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How to Become an Architect

There are many steps in the process to snagging your dream career, and it can sometimes be overwhelming. Where do you need to start?  Let’s look at an overview on becoming an architect.

Get your degree.

The first step in becoming an architect is finding a bachelor’s program in architecture. These typically take about five years to complete. Like most fields, if you are able to earn a master’s degree, there will be many more opportunities within the field that will present themselves to you. While at school, try to be involved as much as possible in activities related to the industry. Exposure to architecture organizations and competitions will hook you with valuable connections and will make you stand out to potential employers.

Complete an internship.

Architects must get their feet wet before they fully enter the field. This is where internships come in. In order to get your license, you must commit to three years working directly under an experienced architect. This will give you a better understanding of what you will be doing with your future than your classes could.

Get your license.

Every state has its own requirements, but pretty much all of them agree on the bachelor’s degree and the three-year internship. The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) administers an Architect Registration Examination (ARE), which you may have to take depending on your location. Architects are not allowed to practice in a state where they do not hold a current license from NCARB.

Get professionally certified.

Many young architects may choose to become certified (again through NCARB). It’s on a voluntary basis, but it’s impressive on a resume and it makes obtaining a license for another state easier. This will definitely come in handy when a spouse or curiosity causes you to move across the country.

Hold on to your license.

You have to renew your license every 3-5 years. Also, most states require continuing education (required hours vary) so that you keep up-to-date with the latest advancements in architecture. This also gives you the opportunity to collaborate with other architects in order to expand your capabilities.

Get a master’s degree.

As we talked about earlier, it can only help you to get an advanced degree. The more experience you have, the more desirable you look to architecture firms. Also, if you agree to work for them, some employers will actually pay for you to further your education so that you can bring all of those fantastic ideas back to their practice. It’s a lot of work to go to school at the same time you’re holding a full-time job, but the benefits are exponential as you look toward the future.

Get specialized.

Find an area of architecture that best suits your skill set and pour all of your energy into it. If you can earn experience in a particular area of specialization, then you are better equipped to climb the corporate ladder. Who knows? You may even be able to start your own firm one day.

Last Updated: June 13, 2017