were successful.
Best Landscape Design Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|Anne Arundel Community College||Architecture and Interior Design – Landscape Design||Middle state Commission for Higher Education (MSCHE)|
|Austin Community College||Horticulture and Landscape Design||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.|
|County College of Morris||Landscape and Horticultural Technology||Middle State Commission on Higher Education.|
|Front Range Community College||Landscape Design||Higher Learning Commission.|
|Kirkwood Community College||Landscape Horticulture||Association of Christian Schools International.|
|Macomb Community College||Landscape Design||Higher Learning Commission.|
|Portland Community College||Landscape Technology Design||Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.|
|South Florida State College||Landscape Horticulture Technology||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.|
|Suny Morrisville Community College||Landscape Design and Management||Middle States Commission on Higher Education.|
|Southwestern Community College||Landscape Architecture||Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.|
Best Colleges for Landscape Design: Top Landscape Associate Degree Programs
When it comes to choosing the right program for you, you may be overwhelmed. Landscape design is a popular career path, as many people enjoy working outdoors in a creative environment. Continue reading as we take a closer look at the top ten landscape associate degree programs.
Architecture and Interior Design – Landscape Design | Anne Arundel Community College
This public community college is located in Arnold, Maryland. This program focuses on a design process that involves aspects of human behavioral design and ecosystems. Graduates will be able to analyze environmental and sustainable influences on diverse landscapes. This fundamental skill will set them up with a variety of job opportunities such as site surveyors, sustainability officers, or map developers.
Horticulture and Landscape Design | Austin Community College
The Austin Community College is a public college in Texas. This certificate program has various required courses including planning, design, and maintenance of environmentally sustainable landscapes. This advanced study of the natural environment is key for students looking to make a positive and sustainable change in urban design.
Landscape and Horticultural Technology | County College of Morris
The County College of Morris is a public Community College in Randolph, New Jersey. This program is designed for students who wish to excel in the design and building field. It is also ideal for landscape hobbyists.
The education courses on offer teach students to identify plants and efficiently use them in landscape design. Other core topics covered include soil management, pest management, and computer applications.
Landscape Design | Front Range Community College
Fort Range Community College is a public college with multiple campuses in Colorado. The landscape design program prepares students for work as landscape design assistants. The focus is on residential and small-scale design. Graduates will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to start a landscape design-build firm.
Landscape Horticulture | Kirkwood Community College
Kirkwood Community College is a public college located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This program’s core courses focus on innovative plant design based on artistic and creative processes. During your studies, you will build a landscape based on real-world construction documents.
Landscape Design | Macomb Community College
The Macomb Community College is a multi-campus Community College in Macomb, Michigan. The landscape design program will grant you a deep understanding of garden design styles and characteristics. Core courses include plant composition, grading and drainage considerations, pest management, garden installation processes, and sustainable landscape design criteria.
Landscape Technology Design | Portland Community College
Portland Community College is a public community college. The associate degree in landscape technology design covers plant identification and care, fundamentals of landscape design, plant composition, sustainable landscape practices, computer skills, site evaluation, communication skills, and business management and operations.
Landscape Horticulture Technology | South Florida State College
The South Florida State College is a public college in Florida with campuses in Highlands, DeSoto, and Hardee counties. Course content includes plant nutrition, fertilization, pest management, pruning and shaping plants, maintenance of landscape plants, planting, and equipment maintenance.
Landscape Design and Management | Suny Morrisville Community College
Suny Morrisville Community College is a public college with two locations in New York, one in Morrisville and one in Norwich. The program prepares the students for a career in landscape designs, park management, and recreational planning. The course will teach you communication and analytical skills that are vital for your future career.
Landscape Architecture | Southwestern Community College
The course equips students with the skills for the installation of environmentally pleasing landscapes like parks, commercial buildings, and natural settings. The course encourages students to participate in round-table discussions of design theories and sustainability. Group projects and group studies are an integral part of this program.
Are There Online Landscape Design Associate Degree Programs?
Online programs are ideal for those seeking flexible learning. If you are looking to earn a degree but have professional or family commitments, then online schools might be for you. Unfortunately, landscape design requires hands-on experience and in-person requirements. Therefore, an online study of this course is extremely rare.
You can, however, find online programs if you are considering a degree in landscape architecture. Landscape architecture is a more advanced program than landscape design and will offer graduates a wider variety of professional opportunities and a more lucrative salary.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
What’s the Average landscape Design Associate Degree Salary?
According to Indeed, the average landscape design salary is $58,811 per year. Landscape designers will enjoy various work benefits such as working from home, flexible schedules, paid time off, and health insurance.
Top Landscape Design Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview
|Landscape Design Associate Degree Jobs||Average Salary|
|Surveying and Mapping Technician||$46,200|
|Grounds and Maintenance Worker||$32,220|
Best landscape Design Associate Degree Jobs Explained
- Average Salary: $73,230
- Job Outlook: 8%
- Number of Jobs: 87,100
- Highest-Paying States: California, New Hampshire, West Virginia
Environmental scientists collect environmental data from air, water, food, and soil samples. They analyze these samples and survey landscapes to assess any threats to the environment. This data is used to create effective site plans that take into account environmental design and urban design planning.
- Average Salary: $70,630
- Job Outlook: 6%
- Number of Jobs: 24,700
- Highest-Paying States: California, Connecticut, Virginia
Landscape architects oversee the development and construction of large landscapes such as parks, residential sites, commercial sites, and gardens. They aim to improve the quality of the surrounding environment. You must have a minimum of a landscape architecture associate degree to become a licensed professional.
Surveying and Mapping Technician
- Average Salary: $46,220
- Job Outlook: 4%
- Number of Jobs: 53,370
- Highest-Paying States: California, Texas, Florida
Surveying and mapping technicians determine positions of points on the surface of the earth. They use their professional skills to measure the distance in directions, angles, and elevations of these points to create maps and plot boundaries. They need basic math skills and communication skills to convey their findings.
- Average Salary: $57,960
- Job Outlook: -2%
- Number of Jobs: 23,700
- Highest-Paying States: Illinois, West Virginia, Rhode Island
Architectural drafters organize structural, mechanical, and electrical designs. They draw plans for buildings based on designs by architects and engineers. They also determine what materials are needed and the costs of the materials.
Grounds and Maintenance Worker
- Average Salary: $32,220
- Job Outlook: 8%
- Number of Jobs: 92,600
- Highest-Paying States: Washington, New Hampshire, Oregon
Grounds and maintenance workers maintain landscapes. This involves such tasks as mowing lawns, cleaning flower beds, utilizing tools, etc. While knowledge of elements of design is not a formality for this job, some grounds and maintenance workers may go on to more creative roles within the landscape design field.
Benefits of a Landscape Design Associate Degree
- Low Tuition Rates: It only takes two years to complete an associate’s degree. This means the cost is a lot less than a four-year program. Most associate’s degrees are offered by community colleges that have low tuition rates, especially for residents.
- Higher Demand and Attractive Salary: With a landscape design associate degree, the salary options are more attractive than with just a high school diploma. Therefore, there is a higher demand for landscape architects with post-secondary qualifications.
- Flexible Schedule: An associate degree is more flexible than a four-year program. This means that you can work while you earn a certificate in landscape design. For example, students could find an internship as a landscape designer while they study.
- Job Opportunities: Landscape design covers a wide range of aspects from elements of design to gardening basics to computer applications. A landscape design associate degree will allow you to easily find work in garden centers, commercial spaces, residential spaces, historical gardens, urban plazas, and more.
- Accelerated program and less time commitment: There is less time commitment involved in a landscape design associate degree which makes it faster and allows you to gain fundamental knowledge quickly. This will allow you to enter the workforce sooner and gain practical experience.
Should You Get an Associate Degree in Landscape Design?
Yes, you should get an associate degree in landscape design if you enjoy working in outdoor spaces and are looking to quickly gain the skills and knowledge to become a landscape designer. Most landscape design jobs do not require a bachelor’s degree so will have no problem finding employment. You can, however, further your education and transfer to a four-year program.
There are numerous ways to acquire an associate degree in landscape design. You can take online courses, study on-campus, or enroll in hybrid programs. This makes it ideal for those who may have other commitments such as a full-time job.
Landscape Design Associate Degree FAQ
Landscape students can pursue various professions and handle various landscape projects such as horticulture business management, floral design of public spaces, producing plants, managing plants, and a landscape contracting technician.
Yes, you can learn landscaping in college and become a landscape student. Numerous colleges offer landscaping as a two-year degree program and teach you the required technical skills. You will need to complete the required courses to graduate. You can also opt for a landscape architecture program.
A landscape designer is likely to have a Certified Landscape Architect Certification and Certified Maintenance Manager. A certification in landscape architecture or landscape design & management will open up professional opportunities.
No formal education and professional experience are needed but most employers expect you to have prior experience performing maintenance and creating planting plans. Knowing the fundamentals of horticulture & landscape design is a good way to show you are qualified for the job.
A prospective landscaper should be familiar with geographic information systems, human landscapes, urban planning, and horticulture. They should have basic math skills, design skills, observational skills, and graphic skills, and understand their practical application.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.