Career Information for a Degree in Architectural Studies

A degree in architectural studies generally involves coursework such as computer aided design and drafting, math, architectural history and geology. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as job and salary information for graduates.

Architectural studies-related degrees can lead to a career as an architect, a landscape architect, or an urban and regional planner. While architects make designs for buildings and structures, landscape architects focus on designing outdoor areas. Urban and regional planners determine the placement of industrial areas, houses and roads and transit systems.

Essential Information

Architectural jobs require extensive education. You must hold a bachelor's degree from a five-year program or a master's degree in an architectural related field of study. Licensing requirements vary by state and are dependent upon passing either the Architect Registration Exam or the Landscape Architect Registration Exam. Certification is optional, but will help you advance in your career.

Careers Architect Landscape Architect Urban and Regional Planner
Required Education Bachelor of Architecture degree program, master's degree in architecture bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture bachelor's or master's degree in economics, geography, political science or environmental design
Other Requirements internship and licensure required; certification optional internship, licensure internship typically required; certification through the American Institute of Certified Planners is often expected
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 7% 5% 6%
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $76,100 for all architects except landscape and naval $63,810 $68,220

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Students who pursue a degree in architectural studies are creative, analytical and proficient at using computer software. In addition, graduates can visually conceptualize and execute an idea for development. Career options include architect, landscape architect and urban planner.

Architect

Architects design buildings and other structures according to client specifications, taking into consideration issues such as the location and topography of the building site, surrounding structural styles and the intended use of the planned structure. In addition to the building design, architects may prepare estimates of time, material and labor costs, as well as coordinate construction of the project through oversight of bidding, permitting and construction.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), architects may be self-employed, but the majority work for small architectural firms. A bachelor's degree in architectural studies is not a professional degree and thus not sufficient qualification for a career as an architect, but can be good preparation for a professional master's degree program. After completing a Master of Architecture degree and 3-5 years of work experience, aspiring architects may be eligible to sit for the National Architectural Accrediting Board's (NAAB) Architect Registration Examination (ARE). While licensing requirements may vary slightly, all states require architects to take the ARE.

Certification

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards offers voluntary certification to architects who hold a NAAB-accredited degree, complete Intern Development Program requirements, earn a passing score on the ARE and earn a state license. This certification can make it easier to earn reciprocity for architect licensing between states.

Salary and Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in 2015, architects earned a median annual salary of approximately $76,100. The BLS also predicted that architects would see employment growth of 7% from 2014 to 2024.

Landscape Architect

Landscape architects work with clients to determine the best design for outdoor areas of a project. They prepare designs and budgets for the project in keeping with existing and desired features of the land and any structure that shares the site. They may also provide project management until the design has been carried out and completed. Landscape architects consider the conditions of soil, topography and climate in making plant and site proposals. Some landscape architects also perform environmental impact and remediation work.

State licensing is required, and for an aspiring landscape architect with a bachelor's degree in a field like architectural studies, additional education is necessary. Earning a Master of Landscape Architecture and acquiring work experience can satisfy the eligibility requirements for the Landscape Architect Registration Exam and state licensing.

Salary and Career Outlook

Landscape architects are expected to see employment growth of 5% from 2014 to 2024, according to the BLS. In 2015, landscape architects earned an annual median salary of approximately $63,810.

Urban and Regional Planner

Urban and regional planners manage the development of urban, rural and suburban areas, overseeing the placement of housing, commercial areas and transportation networks. Most urban planners work for local governments, helping them choose the best ways to continue growth while making the most of their available land and water resources. They must be familiar with building and zoning codes and may review major projects to ensure they adhere to overall growth guidelines and land-use plans. According to the BLS, while jobs in urban planning typically require a master's degree in urban or regional planning, the field of architecture and related areas can be an appropriate undergraduate background. A very limited number of states require licensing or registration.

Certification

Urban and regional planners can earn the voluntary professional American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Certification. It's possible to earn certification without a degree in urban or regional planning; however, there is an additional experience requirement for non-accredited degree holders who've studied related fields like architectural studies.

Salary and Career Outlook

From 2014 to 2024, urban and regional planners are expected to see 6% employment growth, as reported by the BLS. The median annual salary for this career was $68,220 in May 2015. The highest rates of employment were found in local government, architectural, engineering and related services companies and in state government. California employed the greatest number of urban and regional planners while the highest concentration of people working in this career was in Washington and the highest salary was paid to those working in the District of Columbia.

To pursue a career in an architectural studies field, one must have a five-year undergraduate degree or a master's degree in architectural studies or a related field. One typically must complete an internship, and may also be required to be licensed or certified.

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