How to Become an Architect

Are you fascinated with how buildings are designed, and do you dream of designing them yourself? Are you convinced you could give Frank Lloyd Wright or Antoni Gaudi a run for their money? If so, you might have a future in architecture. This field brings creativity together with the science of building design. However, there are a few unique aspects to pursuing this profession, as you will see below.

Getting Your Degree

There are many professions that you can enter with a degree that is unrelated to the job at hand. Not every accountant has majored in accounting. However, architecture requires a professional degree, meaning that if you want to work in the field, you must major in the topic. At minimum, you will need a bachelor’s degree, and in most cases, it needs to be at a school accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.

While school can be costly, this is a well-paid profession, and you can check the repayment amount for private student loans using a student loan calculator. These private loans can help supplement scholarships, federal loans and other funding supplements. Be aware that unlike most undergraduate degrees, which usually take four years, an architecture degree often takes five. Once you have completed your undergraduate degree, you might want to consider a master’s degree as well.

Know Your Field

You need to know buildings. Take some time to look at pictures of buildings in books and to look at the buildings around you whenever you are out and walking around, thinking about what does and doesn’t work and why. Learn about famous architects and look at photos of their work. This can help you start to get a sense of your own style. You might not always be able to work within that style, depending on what your client wants, but you will get a good grasp of the scope and versatility of buildings that will serve you well in your career.

Know Your Requirements

In order to work as an architect, you need to be licensed. Every state varies in its licensing requirements, so you’ll need to know what state you plan to work in. As part of preparing for your license, you must work for a certain amount of time as an intern. These hours should be overseen by the Architectural Experience Program. You’ll need to create a record with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards to record all of your work experience, which should be across several different skill areas.

Once you have the minimum amount of practical experience specified by your jurisdiction, which is usually several thousand hours, you can take the Architect Registration Examination in the state where you plan to work. You’re not quite done yet. You then need to submit several pieces of information, including proof of your internship. Keep in mind that in order to become fully qualified, you will need anywhere from eight to eleven or so years, first going to school and then getting your practical experience as an intern. Be aware as well that there might be continuing education requirements in your particular jurisdiction.