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How to Become a Architect

Architecture is one of those things that we appreciate every day but forget to truly acknowledge. If you find yourself admiring the way houses, buildings, and other structures are designed, you may want to learn how to become an architect.

Working as an architect is a great way to express your creative side while benefiting others. Being able to build functional, yet stylish infrastructure paves the way for a more interesting future. Read on to learn how to become an architect.

What Is an Architect?

An architect is qualified to design structures. Whether the structure is needed for technical or aesthetic purposes, architects are trained to create the best possible outcome for their employer.

Architects are driven by both creativity and practicality. They can distinguish between art and function so they can mix the two. Every building or structure you see has been designed by an architect.

What Does an Architect Do?

Saying they build things is the simple answer, but their jobs include much more than that. Architects are responsible for a variety of things.

Drawing Detailed Plans for Structures

When architects create a blueprint for a structure, they have to make it as detailed as possible. This means including everything from the technical layout to including how HVAC systems and electricity will be incorporated. On top of all this, they also ensure the design includes an aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Monitoring the Construction Process

Since architects come up with the design, it only makes sense that they have to see it through. By monitoring the construction process, architects can make sure the structure is being built on schedule and with the right materials.

Coordinating with Other Architects and Engineers

Oftentimes, clients will request structures that are difficult to design. That is why architects spend a lot of their time coordinating with other architects and engineers to figure out the best way of doing things for their clients.

Essential Architect Skills


Since architects design every aspect of a structure prior to it being built, creativity is a must. You have to be able to imagine the structure, both inside and out, to design it well. Knowing how to incorporate aspects such as electricity and HVAC systems, but maintain aesthetics, can be a challenge. Creative minds have an easier time solving this challenge.

Legal Knowledge

Though clients will give you guidelines for projects, you will be the one responsible for building the structure so that it is up-to-date with city and state building codes. Typically, a surveyor will be around to help with this process, but having the knowledge yourself can save everyone time and money.

Team Player

Obviously, building a structure of any sort is not a one-person job. Being able to easily and happily work with a team is crucial to being an architect. If you can’t get along well with your team, you aren’t going to make anything happen.

Architect Salaries and Job Outlook

As with any job, the pay you earn as an architect differs based upon your education, experience, position, and employer. Having a higher education and more experience is not technically necessary for many positions, but it helps achieve a higher salary.

Some architects make well over $130,000 per year, but the average annual salary is around $80,750. Those making six figures are likely the most experienced with the highest education, while those making $80,750 have been in their career for a while but have not been around for decades.

One of the most important aspects of any career is its job outlook. If you find out the profession you want to go into is dying off, there is really no point in spending years of your life preparing for it.

Luckily, architects will be around for a while. We are in an industrious and rapidly-growing period of time, and with that growth comes the demand for architects. Our society loves to see beautiful and modern buildings, keeping architects thriving.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, architect jobs are expected to see an eight percent increase by 2028, which is faster than many other careers. With advancements in science and technology, we will able to create exciting new structures that need to be designed by architects. We need them now more than ever.

One of the biggest reasons architecture is such a booming business is due to the baby boomer generation. Now that they are all growing older, there is a serious demand for nursing homes and healthcare facilities. Everyone is looking for a nice, beautiful, and safe place to entrust their loved ones to.

How Long Does it Take to Become an Architect?

Like many jobs, it can take a while to become an architect. After high school, architects spend around five years studying in college. This includes earning undergraduate and graduate degrees. All of this studying prepares students for real work.

After spending five years in college, graduates are expected to seek out internships. Since there are steps to becoming an architect after graduating, working as an intern is the best way to give you job experience.

Internships allow graduates plenty of time to practice their work before pursuing a license. On average, architects spend three years as interns before moving on. These three years are valuable to your development as an architect.

By the time school and internships have been factored together, you are looking at around 11 years. Of course, many schools offer fast-track programs and plenty of people knock a year or two off these average times.

How to Become an Architect: A Step by Step Guide

Becoming an architect can be a very easy process. By following these three simple steps, you will be on your way to a career in architecture in no time.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Earning a bachelor’s degree is how architects begin their career journeys. Bachelor’s degrees in architecture are available at a plethora of schools, from community colleges to universities. Wherever you go, this is a crucial first step.

Bachelor’s degree programs offer students an education in the history of architecture, as well as introductory courses about more complex topics. Courses cover subjects like fundamental design concepts and interior design.

Some colleges offer a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree that takes around five years to complete. You can also pursue a bachelor of art or science, but since those are pre-professional degrees, they may take longer to complete.

Step 2: Earn a Master’s Degree

After earning a bachelor’s degree, you will want to shoot for a master’s degree. This involves applying for and getting accepted into a program. For this, you will need a high GPA and letters of recommendation, among other things.

Once you have been accepted into a master’s program, you will start studying architecture more in-depth. Courses cover ecologically sustainable buildings and other unique electives.

Many programs will offer the opportunity to fast-track your master’s degree. These often take two to three years to complete, but with a fast-track option, it may take less than two years. If your bachelor’s degree is not in architecture, it will likely take much longer to earn your master’s degree.

Step 3: Complete an Internship and Become Licensed

Completing an internship is the step right after college. Being able to immediately get to work in the field is extremely important to building your work experience. While you will have to earn a license, you don’t need one for an internship.

Many architects work in internships for years while preparing for the licensing exam. The exam is different based on state, so be sure you are becoming licensed for the state you wish to work in. Each state has its own policies to follow, so having the right license is important.

Should You Become an Architect?

If architecture sounds like an interesting field for you, then you should become an architect. The process is very straightforward, the job pays quite well, and the outlook is great. This career is perfect for anyone who is a creative problem-solver.


How do you get started as an architect?
Having a degree in architecture and completing an internship is the best way to get started as an architect.
Do architects use math?
Yes, architects use a lot of math to design buildings. Geometry is the most commonly used field of mathematics.
Do architects travel a lot?
Depending on your clients, architects can travel a lot. It all depends on who you work with and for.
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