Documenting Work Experience for the California Supplemental Exam for Landscape Architects

Documenting Your Professional Work Experience

In order to apply for the Landscape Architect Registration Exam (LARE), you need to prove to the Landscape Architect Technical Committee (LATC). When you apply to take the licensing exams, you will be asked to document your work experience. This is done with a form you download from the LATC website.

Here is the catch…You don’t document your own work experience.

Fountain at Balboa Park at Night. California Supplemental Exam for landscape architects (CSE).

How It Works

While you must document your professional work experience, you are not the person who actually does the documenting. Instead, you mail the form to your current and/or previous employers and have them document your work experience. They mail the forms directly to the LATC. If all goes well, you can have everything documented in a week or two.

Work Experience Requirements

Here are the current work experience requirements for a landscape architect license in California.

“Current regulations do not allow early testing. In order to take the LARE in California, candidates must meet all the following examination eligibility requirements:
  1. Be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Hold a degree (Associate, Bachelors, or Masters) or extension certificate (UCB Extension and UCLA Extension) in landscape architecture.
  3. Have at least six years of combined educational and training/experience credit.
  4. Have at least two years of training/experience credit (1500 hours of qualifying employment equals one year of training/experience credit; limited to 40 hours credit per week) with one year of training/experience credit under the direct supervision of a landscape architect licensed in a U.S. jurisdiction gained after obtaining a qualifying degree.”

Does Your Supervisor Need to be Licensed in California?

Landscape design by Thomas Church, FASLA. Photo by Morisius Cosmonaut.

Landscape design by Thomas Church, FASLA. Photo by Morisius Cosmonaut.

Absolutely not! As long as you worked under the direct supervision of a licensed landscape architect, architect, or engineer, you may count this towards your work experience. Your supervisor could be licensed in any state and count towards your work experience. I used out-of-state experience to qualify for the CSE exam.

Strategies For Documenting Work Experience

As landscape architects, we tend to move between offices early in our careers to gain a variety of experiences (or run from recessions). It is important to keep up contact with your former supervisors since the will be the people who document your work experience. Don’t burn any bridges when you leave an employer. Even if you left a position on less than desirable terms, the overwhelming majority of landscape architects will still document your experience and vouch for your ability. Unless you demonstrated gross incompetence or were involved in a crime, there is no reason for a former employer to not verify your work experience.

Landscape plan

For more information about California’s landscape architect license requirements, click here.

Here is a link to the work experience form.


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John is a landscape architect who is currently preparing to take the California Supplemental Exam to become licensed in California. He is currently a licensed professional landscape architect in Georgia and Florida. John graduated from California State University, Pomona with a BSLA degree in landscape architecture in 1997 and has extensive practice experience in residential and commercial landscape design.

Posted in About the CSE for Landscape Architects, Licensure Tagged with: , , , , , ,

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