How to Become an Architect

How to Become an Architect

People need places to live, work, eat, learn, play, meet, govern, shop, and worship. Houses, business buildings, schools, churches and other structures need to be built for specific purposes. Trained, licensed architects are needed to plan and design these structures to ensure quality, adherence to codes, as well as fulfill the wishes and requirements of the people using them.

What does an architect do?

An architect is responsible for drawing up plans and designs and supervising the construction process of the structures. They create concepts for buildings and turn the concepts into plans and illustrations. They design the general look and aesthetics of structures, but must also ensure buildings are economical, functional, safe, and fit the purpose of the structure.

Professional architects are often involved in all stages of a building project from the first discussion with the client to the opening day. They participate in a variety of tasks including collaborating with builders and clients, designing, engineering, supervising, and managing. Architects develop construction plans using Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology and computer-aided design and drafting (CADD).

Architects spend a lot of time explaining their visions and ideas and discuss the goals, budget, and needs of the project with clients. Click to see a list of programs to get your architecture degree online.

What kind of training does an architect need?

In the United States, architects must hold an architect license to practice in all 50 states and several U.S. territories. The requirements for an architecture license include a formal education in architecture, hands-on career training through architecture internships, and successfully passing the Architect Registration Examination in all areas.

In most states, a formal degree in architecture must be earned from one of the 114 architecture schools with National Architectural Accrediting Board accreditation. There are 3 types of professional architectural degrees: a 5-year bachelor degree, designed for students without previous architectural experience; a 2-year master degree for students with an undergraduate architecture degree or another related subject; and a 3-4 year master degree for students with an undergraduate degree in an unrelated area. All state boards require graduates to complete a 3-year architecture internship before taking the architect licensing examination.

Specialized positions in research or teaching may require an advanced graduate degree in architecture. Continuing education for architects is also required by most states to stay current with building codes and methods. Click to find out how to become an architect.

What are the prospects for a career in architecture?

Careers in architecture are projected to increase more rapidly than the average for all professions through the year 2016, increasing 18 percent from 132,000 jobs in 2006 to more than 155,000 jobs in 2016. (1)

Intense competition among firms is expected and opportunities for architecture degree graduates will be the best for those who can creatively distinguish themselves. Architects with knowledge and familiarity of environmentally-friendly (green) architectural methods will be favored.

How much do architects make?

Currently, the middle 50% of all entry-level architect salaries are between $32,573 and $42,798, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $46, 276. (2)

Architecture careers are perfect for people who appreciate buildings as an art form and have creative visual orientation and enjoy working with clients to create structures. Architectural career candidates must have strong communication, teamwork, and computer skills, along with excellent artistic and drawing skills.

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