How to Become an Architect

An architect designs buildings and supervises the building processes that they plan. They need to consult with their customers to assess their needs and use computer-aided design and drafting technology (CADD) to build their concept models and all their components.

Building materials, structure types, design principles, and local zoning and building codes must be familiar to architects.

Once the design of an architect is approved by his or her clients, the designer works with contractors to ensure that the building is completed as designed.

An architect can work closely with interior designers and engineers. Photo credits to:

Training to Become an Architect

It requires both education and experience to become an architect. There are a few ways to meet the profession’s educational standards. Still, the most straightforward way is to earn a degree in professional architecture from a National Architecture Accrediting Board-approved program.

There are three degrees recognized by the NAAB as professional degrees: Bachelor of Architecture (BArch), Master of Architecture (MArch), and DArch. A pre-professional degree is deemed to be a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Architecture.


Bachelor’s degree programs in architecture survey the discipline’s history, introduce you to fundamental concepts of design, and familiarize you with material properties. Typically, programs are completed within five years. You may also be able to pursue a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture. Still, these degrees are considered pre-professional and do not qualify for state licensing. Some schools offer 5-year dual degree programs for bachelor and master programs.

The next step in the training process is to complete an Internal Development Program (IDP) after prospective architects have graduated from a qualified, approved architecture degree program. The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) oversees these services. The IDP is a paid internship that lasts three years and is usually done in a practice of architecture, but can also be performed in other environments. Practitioners work with a mentor who is already a professional architect during their internship and beyond.

Average Salary of an Architect

According to Money U.S. News, an architect made a median salary of $78,470 in 2017. The best-paid 25 percent made $102,680 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $60,550.


Job Prospects for an Architect

Architects, with many years of experience in their architectural firm, can work their way up to partner status and become their own company’s principal. A job as a fully qualified architect is likely to be demanding, exciting, and inspiring – placing you at the forefront of new technology to improve the lives of people while practicing your imagination.

They will work closely with consumers and users as an architect to design new buildings and complete additions or modifications to existing ones, ensuring they are safe, cost-effective, and functional.

Here are some specialties every architect major can choose from.

  1. Architectural Technologist – Often known as architectural technicians, you will use your science and engineering skills and knowledge in this architectural profession to construct strong, robust, and sustainable buildings and renovations.
  2. Interior and Spatial Designer – Interior and spatial architects design and renovate interiors and fittings, using their architectural, innovative layout, and project management skills to create comfortable and usable spaces.
  3. Town Planner – Graduates with interest in growth, regeneration, and sustainability may be interested in a career as a city planner in which the countryside, towns, cities, and villages will be managed and developed.


If you have studied architecture, you will have built a variety of artistic, visual, functional, and design-based skills that are very attractive to bring to employers. For more careers in design, click here.