How Do I Choose Between a B.Arch. and a B.S. in Architecture?
Students who want to earn an undergraduate degree to become a licensed architect should choose a Bachelor of Architecture program, which is a professional degree that generally takes five years to complete. Many states also require that prospective architects complete a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) to work as professionals.
Those who wish to become paraprofessionals with an architectural firm or work in related careers, such as interior design or landscape architecture, should choose the Bachelor of Science in Architecture program, which is a pre-professional degree. B.S. students who later wish to become licensed architects would need to complete a professional Master of Architecture or similar graduate program.
B.Arch. and B.S. programs include similar introductory coursework that examines the history of architecture, architectural design and building construction. Schools offering both program types may allow students enrolled in a B.S. program to transfer into a B.Arch. program after they complete their first two years of study. Students who remain in a B.S. program move on to study courses such as architectural computer graphics, structures and environments and take design studio classes in their remaining two years of enrollment.
Those enrolled in a B.Arch. program are required to complete professional development classes and an extensive series of studio courses, which typically culminate in professional practice projects. Some schools may also require students to study abroad for at least one semester. Graduates of B.Arch. programs typically enter internships in order to fulfill state licensing requirements. After this period, prospective architects can sit for the Architect Registration Examination and become fully licensed.
Students who complete a B.S. in Architecture and elect not to continue in a professional architecture program can pursue jobs in such areas as construction management and computer-aided design or drafting.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for construction managers are expected to increase by 5%, while those who work as drafters are projected to see a 3% decline in employment during the 2014-2024 decade. During this time, employment for architects (excluding landscape and naval) is projected to grow by 7%.
The BLS also reported that as of May 2014, the average salary was $94,590 for construction managers, $52,480 for architectural and civil drafters and $80,490 for architects (excluding landscape and naval).