Major Monday: Architecture

When you ask children what they want to be when they grow up, many answer “architect,” but what does it really take to become one and what is it like being an architect day-to-day?

General Description:  To put it simply, architects plan and design structures.  Skyscrapers, restaurants, football stadiums, as well as homes and office buildings, were all at one point just an idea.  The architect and his team take that idea and figure out exactly what steps are needed to make it reality.

Architects use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) as well as building information modeling (BIM) to create design and construction drawings to show and discuss with clients.  They also must make sure to research and follow local building codes, fire regulations, and zoning laws.  Throughout construction, the architect may visit the site to make sure contractors are keeping to the design, staying on schedule and using the correct materials.  Though most architects work for a larger company, 1 in 5 is self-employed.

Educational Requirements:  The first step to becoming an architect is completing a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree program.  After that, one must complete a paid internship in order to gain experience.  Requirements for the internship vary from state to state; however, most states require the internship to last at least three years.  After completing their internship, aspiring architects must then pass the Architect Registration Exam.

A detailed list of state licensing requirements can be found here:

Colleges that offer Architecture:  Wentworth Institute of Technology (Boston, MA), Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, Rhode Island), Catholic University of America (Washington, DC), Ball State University (Muncie, IN), University of Hartford (Hartford, CT)

For a full list of architectural programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board, please see:

Salary and Job Projections:  The median salary for architects in 2012 was $73,090 per year or $35.14 per hour.  Employment in architecture is expected to grow at a rate of 17% from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than the average for all occupations.  As more people graduate with architectural degrees, competition for employment is expected to be strong.



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