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Path to Membership

There are various options through which an individual may be eligible to apply to become a Full Member in the Association. Eligibility of full membership for applicants is based on an assessment of relevant education, experience, and examination.

See the Path to Full Membership Infographic 

Step 1: Study Landscape Architecture and Become a Student Affiliate Member

OALA supports members and students aspiring to become professional landscape architects.

Become a Student Affiliate Member

Sign up to become a Student Affiliate to stay up to date with the profession and receive association newsletters and event notifications. 

Study in an accredited program

Individuals with a Bachelor or Masters of Landscape Architecture from an accredited program are eligible to apply upon graduation. Information on accredited programs can be found in the OALA Handbook, Section 7.2 - Education Requirements.

Study in a non-accredited program

Individuals who have graduated from a related, but a non-accredited program, must complete a minimum of four (4) years of relevant professional landscape architectural experience (post-graduation) to apply for Associate membership. The Examining Board will review the experience report provided by applicants with a non-accredited degree and will be assigned a professional development period of 4-7 years. This experience period is in addition to the 4 years’ experience required to apply for Associate membership .

Step 2: Become an Associate Member

Only those who are interested in becoming a Full Member in the Association should apply for membership as an Associate. Those who do not aspire to become a Full Member, but are interested in the profession of landscape architecture, should apply for membership under the Affiliate category

Individuals who have completed a Bachelor or Master degree in landscape architecture – Persons who possess a bachelor or master of landscape architecture degree from an institution recognized by OALA are eligible to apply for Associate status immediately upon graduation.  To learn more about recognized degrees and education requirements, please review page 6 of Section 7.2 of the OALA Handbook: Education Requirements.

Individuals who have completed other related education – Persons who possess other related degrees, diplomas, and who have a minimum of four (4) years of relevant professional landscape architectural experience (post-graduation from the related degree), are eligible to apply for Associate status.

To apply for Associate membership, candidates will:

  1. Submit a completed application form with the required documentation and fees as outlined on the application form.
    For study in a non-accredited program only:
    Individuals will submit a report that outlines the landscape architecture experience gained over the 4+ years. The report should follow the experience report requirements outlined in Section 9.1 of the OALA Handbook. Applicants may refer to the PDP Summary Experience Chart in the OALA Handbook to see the list of experience areas the Board will assess.
  2. Have the endorsement of one OALA Full Member.*
  3. Have current employment in the field.
  4. Have an advisor who is a Full Member of the OALA (with a minimum 4 years’ as a Full Member).

* Note: An advisor may also sign as an endorser on the application.

Candidates who meet these eligibility requirements will be accepted as Associate members. Upon acceptance, individuals with an accredited degree will be assigned a minimum two-year period in OALA’s Professional Development Program (PDP). Individuals with a non-accredited degree will be assigned a minimum four-year period in OALA’s PDP.  Individuals accepted as Associate members will also receive an invoice for their annual membership dues.

The purpose of the Professional Development Program is to assist the Associate by providing the opportunity for regular interaction with active members as well as monitoring the Associate’s progress in acquiring appropriate professional experience and guidance.

The program consists of three components that can be done simultaneously. 

  1. Experience reports
    Once an Associate application is accepted, the individual will be given a mandatory PDP Experience period to complete before they can apply for full membership (24-72 months). The Associate’s advisor will also provide a mid and final assessment to complete this requirement.
  2. Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.)
    Successful completion of the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.) is required for licensure as a landscape architect. Three passed exams allow the Associate to apply for full membership with certificate. Four passed exams also grant the use of the OALA stamp.
  3. Independent Course of Study (IS)
    All Associates complete the Independent Course of Study. Associates are expected to read all of the Primary Reference List “A” and any of the Secondary Reference List “B” that applies to the work they will be doing .

Step 3: Apply as a Full Member

There are several options for Full Member eligibility including:

  • graduating with a BLA/MLA and completing the Associate PDP;
  • equivalent membership* and;
  • extensive relevant professional experience with a BLA or MLA degree.

*Equivalent Membership
Persons who are certified full members (or equivalent) in an organization equivalent to OALA and recognized by the OALA are eligible to apply for full membership. Currently, the two other regulated jurisdictions in Canada are the AALA and BCSLA. To learn more about the National Reciprocity Agreement for the Profession of Landscape Architecture in Canada, click here.