How to Become an Architect How to Become an Architect

How to Become an Architect

Who is an Architect?

An architect is involved in planning, designing, and overseeing the construction of different structures such as offices, houses, malls, stadiums, etc. The task of an architect is not easy, they have to make sure that the constructions adhere to different measures of public safety, quality, functionality, and environmental protection. Therefore, the architect needs to have an understanding of all these factors along with a creative streak. Since architects need to work in teams, having great interpersonal and communication skills is a must for them.

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Skills Required

Being an architect requires one to wear many hats. A person must have artistic hands and must be good with numerals at the same time. Here are the skills that are necessary for becoming an architect.

  • Math and engineering skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Communication skills
  • Creative Thinking
  • Problem-Solving Skills
  • Computer Modelling
  • Commercial Knowledge
  • High Perceptual Skills
  • Teamwork and Management
  • Effective Communication Skills
  • Intense Pursuit

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Alternative Career Options Outside of Architecture

Occupations related to architecture offer architects a diverse range of choices, all contributing to the creation of healthier, and more environmentally friendly living spaces. Explore these professions in addition to architecture:

  • Civil Engineer: Civil engineers plan, design, and oversee the construction of public works projects such as buildings, bridges, and roads, ensuring their safe and efficient operation. (How to Become a Civil Engineer: A Step-by-Step Guide)
  • Industrial Designer: Industrial designers ensure the visual appeal and practicality of various products, from household items to permanent fixtures. They employ design thinking to enhance usability and user satisfaction. (How to Become an Industrial Engineer: Ultimate Guide to Career)
  • CAD Designer: CAD designers use Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software to produce technical drawings and blueprints. Collaborating with architects and engineers, they create detailed computer simulations of proposed structures.
  • Urban Planner: Urban planners develop and implement plans for urban areas, considering factors like land use, zoning laws, transportation networks, and community growth. Their aim is to create sustainable and welcoming urban environments.
  • Architectural Drafter: Architectural drafters assist architects in transforming concepts into technical drawings. They develop comprehensive blueprints and building specifications for future construction projects. (How to Become an Architectural Drafter: Your Path to Precision)
  • Structural Designer: Structural designers prioritize the safety and stability of buildings. They work closely with engineers and architects to design robust and resilient structures.
  • Architectural Historian: Architectural historians investigate and interpret the significance of buildings and structures across different periods. They contribute to the preservation of cultural artifacts and often work in educational institutions or museums.
  • Structural Engineer: Structural engineers study and design the framework of buildings, ensuring compliance with safety codes by calculating structural integrity.
  • Lighting Designer: Lighting designers are responsible for the overall lighting scheme of buildings and structures. They create lighting designs that enhance the ambiance and functionality of spaces, considering both aesthetic and practical aspects.
  • Interior Designer: Interior designers focus on creating comfortable and visually appealing interiors. They consider factors such as customer preferences, budget constraints, and layout when selecting color palettes, furnishings, and spatial arrangements.(How to Become an Interior Architect: A Comprehensive Guide)

These professions offer a wide range of options for individuals interested in architecture, allowing them to make unique contributions to the built environment.


Role of Architects

The Architect’s Role in Construction Drawings

Accurate and comprehensive construction drawings are crucial for a successful building project. Architects play a pivotal role in creating these drawings, which serve as the basis for estimation, material ordering, and construction. The architect’s involvement in drawing out plans involves the following steps:

  • Design Concept: The initial step is to sketch out the building’s location, room arrangements, and relationship to the site. This sketch design helps establish the project’s overall massing and appearance and serves as a basis for client consensus and agreement.
  • Contract Proposal: Once the preliminary design is approved, the architect prepares a contract proposal that includes a price estimate and a timeline for the entire project.
  • Various Drawings: Architects are responsible for producing different types of drawings, such as floor plans, site plans, elevations, isometric views, and detailed structural drawings. They may also create 3D models and offer 3D views to enhance the visual experience. The specific deliverables depend on the scope of their commission, sometimes requiring collaboration with a structural designer for comprehensive plans.

Collaboration with Engineers in Building Projects

Architects often collaborate with civil engineers in building projects, benefiting from their technical expertise and construction knowledge. Close collaboration and communication between architects and engineers are essential for solving design problems and achieving optimal outcomes.

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Architects’ Contribution to Project Budgeting

Architects play a significant role in estimating and managing project expenses. Their involvement in the development of drawings and cost assessment helps ensure accurate budgeting. Key aspects of their contribution include:

  • Idea Generation: Architects contribute to cost estimation by visualizing the overall structure and design of the building. However, collaboration with engineers is necessary to ensure feasibility and prevent underestimation of material costs and build times.
  • Estimating Expenses: Architects calculate precise building costs when they have full responsibility for a project. When hired for specific services like altering a building’s front or designing its landscape, architects provide price estimates for those particular tasks.

Architects’ Role in Building Contracts

Architects are essential in the implementation of construction contracts, facilitating proper planning, open communication, and timely project completion. Their roles in building contracts include:

  • Contract Procurement and Coordination: Architects guide clients through the bidding and tendering process, helping them select the best procurement form. They offer counseling and coordination to ensure a well-coordinated and equitable contract arrangement. Architects may also recommend and select contractors based on their experience and skills.
  • Tender Analysis: Architects conduct a thorough investigation of bids and compile a tender analysis report, considering the client’s budget. They provide insightful recommendations for contract selections by comparing the outcomes with the client’s goals and allocated funds.
  • Oversight and Compliance: Architects collaborate with civil structural engineers to monitor the overall building process, ensuring safety, durability, and compliance with industry standards. They oversee the coordination of construction activities, ensuring quality and regulatory compliance.
  • Payment Verification: Architects review invoices at the end of each month, ensuring payments align with the work performed. They meticulously examine invoices to ensure fair and accurate payment.

Marketing Importance for Architects

Architects engage in aggressive marketing to establish their names and designs, which contributes to their professional growth and success. They are responsible for a range of tasks, from conceptualization to physical construction. Some key responsibilities include:

  • Communication with the Building Crew: Architects discuss design specifics with the building crew, addressing queries and resolving any doubts. They may need to adjust the design to accommodate new requirements or regulatory standards.
  • Certification of Finished Work: Architects issue certifications confirming the accuracy and conformity of the completed work to the authorized design and standards.
  • Communication and Customer Satisfaction: By carrying out their duties under construction contracts and promoting their designs, architects. Ensure efficient communication, compliance, and customer satisfaction

A Step-by-Step Guide to Architect Certification

Obtaining your architect’s license is a multi-stage process. The six main steps are as follows:

Get your Bachelor’s degree

To practice architecture in most states, you need to have completed a Bachelor of Architecture program at a college or university that has been recognized by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Common course topics include building systems, environmental planning, impact analysis, and project management.


Participate in an internship program

All aspiring architects are required to take part in an internship program, which will give them hands-on experience. The Intern Development Program (IDP) is a joint initiative of NCARB and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) that offers internships in a number of states. Work experience in fields including practice management, design, project management, and pre-design often total 5,600 hours during an internship.

Become licensed

By passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), you can legally work as an architect. A bachelor’s degree and/or successful completion of an internship program may be necessary, depending on the state. The NCARB’s ARE is a seven-part, either-passes-or-fails test. Also, make sure you comply with any state-mandated jurisdictional rules. If you’re planning a relocation, you can take your NCARB history with you.


Apply for Architect Jobs

Once you’ve passed the ARE and been granted a license, you may begin applying for architect jobs. Architectural firms, private practices, government organizations, and design-build businesses are all possible places to find work. Positions may be more or less readily available in residential or business areas, respectively.

Earn additional certifications

After getting your license, you might go for additional certifications provided by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). These certificates aren’t necessities, but they can help you stand out to employers, apply for jobs in more places, and prove your skills and experience. Certain subfields of architecture also have their own specialized qualifications. To keep your credentials up to date, make sure to renew certifications well in advance of their expiration dates.


Consider a master’s degree

Some architects decide to further their careers by earning a master’s degree in a discipline relevant to architecture. There are a number of NAAB-approved Master of Architecture programs to choose from. Those without a bachelor’s degree in architecture who wish to pursue careers in research, teaching, or professional transition may benefit from pursuing a master’s degree in the area.

If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a certified architect and opening up a world of possibilities for your career.

Architects’ Salaries and Employment Prospects

The typical income for an architect in the United States is $92,963 per year. The amount you can expect to make is dependent on many things, including your employer, where you live, your level of education, your work experience, and the skills you possess. Follow the linked Indeed link for up-to-date salary data.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections show a 3% increase in demand for architects from 2021-2031. While this may not seem like a lot, it actually amounts to about 9,100 annual job openings.


Various Architects

  1. Commercial architects specialize in creating iconic high-rise structures that shape city skylines. They work closely with clients and face immense pressure to deliver flawless projects while complying with commercial property regulations.
  2. Residential architects focus on designing homes for private construction or estate development companies. Their designs must be adaptable to accommodate various estate sizes and shapes while adhering to local building codes and community restrictions.
  3. Sustainable architects or green designers prioritize environmentally friendly materials and methods in their work. They oversee everything from the choice of building materials to the installation of HVAC and lighting systems.
  4. Industrial architects concentrate on the layout of production facilities and distribution centers. They design spaces that optimize workflow and incorporate necessary equipment and tools. Collaborating with clients or subject matter experts is common to ensure the best possible layout.
  5. Conservation architects specialize in preserving and restoring historically significant structures, ensuring their longevity for future generations. They possess expertise in complying with relevant regulations while maintaining the architectural integrity of heritage buildings.
  6. Landscape architects consider horticulture, climate, and maintenance requirements when designing outdoor spaces such as parks, gardens, and golf courses. They often revitalize former industrial areas with green spaces, considering the site’s history.
  7. Urban designers work on improving city infrastructure and planning new neighborhoods, focusing on zoning and sustainable layouts for residential, commercial, and industrial areas, along with necessary public utilities.
  8. Interior architects prioritize practicality and functionality in their designs for new buildings or renovations. They incorporate cutting-edge building methods, strategic planning, and technical expertise to optimize the usability of interior spaces.

When it comes to architectural design and planning, the experienced team at Detailed Planning is ready to assist you. Whether you require a commercial architect for a high-rise project or an interior architect to enhance a space’s usability, contact us today to begin the process..


What education and experience do you need to become an architect?

To become an architect, you’ll need design skills, a solid understanding of building and construction principles, attention to detail, analytical and reasoning abilities, customer service skills, excellent verbal and written communication skills, and the ability to take initiative and be creative.

I’m interested in a future in architecture; how do I best prepare for that?

To practice architecture in the United States and the District of Columbia, you’ll need to complete a professional degree in architecture, gain experience through internships, and pass the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). Architects are required to renew their licenses annually, often through continuing education courses.

Where do most architects get their start in the field?

To begin a career in architecture, you must pursue formal education in the field, gain practical work experience under the guidance of a licensed architect, and pass the National Architect Registration Examination (ARE).

What courses should students who want to become architects take?

Key subjects for aspiring architects include design, architectural history, graphics, computer technology, working drawing, climate science, building services (sanitary engineering), and structural theory. These topics provide a strong foundation for architectural education.

Is it difficult to learn architecture?

While studying architecture is fascinating and rewarding, it is also known to be challenging. It requires long hours of focused study, meticulous attention to detail, and the ability to tackle complex tasks. However, many passionate individuals who are committed to the field find the difficulties worthwhile.

Please note that regulations and requirements may vary based on local standards. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, it is advisable to research and consult with local architectural licensing agencies or professional organizations.

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