What do you do as an Architect? What are the requirements for it and how do you get a job for it?
There are typically three main steps to becoming a licensed architect: completing a professional degree in architecture, gaining relevant experience through a paid internship, and passing the Architect Registration Exam.
- Earning a professional degree in architecture is the typical path to becoming an architect in all states. Most architects earn their professional degree through a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree program, intended for students with no previous architectural training. Many earn a master's degree in architecture, which can take 1 to 5 years to complete, depending on the extent of the student's previous training in architecture.
A typical program includes courses in architectural history and theory, building design with an emphasis on computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), structures, technology, construction methods, professional practices, math, physical sciences, and liberal arts. Central to most architectural programs is the design studio, where students apply the skills and concepts learned in the classroom to create drawings and three-dimensional models of their designs.
Currently, 35 states require that architects hold a professional degree in architecture from one of the 123 schools of architecture accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). State licensing requirements can be found at the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.
Architects will be needed to make plans and designs for the construction and renovation of homes, offices, retail stores, and other structures. As campus buildings age, many school districts and universities are expected to build new facilities or renovate existing ones. Demand is expected for more healthcare facilities as the baby-boomer population ages and as more individuals use healthcare services.
Demand is projected for architects with knowledge of green design, also called sustainable design. Sustainable design emphasizes the efficient use of resources, such as energy and water conservation; waste and pollution reduction; and environmentally friendly design, specifications, and materials. Rising energy costs and increased concern about the environment have led to many new buildings being built with more sustainable designs.
With a growing number of students graduating with architectural degrees, strong competition for internships and jobs in the field is expected. Competition for jobs will be especially strong at the most prestigious architectural firms. Those with up-to-date technical skills and training in sustainable design could have an advantage.
Employment of architects is strongly tied to the activity of the construction industry. Therefore, these workers may experience periods of unemployment when there is a slowdown in requests for new projects or when the overall level of construction falls.
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