Education and Training Required to Become a Successful Architect

The proper design of any building requires intimate knowledge of the principles of construction, the usage of various building materials, the integration of designs with landscapes and terrain and more. To learn all of this, aspiring architects must complete several years of very specialized education as well as gain experience and certification. Only once all of this education is completed can an architect legally or safely design buildings that are safe for habitation.

Undergraduate Education

Aspiring architects must first earn a Bachelorís degree from a fully accredited college or university. The most direct route is to get a Bachelor of Architecture degree from an institution accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. Other students may pursue a Bachelorís degree in another subject area, such as design, engineering or a related field, but further education will be necessary before the student can sit for the licensing exam. A Bachelorís degree in this fieldtakes five years to complete and can range between $3,000 and $45,000 each year. Some scholarships are available for those who demonstrate either exceptional need or merit.

Graduate Level Education

There are also Masterís degrees and Doctorate degrees in architecture. For those who did not complete an undergraduate degree in architecture, a Masterís is absolutely necessary before the student can take the Architectural Registration Exam. Such a degree often takes between six and seven semesters of classes in structural engineering, design, building sciences, theory and architectural history. Each semester can cost between $700 and $20,000 depending on the number of courses taken and the college or university the student chooses. There are rarely scholarship programs available for these programs, so students often must bear this full cost or take out loans to pay for their education.

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Internships and On the Job Training

Upon completion of either the Bachelor or Master of Architecture degree, the student mustthen complete an internship to gain on-the-job experience. Such an internship must be completed with a licensed and experienced architect, and all work completed must be completely supervised. Interns will receive salaries during this time period, but the amount of money they earn will be far less than they would earn as a licensed architect. Internships typically last about three years and allow students to complete the training necessary to pass the architectural licensing exams.

Architectural Registration Exam and Licensing

The Architectural Registration Exam is required of all architects before they can legally practice in the United States. This exam ensures that students have gained the necessary skills and knowledge to safely design for residential, corporate or industrial buildings. The exam is administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and has sections on programming and practice, site planning, building design and construction systems, schematic design, structural systems, building systems as well as construction documents and services. Each of these sections is required before architects can practice safely.

Finally, each architect must also register with their local and state licensing boards. Various states may require additional education or certification exams.
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