While not all specializations in landscaping require formal training, students who wish to gain technical skills and an academic background in this area may choose to enroll in a post-secondary program. Here are some of the post-secondary school programs available in the area of landscaping:
• Associates Degree: This is a two-year degree program, generally focused on providing technical skills to landscaping students. During the program, students generally learn about the plant and soil science as well as techniques in installation and maintenance of plants. They’ll also learn about the equipment used in the trade.1 Graduates from these programs are generally employed in technician or supervisory roles where they oversee the execution of a landscaping project.
• Bachelor Degree: This is generally a four-year program offered at colleges. Their program specialization depends on whether students choose to study horticulture (Bachelor of Science) or landscape architecture (Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Fine Arts/Bachelor of Design depending on the school). A Bachelor degree program comprises of lectures as well as laboratory/studio sessions to provide students with a balance of theory and application. Graduates from these programs are generally employed in a professional capacity where they are involved in strategic planning or project design and management.
• Master Degree: Students who wish to fine tune their subject matter expertise in a specific area within horticulture or landscape architecture may choose to pursue a master degree. The length of these programs varies depending on the school as well as the students’ graduate work. Generally, a master degree requires the writing of a thesis based on a specific area of interest. Graduates from these programs are generally regarded as subject matter experts and are employed by organizations in management roles.
Going to college can be an expensive endeavor as tuition rates are rising steadily each year. Tuition costs range from a few thousand dollars a year at a technical college to tens of thousands of dollars a year at a university. In addition, online courses are cheaper than in-class programs because online classes can be delivered to larger groups of people via video conferencing and require less supervision than traditional on campus programs.
However, enrolling in a post-secondary program can increase your career options. Students who wish to pursue undergraduate studies should research on the following: On-line vs. on campus programs; course specializations (as each school differs in course offerings and specialization due to the experience and background of its faculty members); and financial aid.
Depending on your financial situation, you may choose to go with online courses. However, there may be some drawbacks with regards to getting access to faculty members, teaching assistants as well as industry experts connected to the school. On the other hand, you may have to move out of state because the program you wish to enroll is not available locally. This will also increase the cost of living in addition to tuition costs.
In order to learn more about your options and gain insight into the industry, students are encouraged to schedule meetings with their school counselors and advisors from prospective colleges. Being proactive with these meetings will help you better plan your college application process so you do not miss out on any important deadlines.
1. Anoka Technical College. Landscape Technology. http://www.anokatech.edu/ProgramsCourses/AgFoodNatRes/LandscapeTechnology.aspx