Architects are responsible for the design of buildings, homes, and landscapes everywhere around us. They undergo several years of training and take an exam to become licensed as professionals. This is a great job for those with a passion for building, organizing, and contributing to the world. If you would love to use your creativity in a truly constructive way, you should investigate all the opportunities architecture has to offer. Chances are there is an architecture job for you.
Many people believe that being an architect involves only building design, but that is not really true. Training in architecture could also allow you to get a job as a draftsperson, an architectural historian, a mechanical engineer, an urban planner, or a building inspector. You could also become a landscape architect and create parks, gardens, and many other fantastic outdoor spaces for people to enjoy. Want to do something similar but a little more portable? Think about a career in industrial design.
To be a licensed architect, most states will require you to have a professional degree from a properly accredited design school. The most common degree program for people who are recent graduates from high school or who have no prior degrees or experience with architecture is the bachelor of architecture program. This five-year professional degree will prepare you to become an architect and take the national examination.
If you already have a degree in another, unrelated subject, you may be able to take a three-to-four-year professional degree. If you have an existing Bachelor of Architecture degree, you may take a two-year professional degree. In addition, it is possible to get an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree in architecture, or to receive a Master of Architecture degree if you would like to take your schooling further.
Coursework for these degrees involves humanities and arts courses as well as instruction in math and the physical sciences. To become an architect, you will need strong freehand drawing skills as well as communication abilities in both written and spoken forms. Use of computer-aided design (CAD) programs is also important, because computers are becoming far more common in architecture firms. This makes it easier to create design documents, including blueprints of prospective buildings.
Most architecture programs will require you to complete an internship if you wish to graduate. This internship helps you get the experience you need. It will also help you to build a solid portfolio of work. Then, it is necessary to complete three years of work experience or to complete an apprenticeship during this period. Only after you have this experience may you take the licensing exam. However, education does not stop there. In most states, licensed architects must take continuing education courses if they want to receive license renewal. Your firm may be willing to pay for your continuing education, however.
The outlook for jobs as an architect is good, and salaries are appreciable with the median in 2006 coming in at around $65,000. This extremely competitive field is expected to grow extensively during the next several years. Between the need for new structures and the need to replace retiring architects, there will be a large number of new jobs available. In addition, as much as 20 percent of people in these positions are self-employed. Most of the rest work for relatively small firms employing five or fewer people.
It is important to remember that architects must always be willing to work as part of a team. They must take information from government officials, clients, engineers, and urban planners to create a unified result. They must also be able to explain plans to interior designers, clients, and contractors. It may be necessary for architects to conduct feasibility or environmental impact studies or to deal with fire regulations, building codes, and zoning laws. Architects spend much of their time on office work, but will also have to visit sites before, during, and after construction.
It is important to be able to handle tiny details as well as the big picture. Multitasking and strong abilities in organization are also important. However, these things can be taught. If you have a vision for developing safer, more attractive streets, buildings and public areas, you could be the right person for becoming an architect.
Take some time to learn about the daily activities of someone in one of these jobs and what options you have for schooling locally if you are interested in architecture as a career. See what firms offer internships and apprenticeships and what your options are once you receive your certification. You could be looking at an incredible new career in the field of architecture. Now is the time to get into a job that will let you use your creativity and make the world a better place. It is time to get into an architecture career.