I just took the Section 4, inspiring what could be considered a fairly dry – but essential – topic related to the profession of landscape architecture and Landscape Architecture Month. Part of becoming a landscape architect is this licensure process, an exam is administered by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB) in the United States.
In California, the LARE exam is actually administered by the Landscape Architects Technical Committee, which operates under the state government’s Department of Consumer Affairs. The California Department of Consumer Affairs consists of numerous professional boards and committees.
The initial process can be a bit confusing, as one has to first complete an eligibility application with the LATC. The state then must deem an individual eligible to take the exam at a cost of $35 for the application. The candidate also has to open a council record with CLARB, and needs to renew it every year while taking the exams. The fee for the council record is $150, renewable every year.
After the LATC approves the eligibility application, the candidate can register for any one or all of the exams once the registration period opens. The registration period opens several months before the examination time frame which occurs three times a year in April, August, and December. There are 4 national exams and a supplemental exam in California. Section 1 (Project and Construction Management) and Section 2 (Inventory and Analysis) cost $350 each. Section 3 (Design) and Section 4 (Grading, Drainage and Construction Documentation) cost $540 each.
After passing all four exams, one must take the California Supplemental exam which costs a total of $310, which includes the application and exam fees. In total, one spends a minimum of $2,275 to become a licensed landscape architect, requiring a hefty annual fee to maintain licensure. Is it worth it? Absolutely. I believe that obtaining one’s license really solidifies an individual’s dedication to the profession and one’s competency to protect to health, safety, and the welfare of people and the environment.
I find that to be successful in passing the exams, one must understand not only the content that you’re being tested on, but also how to study and how to take the exams. For those who are interested, there is a lot of study material and tips from your fellow coworkers, books, and websites that you can reference. Feel free to ask me any time!