What Degree Does an Architect Need?

Find out what degree you need to become an architect. Learn about what to study, what skills you'll need and how much you might make to determine if this career is a good fit for you. Schools offering AutoCAD Drafting & Design Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Architects are responsible for drawing up designs for a vast array of buildings, from hospitals and offices to factories and residences. They typically oversee every aspect of a process that includes coming up with creative ideas, using technical know-how to design blueprints and supervising construction. They must balance a building's beauty with legal restrictions, questions about public safety and, of course, practicality. Architects need at least a bachelor's degree in architecture to get started. The table below provides a quick overview of the typical wages, licensure and educational requirements for architects.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Architecture
Training Required Internship
Key Skills Creativity, visualization and analytical skills
Licensure Required Required in every state and D.C.
Job Growth (2016-2026) 4%*
Median Salary (2017) $78,470 per year*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Degree Do You Need to be an Architect?

At the minimum, you must earn a Bachelor of Architecture degree from an accredited program to be considered for a job as an architect. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are 122 schools in the United States that are accredited by the National Architecture Accrediting Board. Many are 5-year programs. Some architects choose to get a master's degree, which can add anywhere from one to five more years to their education.

Areas of study may include math, building design, computer-aided design and drafting, the history of architecture and methods of construction.

What Kind of Training Is Necessary?

Even with a 5-year bachelor's degree or a master's degree, architectural registration boards mandate that graduates complete an internship. During the internship - which usually lasts up to three years - graduates help draw blueprints, work on building models and research local building codes, among other tasks. Once the internship is complete, graduates can apply to become licensed.

Do You Need a License to Be an Architect?

Every state - and the District of Columbia -- requires licensure before architects can practice. A licensure candidate must typically have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited program and completed an internship. Then, he or she can take the Architect Registration Examination to become licensed. In addition, most states require architects to complete continuing education to renew their licenses. Continuing education consists of short-term training like seminars, self-study courses and workshops.

How Much Do Architects Make?

In 2017, the median annual salary for an architect in the United States was $78,470, according to the BLS. The top 10% saw a median annual wage of $134,610 or more. For the lowest 10%, the median wage was $47,480 or less. Architects working for the government, one of the top industries for these professionals in terms of employment, brought home median salaries of $89,720.

What's the Job Outlook for Architects?

The BLS projected that employment of architects would grow at a rate of 4% between 2016 and 2026. That's slower than the national average for all other jobs, which is currently 7%. The BLS notes that architects who specialize in green design, which involves using environmentally friendly materials, reducing waste and cutting down on energy consumption, should be in higher demand.

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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