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Architecture Associate Degrees: Best Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Farah Abdullah - March 05, 2022


Architecture associate degrees are an excellent way for budding architects to get an entry-level job in the field of architecture. Alternatively, you can use this degree as a stepping stone towards a four-year bachelor’s degree.

Architecture is an exciting field for creative learners with architectural design career options. Pursuing an education in architecture will give you the essential background and skills to pursue careers with architecture firms, design companies, construction technologies, and landscape architectures.

This article will explore the best colleges for architecture. Our comprehensive list of the best schools and programs will help you choose the right program to achieve a successful career in architecture. Furthermore, we cover essential information like architecture associate degree requirements and financial aid options.

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What Is Architecture?

Architecture is a field that involves planning, designing, and overseeing the construction of various structures. Architects create designs in accordance with a client’s requirements. They select construction materials, estimate resource costs, manage drafters, and make contracts. They use construction documents to map out their designs during the development phase.

What Is an Architecture Associate Degree?

An architecture associate degree is a two-year program that teaches students the fundamentals of architecture and design. The core classes focus on architectural designs, architectural drafting techniques, computer-aided drafting (CAD), and technical skills.

Architecture schools provide industry-leading software and 3D modeling software. This allows students to practice the principles they learn in class. Architecture associate degrees serve as a bridge to a bachelor’s degree in architecture or related fields.

Architecture Associate Degree Requirements

The admission requirements for an architecture associate degree are usually a high school diploma or a high school equivalency and a minimum grade point average (GPA). This will be set by the college you are applying to. Furthermore, you must be at least 18 years old on the first day of class.

It is important to consult with an academic advisor for additional requirements. Some programs may require higher grades in math, for example. A passion for engineering and design, while not a formal requirement, is important for students considering an education in architecture.

How Much Does an Architecture Associate Degree Cost?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of an architecture associate degree for on-campus students is $16,445 in total. If you can stay with a family, the cost goes down to $10,024. Tuition by itself averages at $4,230 for students.

Architecture Associate Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Architecture Degree

Prospective and current students of architecture associate degrees can opt for different financial aid options like installment plans, loans, and grants. Students of accredited online programs can benefit from various financing options for online courses.

Most funding opportunities are applicable for tuition costs but some also help you finance living costs, books, and other expenses. Federal financial aid had a success rate of about 86 percent over the last ten years among both public and private schools.

Best Architecture Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Broward College Associate of Arts in Architecture Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Delta College Associate of Applied Science in Architectural Technology Higher Learning Commission
Fullerton College Associate of Science in Architecture Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
Lone Star College Associate of Applied Science in Architectural Design Technology Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
New York City College of Technology Associate of Applied Science in Architectural Technology Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Northcentral Technical College Architectural Design and Technology Higher Learning Commission
Pennsylvania College of Technology Associate of Applied Science in Architecture Middle States Commission on Higher Education
San Diego Mesa College Associate of Science in Architecture Technician Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Southwestern College Associate of Arts in Accounting Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Wake Technical Community College Associate of Applied Science in Architectural Technology Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Best Colleges for Architecture: Top Architecture Associate Degree Programs

Choosing the right architecture program is vital as you start your educational journey. The successful completion of an associate degree in architecture will set you up for a successful career in architecture. Below is a list of the ten best colleges and on-campus programs for this field.

Associate of Arts in Architecture | Broward College

Broward College prepares architects for a future in the real world. Associate degree holders can become landscape architects, interior designers, urban planners, structural engineers, architectural managers, and inspectors. The curriculum covers architectural drawing, architectural design, materials and construction methods, and calculus for business.

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Associate of Applied Science in Architectural Technology | Delta College

Delta College offers technical education for inspiring architects to develop engineering skills. Students receive practical training, learn with state-of-the-art equipment and software, and gain knowledge of architectural principles. The program includes co-op opportunities and also free tutoring for architecture students.

Associate of Science in Architecture | Fullerton College

This program covers architectural drawing, design, drafting, and computer-aided design (CAD) courses. You will also take an internship course and develop structural drawings using CAD software. Fullerton College envisions bringing global change and advanced learning with flexibility.

Associate of Applied Science in Architectural Design Technology | Lone Star College

This full-time program empowers students with design and technical skills. The curriculum covers CAD design, drafting, structural design, electrical design, and mechanical design. Graduates will also gain skills like critical thinking, active listening, and doing presentations.

Associate of Applied Science in Architectural Technology | New York City College of Technology

City Tech offers a program where students work in studios to perform design and documentation tasks in architectural and construction projects. This will help students to design, analyze, and present their work using digital tools. Graduates will easily find entry-level positions as architects, drafters, renderers, and specification writers.

Architectural Design and Technology | Northcentral Technical College

In this program, you will take a range of courses that give you the skills to enter the field of architecture or transition to a baccalaureate program. The core classes focus on modern methods and practices like sustainability, energy conservation, energy modeling, and building information modeling.

Associate of Applied Science in Architecture | Pennsylvania College of Technology

Penn College offers a hands-on learning program that focuses on the design and planning of buildings and architectural structures. You will apply architectural concepts and skills in labs alongside expert faculty. Upon completion, you will be ready for a career in architecture.

Associate of Science in Architecture Technician | San Diego Mesa College

Mesa College offers personalized architecture degrees according to your career goals. You can pursue an associate of science degree by completing 23 credit hours of core classes along with various other subjects to meet a 60-credit hours requirement. The curriculum focuses on digital design tools like Revit , ArchiCAD, and AutoCAD.

Associate of Arts in Accounting | Southwestern College

This program prepares students for the current global environment. Students gain problem-solving and analytical skills to understand, analyze, and present financial statements and financial data. You will also learn business communication economics and business law.

Associate of Applied Science in Architectural Technology | Wake Technical Community College

In this program, students learn drafting, illustrating, design, and CAD skills. Students will demonstrate a conceptual understanding of engineering, construction, and design in their projects. They will use popular computer software as they prepare for a career in design and construction.

Best Online Architecture Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Academy of Art University Associate of Arts in Interior Architecture & Design WASC Senior College and University Commission
Academy of Art University Associate of Arts in Landscape Architecture WASC Senior College and University Commission
Arkansas State University Associate of Applied Science in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Higher Learning Commission
Brookdale Community College Associate of Science in Architecture Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Columbus State Community College Associate of Science in Architecture Higher Learning Commission
Miami Dade College Associate of Science in Architectural Design and Construction Technology Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Mid Michigan College Associate of Applied Science Computer-Aided Drafting & Design Technology Higher Learning Commission
Minnesota State College Southeast Associate of Applied Science in Computer-Aided Design Drafting Technologies Higher Learning Commission
Ridgewater College Associate in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Higher Learning Commission
Seminole State College of Florida Associate of Arts in Architecture Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Best Colleges for Architecture: Top Online Architecture Associate Degree Programs

Prospective architecture students who are too busy for in-person programs can look into distance learning . The best online programs educate you through flexible and self-paced learning. Below is a curated list of the best online colleges and associate degree programs in architecture.

Associate of Arts in Interior Architecture & Design | Academy of Art University

This program is for students who are passionate about a career in architecture or interior design. The online curriculum offers a quality education that runs parallel to the on-campus programs. Online students have access to the same tutors, resources, and tools as on-campus students as they prepare for a career in design.

Associate of Arts in Landscape Architecture | Academy of Art University

The Academy of Art offers a program carefully curated by experts in the field of architecture. Students learn architecture concepts by carrying out real-world projects in landscape architecture. Online students will find a motivating and creative learning environment and community.

Associate of Applied Science in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design | Arkansas State University

The Arkansas State online program equips students with drafting and design skills through hands-on learning. This is ideal for those looking to become CAD designers . Online students practice designing, drawing, and planning using CAD software. They make projects using AutoCAD , Revit, SolidWorks, and Creo.

Associate of Science in Architecture | Brookdale Community College

This online program combines art and engineering to prepare students for a bachelor’s program or an architectural license. The program is ideal for creative professionals who wish to further explore architecture and gain professional skills. The curriculum also teaches you English, algebra, pre-calculus, and social sciences.

Associate of Science in Architecture | Columbus State Community College

This online program teaches architectural drawing, writing specifications, and building plans for construction and development. The course covers both traditional drafting and designing along with CAD drafting. The curriculum covers subjects like enclosure materials, environmental safety, structures, sustainability, economic geography, and psychology.

Associate of Science in Architectural Design and Construction Technology | Miami Dade College

Miami Dade offers a hands-on program with state-of-the-art facilities to help students earn knowledge and skills in architecture and construction. This is a 66-credit hours program that prepares graduates for advanced education.

The online course features a 100 percent virtual learning environment offering live faculty lectures. This allows for self-paced learning, in-person class instructions, and blended learning.

Associate of Applied Science Computer-Aided Drafting & Design Technology | Mid Michigan College

This online program covers drawing, information systems, AutoCAD, Solidworks, metrology, applied physics, and math with a technical focus. Students gain communication skills and analytical skills for real-world CAD job opportunities .

Associate of Applied Science in Computer-Aided Design Drafting Technologies | Minnesota State College Southeast

The program focuses on design skills like drawing, designing, and drafting. Students produce SolidWorks design projects throughout their studies. This is a practical learning program where students learn written and oral communications skills. They also get a solid background in math, history, humanities, and physics.

Associate in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design | Ridgewater College

Ridgewater offers a flexible associate degree program to help creative individuals enhance their technical skills. Learners work on a wide set of industry software with experienced instructors. The distance learning program provides aspiring designers with skills in drafting.

Associate of Arts in Architecture | Seminole State College of Florida

Seminole State offers affordable education, online learning opportunities, and transfer opportunities to advanced degree programs. This architecture associate program offers students support for further education or architectural jobs in Florida .

What’s the Average Architecture Associate Degree Salary?

URL: pexels-photo-4491459.jpeg

Alt-Text: A person wearing glasses drawing on a piece of paper while looking at architectural designs on a computer monitor.

Caption: An architecture associate degree will get you started on a lucrative career path.

Architects earn an average salary of $82,320 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent of architects earn an average salary of $136,310 per year. An associate degree in architecture is the first step on your journey to becoming a professional architect.

Top Architecture Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Architecture Associate Degree Jobs Average Salary
Landscape Architects $70,630
Building Inspectors $62,860
Architecture Interior Designers $62,620
Architectural Drafters $57,500
Surveying and Mapping Technicians $46,200

Best Architecture Associate Degree Jobs Explained

Landscape Architects

Landscape architectures design public outdoor open spaces like parks and campuses. They balance architectural space planning with the natural environment. They use architectural tools like computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Building Inspectors

Building inspectors assess and evaluate the specifications of architectural and construction designs to meet regulations. They are good with documentation to keep logs and track findings. They monitor violations and issue reports after inspection of equipment and devices.

Architecture Interior Designers

Architecture and interior designers professionals check building codes and develop architectural drawings. It is an entry-level job and you work with a senior architect. Architecture interior designers often go on to become licensed architects.

Architectural Drafters

Drafting is a technical job that involves creating detailed drawings and technical designs based on an architect’s initial design. They may also be called CAD operators and work with other architects in the design development process. They understand drafting techniques and how to select building materials.

Surveying and Mapping Technicians

Surveying and mapping technicians visit sites and take measurements. They make maps of the earth’s surface using geographic data. This data is entered into various computer software either on the field or in an office environment.

Benefits of an Architecture Associate Degree

  • Creativity. An architecture associate degree will help you explore and nurture your creative side.
  • Techniques. You will learn architectural design and drafting techniques and best practices.
  • Skills. You will develop communication, interpersonal, and analytical skills in an associate program.
  • Networking. Expert professionals teach courses from accredited programs. You will get to network and meet like-minded creative and professional individuals.
  • Applications. Most programs encourage students to engage in hands-on projects and apply learned concepts to real-world projects.

Should You Get an Associate Degree in Architecture?

Yes, you should get an associate degree in architecture if you are looking for a rewarding career in architecture, construction, or design. This educational degree will give you the foundational knowledge for various architectural roles.

An associate degree introduces motivated learners to a variety of subjects in architecture. You can follow a creative path or technical path in architectural design and planning. Furthermore, you can use your associate degree to transfer to a four-year program and obtain a bachelor’s degree in architecture.

Architecture Associate Degree FAQ

Do architects get paid well?

Yes, architects get paid well as they can work across a variety of high-paying jobs. For example, architects working in government earned an average of $97,960 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Architects working in the construction industry can earn an annual wage of about $79,840.

Can you become an architect with an interior architecture degree?

Yes, you can become an architect with an interior architecture degree because you will have the technical competence and knowledge of an architect. For example, as an interior degree graduate, you can become a landscape architect and design outdoor spaces and their layouts.

What is computer-aided design (CAD)?

CAD is the use of computer software to aid with the design process. It increases productivity and improves the quality of design. Architects, engineers, and construction managers use CAD instead of manual drafting. AutoCAD, SketchUp, and Blender are examples of popular CAD software.

Can a drafter become an architect?

Yes, a drafter can become an architect by completing a bachelor’s degree in architecture. Accredited colleges allow students to transfer credits of an associate degree and transition to a bachelor’s program.

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Farah Abdullah

About the author: Farah is a writer, project consultant, and IT event organizer. She is a certified project management professional and an avid tech reader. Farah holds a BSc in Information Systems from Effat University in Saudi Arabia as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Project Management from the University of Roehampton in London.

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