Training in Architecture: Program Information and Requirements

Architects design and implement plans for a variety of structures, including commercial buildings and residential homes. Architects must complete formal training and may work for an architecture firm or via independent contracts.

Architecture Training Requirements and Recommendations

Architects must complete a minimum of a bachelor's degree in that field before they are eligible to work or obtain licensure. Many students pursue an advanced degree in architecture or related design field. Architects generally receive hands-on training and must be licensed to legally offer their services. Further certification options are plentiful and voluntary.

Formal Education

Most architects begin their education by pursuing a bachelor's degree in the field. Many choose to continue their education with a master's or doctoral degree in architecture, which allows for specialization and access to advanced career roles.

Bachelor of Architecture

The Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) is a 5-year, undergraduate degree program that introduces students to a wide range of architecture and design topics. Students may take courses in subjects including architectural history, visual communications, structural systems, materials and architectural design. General education courses form a large part of the curriculum.

Master of Architecture

A Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) degree is a 2-year, graduate degree program that builds upon the architectural knowledge gained in an undergraduate program. The curriculum of master's degree programs in architecture generally includes advanced courses in structural design, environmental systems and building synthesis. Much of the curriculum is dedicated to design studio participation, wherein students engage practical design processes.

Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture

The Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture is a research-based graduate degree that prepares students for academic or analytical positions in the field. Students must complete and defend an original thesis before graduating. Courses may be available in advanced topics, such as human behavior, research methods and eco-friendly design.

Job Experience

Most architects receive some form of practical design experience before working professionally. Degree programs may offer opportunities for students to engage in hands-on internships with local design or architecture firms. During this time, students may assist licensed architects with design decisions or administrative tasks.

Licenses and Certifications

Architects must be licensed by the state in which they work. This involves holding an accredited architecture degree, completing a set number of hours of training and passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). The ARE is given by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

Workshops and Seminars

There are a myriad of workshops available to working architects. Because there are often technological and computer software advances made in the field, seminars are widely available to keep architects current. Workshops may also address cost-cutting techniques and client relations.

Additional Professional Development

Most states require licensed architects to complete continuing education courses every year in order to maintain licensure. Local colleges or architecture organizations, such as the NCARB, may offer continuing education courses on a range of topics. Classes are available in subjects such as preservation, energy-conscious architecture and mold prevention.

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