There are two journeys you can take to become a landscape professional. The best route for you will depend on where you are in your career.

There are lots of different courses, each with its own focus and selling points, so do your research. Some courses are available part-time if you need more flexibility. Check if your course has been accredited by the Landscape Institute. This will give you the easiest and best-supported start to your future career.

Option 1: Undergraduate

If you haven’t yet been to uni and graduated in a higher education course you’ll need to get yourself on a three-year (full-time) landscape course as an undergraduate.

There are no essential subjects to get onto a course but any of these will be a big bonus: art, geography, biology, graphic design, English, chemistry, physics, design, technology, ICT, history. For design-based courses you might need to show a portfolio of your creative work.

Landscape professionals need a mix of skills so you should be interested in both arts and science subjects (including social sciences). Any uni will want to know you’re enthusiastic about a career in landscape and ready to get stuck in. Being a student member of the Landscape Institute is good evidence of your commitment. You’ll need to show that you’re passionate about the environment and people, and how the two interact.

Once you’ve graduated, you’ll have the chance to take a year out to do paid work in a landscape practice. This is really popular as it’s a great way to put everything you’ve studied so far into practice in the real world. Your uni will hook you up with industry connections and support you throughout.

After your year in practice, or straight after your undergraduate course if you chose not to take a year out, the next step will be a master’s course, called a PG diploma or MA (depending on the university). This will take up to a year and prepare you to start your career as a landscape professional.

Option 2: Conversion

If you’ve graduated with a non-landscape degree and are looking for a new direction, or you’re further down the line and would like to change careers, you can take the second option – a conversion course.

This takes up to two years full-time. Part-time options are also sometimes available. The entry requirements will be different for each course, so check with the university that you have what you need.

A conversion course is normally split into two stages. The first ‘conversion’ stage will teach you everything you need to know about landscape and give you the skills to move forward. Then comes stage two when you’ll work towards getting your postgraduate diploma or master’s award. Then, when you graduate, you’ll be on your way to becoming a fully accredited landscape professional.