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.
For anyone moving past the undergraduate level, a bachelor's degree will need to be earned first. A thesis will be required for studies at the graduate level.
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
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. Much of the curriculum is dedicated to design studio participation, wherein students engage practical design processes. The curriculum of master's degree programs in architecture generally includes advanced courses such as:
- Structural design
- Environmental systems
- Building synthesis
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 that include:
- Human behavior
- Research methods
- Eco-friendly design
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The BLS states that as of May 2015, architects make a median annual wage of $76,100. The job outlook for this career is expected to grow 7% from 2014-2025, which is as fast as average for all other occupations.
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).
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. 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.
Those looking for a career in architecture can pursue anything from a bachelor's all the way through a doctorate degree. Bachelor's programs introduce architectural history, while master's and doctoral degrees emphasize design and research.