Build a Dream Career in Architecture

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If you have the right aptitude, you can build a dream career in architecture. As an architect, you can possibly make outstanding money while having prestige. You can also feel the personal satisfaction of being an accomplished artist, since those who become architects must all have a high level of creativity.

But being an architect requires more than creativity and the ability to draw well. You will also need a thorough understanding of engineering and how to use a computer, especially certain programs. You will also have to have mathematical aptitude and skills. If you aren't good at math or you just hate it, then you have to take your creative and visual arts talents elsewhere—you cannot be an architect.

But let's imagine that you do have a good aptitude for math and the necessary sciences. How do you begin building your dream career in architecture?

You will need to find out how to take the best classes in college to prepare yourself for the architectural career. If you're in high school right now, begin loading up on them as much as possible ahead of time. Your guidance counselor will help you determine what these should be. Remember that to be an architect you will take more classes in math, science, and computer drawing than the average student, so be ready for these classes. You will also need to be prepared to study and work quite hard. If you don't graduate with at least a B average, your chances of getting into a good architecture master's degree program drop considerably.

There are 105 colleges and universities that are recognized by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) as having the necessary and sufficient accreditation to give you an undergraduate or graduate degree in architecture. Make sure you go to one of these. There are a couple of different approaches you can take to your education. You can take what has become the standard five-year undergraduate course to receive your bachelor in architecture, and follow this up with a two-year master program. Or, you can get a four-year undergraduate degree from a liberal arts school where you major and minor in courses that are related to architecture, and then go for a three or four year master architecture program. Either way, you're going to school for seven or eight years to become an architect.

Architectural students are fiercely competitive because of the fiercely competitive architecture job market. Keep this in mind while in school, especially once you get into the master's program. Go for the highest possible grades in every class. It will also help your future career prospects if you work several hours per week and full-time during summers at an architectural firm. Make sure you become an expert in CADD drawing on the computer during your school years, too.

Once you graduate, you'll have to spend about three years as an intern or apprentice at an architectural firm to prepare to take the ARE (Architect Registration Examination). If you pass the ARE you are a licensed master architect and can get a great job with a firm or even open your own practice. So you see, it takes a long time to become a full-fledged architect, but it is a completely rewarding, dream career for those with the right minds.
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