Currently working as a planner, hoping to retrain as a landscape architect or architect


I'm 27 and have been working as a planner since April 2017. I have a masters and some money saved up. I'm currently working for a municipality as a policy planner in Ontario, and while I like the work, I'd ultimately like to do something more related to design. I have more of an artistic background and have skills with drawing, painting, graphic design, and GIS. 

It looks like the only option for me to train as a landscape architect would be to get a 3 year masters, but I don't really want to take 3 years off of my career at this age. Apparently you can become a landscape architect with a degree in a related field with more training in my province, but I haven't really found anyone on Linkedin who went that route. To become an architect I'd also have to do a 3 year masters or do the RAIC syllabus. Which of these options is preferable in my situation or would you recommend something else entirely? Thanks!

Oct 22, 19 7:41 pm
Non Sequitur

you may be able to take an accredited 2y architecture masters if you have a relatable undergrad and a superior portfolio.  The syllabus is different and allows you to keep working while completing the course work but it takes just as long and you don’t get a master degree out of it ( which by itself opens up many doors). Another problem with the syllabus is that it’s quskity in entirely based on the volunteers who run the local raic chapters. Smaller cities might not even have the option. 

I can’t say much about landscape arch in Ontario. The only program I e ever heard of is ubc... and I only of one practicing LA in my city. 

Oct 22, 19 7:47 pm

Pretty sure you can't register into a 2-year MArch in Canada without the pre-professional degree, and even then it's on a case by case basis. The schools are very strict about this; the OP will almost certainly have to attend a 3-year program.

Non Sequitur

You're probably correct. It's unclear what exactly is the OP's academic background here... hence my "may be able" and "relatable undergrad" comment. 8-)

Chad Miller

You're so noncommittal, it's like you're a politician or an architect speaking with a client . . .


I can't speak for Canada, but here in the US of A...

My wife changed careers at 30 and - in lieu of a 5-year Landscape Arch program - enrolled in a Community College for landscape design. She got a certificate in less than 2 years and has been gainfully designing idyllic backyards for rich folks ever since.

It's not "Architecture" (legally) but depending on what scale you want to work at, a Design program might be a good fit for your life without being too much of a time-burden.

Oct 22, 19 8:16 pm

This is a good article about architecture I hope that it can help for more ideas.

Oct 24, 19 1:29 pm

I left a career in planning to do a 3 year MLA when I was 31. While I wish I did it sooner, I’m very glad to have made the move regardless.

Unless you just want to just work on backyards and planting design, don’t do the certificate route. Look for programs that are accredited. University of Toronto has a very good program I hear. Three years will fly by. 

Oct 28, 19 9:53 am

Go with landscape...we have the best ceilings.  

Oct 28, 19 2:20 pm

There typically is a lot of overlap in those programs ... see if you can get an advanced standing at least,  Likely not more than a term but I had a friend do his planning degree and landscape degree at the same time due to some previous credits etc and it took him an extra term. I personally did a Landscape Degree followed by an Architectural Degree there was easily  a number of courses that over lapped and used some of my previous classes for the electives etc.  It allowed my to finish my second degree a year earlier that the majority of my classmates.

Oct 30, 19 3:32 pm

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