How To Become An Architect

Do you want to become an architect and like the correct information to help you become an effective professional? Say no more. That is part of what I will show you here; how to become an architect.

The architecture industry is consistently growing. The computer and access to information have significantly changed how architecture has been practiced for the past 100 years. The word “architecture” is now as general as “music.” So, just like music, there are sub-niches in architecture.

As an architect, your work influences the workplace and people’s lives. In truth, being an architect is drastically different from the architecture school experience.

So carefully read to the end to discover all the necessary things you may require to become an architect, with or without a college degree.

What Is Architecture?

According to the wiki, architecture is both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings or other structures. So, architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural symbols and works of art.

So any specialist who has received certified professional training to carry out these tasks listed above is called an Architect.

The Architectural profession is one of the oldest professions before civil engineering. Even historical civilizations are often identified with their surviving architectural achievements. As has been said, the architectural career is rewarding and creative. Well, so that you know, no day is ever the same at work. Each new day opens with new opportunities and expectations.

This profession is generally not limited by background, gender, and age. Anyone can be an architect- man and woman alike.

One fantastic thing about this profession is that there are not enough architects. So you can become an architect and carve your niche in this vast industry.

Hence, architecture provides a sense of place and support for all types of human activity while creating a legacy that reflects and symbolizes culture and traditions.

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Who is an Architecture?

Architects have licensed specialists trained in the art and science of building design who develop the concepts for structures and turn those concepts into images and plans.

Their duties generally require specific skills—designing, engineering, managing, supervising, and communicating with clients and builders.

People need places to live, work, play, learn, shop, and eat. So, as an Architect, you are responsible for designing these places.

What does an Architect do?

There are so many facets that architects engage in. Part of what they do is plan, design, supervise, develop, and maintain public and private infrastructure projects and systems, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, water supply wastewater treatment systems, and so many others.

Some architectural designers may be involved in all phases of a construction project, from the initial discussion with the client through the final delivery of the completed structure. So, their duties require specific skills—designing, engineering, managing, supervising, and communicating with clients and builders.

Here are some specialized activities that you may be involved in as an architect:

  • Assist clients in obtaining construction bids, selecting contractors, and negotiating construction contracts.
  • Advice on energy efficiency measures evaluates how well the building design adapts to the needs of occupants and makes necessary improvements.
  • Design complexes such as urban centers, college campuses, and industrial parks.
  • Give preliminary estimates on cost and construction time
  • Prepare structure specifications
  • Direct workers who prepare drawings and documents
  • Prepare scaled drawings using computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) or hand. However, hand-drawing skills are very much required, especially during the conceptual stages of a project and when an architect is at a construction site.
  • Prepare contract documents for building contractors.
  • Manage construction contracts
  • Visit worksites to ensure that construction adheres to architectural plans
  • Seek new work by marketing and giving presentations.

How Much Does an Architect make? | Salary, Job Outlook, Work Environment

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Architects hold about 133,900 jobs. The largest employers of architects are as follows:

Architectural, engineering, and related services 60%
Self-employed workers
Government 3%


From a recent AIA study, 79% of architects work in firms with nine or fewer employees. And only 2% of architects work in firms with 100 or more employees.

Also, the BLS states that the median annual wage for architects was $79,380 in May 2018. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $48,020, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $138,120.

Furthermore, the employment of architects is projected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.

Demand is expected to increase as the need for Healthcare facilities grows. The baby-boomer population ages and the geometric increase in the world’s population is a fundamental reason for this.

So, the employment of architects is strongly tied to the construction industry’s activity. Therefore, these workers may experience unemployment when there is a slowdown in requests for new projects or when the overall level of construction falls.

There are various careers related to architectural design, namely:

  • Architectural and Engineering Manager
  • Civil Engineer
  • Construction and Building Inspectors
  • Construction Managers
  • Drafters
  • Industrial Designers
  • Interior Designers
  • Landscape Architect
  • Surveyors
  • Urban and Regional Planners

What Are The Requirements To Be An Architect?

There are requirements you must meet if you must become an architect. Some of these requirements are basic personal skills that you must develop, while some others may include critical educational and professional needs that you must meet.

Let us examine some of the personal skills you must possess if you have a swell time practicing as an architect.

Personal Skills Required

Below are some personal skills that guarantee success in your career of becoming an architectural designer.

  • Math skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Creativity
  • Organizational skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Communication skills
  • Technical skills

Educational Skills Required

While considering the various requirements, you must also consider architectural education requirements. To start a career as an architect, you must meet some acceptable and appreciable standard which usually begins with acquiring an architecture degree.

Below are some educational requirements for becoming an architectural designer.

  • High school background in maths, physics, and other natural sciences
  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in architecture.
  • Earn a Master’s degree.
  • Gain professional experience, primarily through a paid internship.
  • Pass the Architect Registration Exam and pursue professional certification.

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How much does it cost to become an architect?

The total cost to be an architect will depend on whether a public or private college offers the architectural degree and whether the student is attending in-state or out-of-state. However, a bachelor’s degree in architecture costs between $15,000 and more than $60,000 annually.

Well, of course, this includes tuition, fees, and books.

Is Being An Architect HARD?

The architecture profession is typically about slaving away on construction drawings, checking their staff’s work, invoicing clients, reviewing the work of contractors so they can get paid, handling their clients and employees, and managing all types of problems related to their projects and business.

However, if you exceed the long hours and complicated licensing and educational requirements, architecture is one of the most significant occupations known to man.

How long does it take to become an architect?

Usually, it takes about five years to acquire a Bachelor’s degree in this Architecture. This might depend on the school anyway. If you wish to pursue a master’s degree, it will take you a long time. A couple of years more may be involved. And if you further want to acquire a doctorate, you can be sure you will invest more time and resources.

So do the math; 5 years of bachelor’s degree plus two years of master’s degree plus two years of doctoral and professional studies may give you an average of 9 years.

However, You can still become a licensed architect with your bachelor’s degree.

But if you must advance and earn more money, you must grow professionally too.

17 Best Architecture Schools in the World | Updated

Which are the best Architecture schools I can attend?

Some schools have been recognized and rated based on their notable and outstanding contributions to the making of renowned architectural designers. Most of these schools offer bachelor’s degrees in various options. You can also find programs leading to masters and doctorate degrees in this field.

These architectural schools were ranked according to the QS World University ranking system as some best architecture schools.

Enrolling in any of these schools assures you of well-meaning careers in architecture. So, you can find below the list of the best architecture schools in the world.

  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Manchester School of Architecture
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Purdue University–West Lafayette
  • University of Texas–Austin
  • Havard University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University

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Steps to Becoming an Architect: The complete guide

Here is what you have been waiting for. This is a step-by-step guide on how to have an excellent architecture career. So carefully read through to learn more.

Obtain a bachelor’s degree.

A 5-year bachelor’s degree is the entry-level requirement if you want to practice architecture. At this level, students take various courses in math, structural elements, project management, fluid dynamics, and environmental planning. They learn from various media, including classroom lectures, internships or collaborative training, and on-site fieldwork.

Select an elective and build your knowledge in it.

An architecture degree is a broad field of study. While taking your undergraduate courses, it is wise you narrow it down to one aspect of architecture. There are several options for concentrations. Areas you may consider include construction engineering, structural engineering, and geotechnical engineering.

Several competitions are available to students pursuing degrees in architecture, including competitions hosted by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. And these competitions provide students with the experience to fill on resumes. Also, they help students to evaluate their design skills better.

Apply for Internship Programs while still in school

All states always make it compulsory for architects to complete training or internship programs before obtaining a license to become an architect.

Some states have adopted the Intern Development Program (IDP) administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and the American Institute of Architects. So, completion of the IDP entails 5,600 hours of state- and NCARB-approved work experience.

However, an internship in the area of your career will expose you to on-hands training sessions with experts in the field while you are still in school.

So, the four main experience areas covered in the IDP are pre-design, design, project management, and practice management. Interns learn about various topics, including schematic design, site, building analysis, zoning regulations, and contract negotiation.

These opportunities also serve students well for future employment, allowing them to network with other professionals, receive mentorship from an established architect, and possibly leverage their experience into a job after graduation.

Apply for State Licensure and Certification

Architects must hold licensure from the states in which they practice. Although conditions for obtaining licensure vary, most states require the completion of an approved bachelor’s degree program and an internship. Then, qualified applicants may sit for the NCARB’s Architect Registration Examination (ARE). This is a 7-part pass-or-fail test covering topics in site planning, building systems, and construction documents.

To further your career even as a residential architect, you can opt for voluntary NCARB certification to add more weight to your working portfolio.

Pursue a graduate Program.

This is optional, but you must do it. Pursue a master’s degree program to advance your career even at the management level. This is very important because some organizations will only consider your application if you already have a master’s degree in this field.

Even a student without a college degree in architecture can enroll to study architecture at the postgraduate level, provided you have a bachelor’s degree in any other field.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get an Online Architecture degree?

Online Architecture degrees can be earned at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate levels. When achieved, you will help design and help build structures like airports, roads, bridges, buildings, and railways, which work in diverse areas such as complexes, hospitals, parks, etc.

What is the annual cost of a bachelor’s degree in architecture?

A bachelor’s degree in architecture costs $15,000 to more than $60,000 annually.

Are Architects in demand?

Yes, architects are in demand. The employment of architects is projected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.

How much do architects make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for architects was $79,380 in May.

In a Nutshell

If you want to carve out your path to success as an architect, it’s worth drawing inspiration from the professionals who have created fruitful career paths through internships.

You can take several paths to develop the Architectural designer career you desire. Most thriving architects followed these steps to get to senior positions.

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