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Commercial Architect Education Requirements and Career Info

Sep 10, 2019

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

In order to become a commercial architect, one must hold a professional bachelor's degree in architecture, and licensing is usually necessary. Some aspiring architects opt for a graduate degree to help distinguish themselves.

Essential Information

Commercial architects design buildings for business and commercial use, including basic office buildings and specialty buildings for a business or industry. Commercial architects typically complete a 5-year professional bachelor's degree program in architecture and an internship before working on their own. Individuals who hold baccalaureate degrees in another field may choose to earn a Master of Architecture. All architects must pass the Architect Registration Exam to earn state licensure.

Required Education Professional bachelor's or master's degree in architecture
Other Requirements State licensing is mandatory in all states; voluntary certification is also available
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 8% for all architects*
Median Salary (May 2018) $79,380 for all architects*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

Students pursuing a degree in architecture can choose two paths to a professional degree. Students without architecture experience or a bachelor's degree typically complete a 5-year bachelor's degree program at one of 123 accredited colleges or universities that offer a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) in the U.S. Students with experience or a bachelor's degree in another field might complete a master's degree in architecture, which can take up to 5 years depending on experience.

Coursework

Architecture requires a diverse skill set because it merges creativity with analytical and engineering skills. Architects design the building and create the engineering schematics for materials, heating and cooling and other important parts of a structure. Architecture students take courses in math, design, structural engineering, construction methods and physics.

Licensure and Certification

After completing a university education, architecture students typically complete an internship for up to three years, during which they can cultivate a commercial architecture specialty. Student typically work under a senior architect who supervises their work. After this period of training, architecture students are qualified to take state license exams. Architects can also complete voluntary certification offered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.

Career Information

Many architects are self-employed or contractors and work on a freelance basis, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Commercial architects can design buildings in the states in which they are licensed and may find an even smaller niche specialty, like 'green' commercial architecture.

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated a 8% increase in employment for architects from 2018-2028. 'Green' building and design in particular was expected to see an increase in demand as communities look toward sustainable architecture to fit lifestyles in the future. The BLS reported the median annual salary of architects was $79,380 in May 2018.

Commercial architectures must combine functionality and aesthetics to meet their clients' needs. They also need great communication, organizational and design skills, in addition to a professional bachelor's or master's degree in architecture and state licensure.

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