How Do I Choose Programs?
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 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. Requirements for students who remain in a B.S. program usually include architectural computer graphics classes, study of structures and environments, and design studio classes.
Those enrolled in a B.Arch. program are generally required to complete:
- Professional development classes
- An extensive series of studio courses, which typically culminate in professional practice projects
- A study abroad period of at least one semester
- An internship after graduation 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. Most graduates of B.Arch. programs become licensed architects.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 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 2016, the average salary was $99,510 for construction managers, $54,290 for architectural and civil drafters and $84,470 for architects, excluding landscape and naval.
Continuing Education Options
Aspiring architects who have completed a B.S. in Architecture can enroll in a professional Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) program to prepare for licensure in the field. Some schools offer separate accelerated tracks for those with a B.S. in Architecture as compared to those with a B.S. or B.A. in a different field. For B.Arch. program graduates who want to expand their expertise, post-professional Master of Architecture (M.Arch. II) degrees are available. Both B.S. in Architecture and B.Arch. program graduates can also pursue nonprofessional M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in architecture and related topics, like the history of architecture, computer science, and matter design computation.
In summary, students can choose between B.Arch. and B.S. in Architecture programs based on their academic interests, educational goals, and future career aspirations.