How to be a landscape manager?

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Experience is key for landscape managers, with practical skills and leadership potential being essential. Landscape architects design landscapes, while managers focus on maintenance. Licensing is not always required, but certifications and education can be helpful. Landscape managers may work alone or manage teams, and may need to participate in manual labor. Higher education is not always required, but can be preferred by employers.

While certifications and degrees exist in the landscape field and can be helpful, more often than not experience is the essential credential for those wanting to become a landscape manager. Other positions at a landscaping company may lead, through promotion, to a management position. A landscape manager’s job is generally a very hands-on one, and employability will depend primarily on the ability to demonstrate both strong leadership potential and practical skills such as machine operation and knowledge of landscaping techniques.

The requirements for becoming a landscape manager and those for becoming a landscape architect, as well as their job duties, are quite distinct. Sometimes the two job titles are mistakenly used interchangeably. A landscape architect is responsible for the design of various landscapes, including, for example, golf courses, university campuses, and shopping malls. Landscape architects decide the placement of green spaces, pathways, buildings and other facilities in these types of locations. Landscape managers may sometimes direct renovations to an existing landscape, but their main occupation is not landscape design but day-to-day maintenance.

Licensing is a requirement in many jurisdictions to work as a landscape architect, but it is less common as a legal requirement to become a landscape manager. Even where the law does not require it, landscape managers who want to excel in their professions can pursue certifications or join professional associations. It is also possible to work as a landscape architect and as a landscape manager, performing both functions.

Depending on the size of the landscape or company, the manager can work completely alone on a site or be tasked with managing teams of hundreds of employees. Even when directing very large numbers of workers, it is important for anyone wishing to become a landscape manager to understand that it will likely be necessary to participate to some extent in manual labor, leading other workers by example. Good landscaping managers are familiar with the machines and processes needed to carry out their own duties and those of their subordinates.

In some countries, all levels of post-secondary study – from certificates to doctorates – are available to those wishing to specifically study to become a landscape manager. In most places this does not represent a common area of ​​specialization, and those studying with the aim of increasing their employability in this field tend to choose other applicable degree programs such as management, civil engineering, environmental studies or horticulture. While formal higher education studies are not always required to become a landscape manager, employers in many industries increasingly prefer post-secondary education when hiring for management roles.

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