Architecture is one of the most prestigious fields that you can enter. However, it’s not the easiest to get into. It takes a highly specialized skill set and you have to be ready to spend a lot of time on education. There are also many regulations that you will need to abide by, and you must know if this is truly the field for you before you make the jump. Here are some of the things you have to consider before you can become an architect.
Do You Have What It Takes?
Wanting to be an architect is not enough. While being passionate about architecture certainly helps, most successful architects share common traits. The first one is being good with geometry and spatial reasoning. You will also need to have some design skills and be creative.
Your analytical and problem-solving skills will also be tested. You may have to reconcile your design with building code regulations, for instance, or come up with lower budget alternatives to designs. Not only that, but architects do not operate in a silo. They usually work as part of a team and also have to work with various other professionals, so having great communication skills is another must.
Getting into an Architecture Program is Not Easy
You shouldn’t expect passion to get you into an architecture program. Your best bet will usually be to go for a college or university that has an architecture bachelor’s, but these will require that you have very good math scores to get in. Also, they will privilege people who have shown interest in design by checking internships, programs, or summer jobs you may have filled.
The Different Paths to Becoming an Architect
You should also know that there is more than one path to becoming an architect. You have the 4 year bachelor’s program, commonly referred to as B.Arch, or you can get a post-college master’s, commonly referred to as M.Arch, which will take you about 2 to 3 years to complete.
Also know that there are many bachelors of fine arts, arts, and science in architecture that exist, but most are not nationally recognized. This means that you may be obligated to go for a master’s program to practice.
Prepare for Hard Work
Getting your credentials as an architect is not easy. Not only is the coursework tough, but you’ll also have to spend a lot of time on internships before you can even think of working. You will then need to pass your Architect Registration and State Licensure Exam. None of these are guaranteed, so you have to know before you start that you’re up for the challenge.
Don’t Expect to Instantly Get a Job Designing Buildings
If you thought a firm would put you in charge of designing buildings right away, think again. You will most likely have to earn your chops doing grunt work at the beginning. A large portion of graduates start working as technical architects before they can even get close to design work. While this may not seem like the most exciting position, it is an opportunity to start learning about the nitty-gritty of architecture and could come in handy in the future.
Working as an Independent Architect
If you want to design buildings, however, one of the things you could do is start your own architecture firm. You could decide to work directly on design, or as a consultant. The most important thing is finding a niche and getting prepared for the business part of architecture.
One of the things you will need to start looking up is architect liability insurance. One mistake on your part could end up causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage, and if you’re not properly covered, it could mean the end of your firm. In addition, you will also need to get familiar with the accounting and legal side of the business, especially when it comes to contracts. We would also suggest that you get some hands-on experience with a contractor.
Working as an architect is one of the most fulfilling and respected jobs anyone can have. However, you have to make sure that you’re cut out for it and that you are up for the challenge.