What Are the Education Requirements for a Career As an Architect?

Several requirements are in place for those aspiring to become an architect. First, students must complete a professional degree, such as a Master of Architecture or Bachelor of Architecture. Second, students must participate in an accredited internship program. Finally, architects are required to participate in continuing education programs throughout their careers. Schools offering AutoCAD Drafting & Design Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Formal Education

The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) is the main organization that evaluates and accredits professional architecture programs. Many architecture students complete a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree program. Some then go on to complete a Master of Architecture (M. Arch.) degree, which can take 1-5 years to complete. Architecture programs vary, but most include these essential components:

  • Architectural History
  • Architectural Design Studio
  • Structural Systems

Important Facts about this Occupation

Median Pay (2014) $74,520
Job Outlook (2012-2022)17% growth in employment
Work EnvironmentAbout 20% were self-employed in 2012; Spend most of time in offices, may travel to construction sites; Required to work long hours when approaching a deadline; Often work one-on-one with clients
Similar OccupationsConstruction Managers, Civil Engineers, Industrial Designers, Interior Designers, Landscape Architects, Urban and Regional Planners

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Architectural Internship

Industry standard for architectural training is the Intern Development Program (IDP). This program helps students build valuable skills and stay up-to-date with current trends and practices in architecture. The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) oversees this program in a manner that stresses the mentor-apprentice relationship. Through the course of the internship, interns must complete a total of 3,740 hours and receive instruction in four main experience categories:

  • Pre-Design
  • Design
  • Project Management
  • Practice Management

Continuing Education

Architects are required to continue their education throughout their careers, as changes in technology and law affect the field. Each state establishes different specific requirements for continuing education, but all states mandate that architects stay current with changes involving building codes, design methods, and public safety concerns. Universities, municipal agencies, and organizations, such as NCARB, all offer information regarding continuing education options. These options can include:

  • Workshops
  • Courses
  • Seminars
  • Conferences

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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