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How do I get started in landscape architecture?

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I am thirty years old and I am just now making a big career change to pursue my dream of becoming a landscape architect. I just began two college extension classes in the field, and I'm gearing up to apply to graduate school, but I'm wondering what jobs are out there for someone like me. I have no design/CAD/drafting experience, but I would like to work in a firm or for an individual where I can learn the profession and the business. Does anyone know even what job "title" I should be looking for? And/or where I should start working (i.e. should I just go for landscape firms, or should I branch out to architecture/planning, etc.)? I'm willing to do just about anything, including clerical and secretarial.

Thanks for any help.
 

Sarah

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I would suggest arranging some informational interviews at firms--NOT to ask for a job but to get more info about the field.

A degree (BSLA,BLA,MLA) is essential, so don't wait. Go visit some schools, too, to find out about applications and portfolio requirements.

I decided to get an MLA at age 27, with a liberal arts undergrad and very little design experience. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else.
 
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I am graduating in December with an interdisciplinary liberal arts undergraduate degree and am interested in community planning, but I have always dreamed of being an architect. I have not taken many studio courses (art) in college so I do not have pieces quite appropriate for a portfolio. I do have art experience, though. What I am really worried about is the technical side of architecture, whether it be landscape architecture, etc....

I would really like some feedback from students who have a similar background who have entered graduate programs. I would like to know how difficult the programs are without formal training in design and without great technical skills.

I guess I am looking for encouragement and advice.
 

Sarah

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Go to the schools and visit classes and studios. You go to grad school to learn. If you knew all the stuff already, why go? Ask the faculty about portfolios. I took art classes in college, so I had some visual art pieces for my portfolio (sketches and drawings). However, a friend of mine who majored in journalism is undergrad submitted newsletters and photographs for her portfolio.

I'm sure you can think of 1000 reasons not to apply to grad school, but try to concentrate on the reasons why you are attracted to the field. Ask questions and go for it.

Good luck.
 
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