Tectonic Architecture Education and Career Information

Sep 27, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a tectonic architect. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and internships to find out if this is the career for you.

Tectonic architecture requires five years of study for a bachelor's degree, or the completion of a master's degree. These architects typically follow their education with a paid internship, and must also be licensed by their state. Continuing education is a requirement for licensure renewal and voluntary certification is available in this field.

Essential Information

Tectonic architecture is the sub-field of architecture in which design ideas and building materials intersect, both in construction of individual residential and commercial structures and as they apply to the principles of building design. While degree programs in tectonic architecture aren't available, there are professional bachelor's and master's programs available in architecture, more generally. Potential tectonic architects should be willing to undertake a lengthy period of education and a paid internship.

Required Education Professional bachelor's or master's degree in architecture
Other Requirements Must complete an internship (usually 3 years) before passing the Architect Registration Exam and becoming licensed by the state
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 8% (for architects, except landscape and naval)*
Average Salary (2018)* $79,380 (for architects, except landscape and naval)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


In most states, to become a licensed architect, one must complete either a Bachelor of Architecture degree program, which takes five years, or a Master of Architecture degree program, which takes 1-5 years. Most states require that students obtain their degree from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). After graduation, an aspiring architect's education continues with on-the-job training through an internship that can take 3-5 years before he or she qualifies for the Architectural Registration exam and state licensing, although some students may begin their internship while still enrolled in an architecture program.

Tectonic Courses

At the bachelor's degree level, students may pursue a concentration in tectonic studies, which may include an internship. Individual classes in tectonic architecture are often available at the graduate degree level. Common topics of discussion related to tectonic architecture include the history and evolution of tectonic architecture within the broader field of general architecture and the integration of structural materials and design. Lessons may include how regulatory issues relate to tectonic architecture, materials selection and performance, site planning and environmental concerns.

Course options can include lecture-based or studio classes. Hands-on work is common and may include model-making and computer-aided analysis of projects. Specialized software may be required to complete assignments.

Continuing Education Requirements

Licensed architects must fulfill continuing education requirements as outlined by their state licensing board in order to maintain their professional credentials. Licensed architects who meet certain educational and professional qualifications may apply for voluntary national certification available through the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. Continuing education is also required for re-certification.


Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that licensed architects could expect average job growth faster than average between 2018 and 2028 ( The BLS also reported that there were 133,900 licensed architects employed as of 2018, not counting landscape or naval architects. As of May 2018 they earned an average annual salary of $88,860 during that time.

The BLS also said in 2018 that the states offering the highest employment levels for architects, excluding landscape and naval architects, were California, New York, Texas, Illinois and Florida, while the top-paying states were New York, Massachusetts, District of Columbia, Texas, and Arizona.

While completing a bachelor's or master's degree, it's possible to study tectonic architecture and complete a concentration in this area. Several years of postsecondary study are required to become a tectonic architect, and these professionals must also complete a paid internship before becoming licensed. Architects can expect to see an above average growth in job opportunities from 2018-2028.

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