Architecture is an exciting career choice, but finding a job can be challenging. How do you get started? What should you look out for?
Architecture is a profession that requires creativity, problem-solving skills, technical knowledge, and leadership abilities to solve difficult and challenging demands of the job. The demand for architects has increased over the years due to urbanization and population growth.
There are several ways to become an architect. Some choose to study architecture at university or college, while others prefer self-learning through books and websites. If you want to start a career in architecture, here are some things you should consider before starting your journey.
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Is Becoming an Architect Something You’re Considering?
Architecture is rough and challenging. There are no guarantees. If you want to make it big, you’ll probably end up working long hours and putting yourself under stress.
But if you’re willing to put in the effort, there are some great perks. For starters, you’ll be able to live anywhere you like, work anytime you like, and do what you love. And if you’re successful enough, you’ll likely earn a six-figure salary — plus benefits.
So why don’t you give it a try? After all, nothing says, “I’m really committed to my career,” like getting paid to travel around the world and design buildings.
How do I get hired as an architect?
The first step in becoming an architect is obtaining a bachelor’s degree in architecture. This may include two years of undergraduate coursework followed by a year of graduate coursework.
To obtain a bachelor’s degree, students must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours of coursework. These courses could include architectural history, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, computer science, business, art, and more.
In addition to completing the required coursework, students must submit their application materials to the school they plan to attend. Students attending schools outside the United States must provide proof of English proficiency.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree, aspiring architects must participate in an internship program. Local firms or universities often offer internships. They last anywhere from eight weeks to a few months. During this time, interns learn how to manage projects, communicate effectively, and develop portfolios.
Pursuing a master’s degree, you’ll need to complete 60 credit hours. In addition to completing the required courses, you’ll also need to write a thesis and defend it in front of a panel of professors.
After earning both degrees, graduates must sit for the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). The ARE tests your knowledge of building codes, construction techniques, and other important topics. Passing the test allows you to become licensed as an architect.
Licensing requirements vary from state to state, but most states require candidates to pass a written exam and demonstrate competency through supervised projects. Some states even require applicants to pay a fee before being allowed to practice.
Are architects always stressed?
Architects are human beings like everyone else, and we’re no different when dealing with difficult life situations and stresses.
But being an architect adds another layer of complexity to those stresses because many factors outside your control affect how well you perform your job. Sometimes, those factors are out of your hands; sometimes, they aren’t.
The good news is that most things that make us feel stressed don’t damage our health or performance.
Most of the things we worry about turn out to be pretty trivial. So what causes us to feel stressed out, and what can we do about it? We asked several practicing architects for their tips for managing stress. Here’s what they had to say.
Exactly how does it prove challenging to be an architect?
Architecture is one of those professions where you do need to spend long hours working alone. You often work late into the night or early morning and don’t see much of anyone else. This makes it hard to socialize and meet people, especially women.
You’re constantly thinking about how things could be better and what improvements could be made. However, your clients rarely thank you for improving their homes. They want everything done quickly and cheaply.
The real assignment is fairly complex and calls for good arithmetic skills. You may not be a good architect if math is not your strong strength.
1. Architect qualification involves a significant amount of time and money
According to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the cost of getting an architecture degree is often underestimated. A recent study found that students spend quite an amount which leaves little room for those wanting to pursue a career in architecture.
Students must attend crits during their final year of study, defending their work to fellow students and tutors. These sessions can be particularly stressful, with the pressure of presenting to peers and professors weighing heavily on students.
In addition, there are often no paid internships available during the third year of study, forcing students into unpaid positions while trying to find work experience. As a result, many end up working part-time jobs to supplement their income.
2. Obtaining a license requires considerably more effort and money
In many countries around the world, it is possible to become licensed as an architect without studying architecture at university. There are several ways to do this. For example, some people start working as assistants while looking for the licensing exam. Or, they might study for the exam part-time while studying another subject. However, becoming licensed as an architect requires students to complete three things:
• A four-year bachelor’s degree program in architecture;
• An internship period; and
• Passing the licensing examination.
On average, it takes about five years to complete these steps. And once completed, the process is not always straightforward.
In particular, each country sets its requirements for what constitutes a licensed architect and how one becomes authorized. As such, the path to becoming licensed varies considerably across the globe.
3. You’ll require a diverse set of talents
Architecture is one of those professions where it takes someone with a very broad skill set to be successful.
You must think creatively, draw plans, communicate effectively, and manage projects. But there’s no way around the fact that architecture requires a range of different talents and abilities. If you want to succeed as an architect, you have to be able to do everything yourself.
Men dominate the profession, and most architects start working for commercial firms. Most end up running their practice, but even then, most architects have to juggle multiple roles – client liaison, project management, design, construction supervision, cost control, marketing, and sales.
4. Being an architect isn’t always a walk in the park
Architecture seems like a dream job – designing beautiful buildings, people want to live in them, and money will be made along the way. But while the glamorous image might make it look easy, being an architect is a tough and difficult industry.
While some firms offer apprenticeships, most young architects don’t start in such a position and those who do struggle to keep up with the competition.
Hours are often long and unsocial, including evenings and weekends, and although this does mean you’ll earn more money over the longer term, it also means you won’t see much of your family. This can lead to loneliness and isolation, especially after working for several years.
Unfortunately, seniority doesn’t make up for this; the only way to govern your life as an architect is to work for yourself, which entails switching one kind of stress for another!
5. Architects must comply with several rules
Being a licensed architect is not easy. They bear more legal responsibility for their buildings than most people want to know. They ensure that the structure meets all applicable laws, codes, standards, and requirements.
This includes everything from fire safety to accessibility, and it applies whether the building is being built or renovated. In addition, licensed architects must keep up to date with building regulations, including energy efficiency changes.
Even if the architect does not design the project, they need to know about the latest developments and ensure that their work complies with current legislation.
On top of this, building regulation varies widely across countries and states within the United States.
If you relocate, you may have to undergo a period of training before signing off on projects. However, if you are fortunate enough to work for an employer who will pay for your retraining, you don’t have to worry too much about this.
How to Become an Architect?
Students can enroll in a five-year bachelor’s degree program or a master’s degree that usually takes anywhere from one to four years to complete.
Upon graduation, students must take a training period or internship that typically lasts about three years to gain experience and prepare for the Architect Registration Examination.
Once the training period is completed, graduates must pass the ARCHITECT registration examination to become licensed.
After passing the exam, architects will have up to six months to apply for a state-specific license, though some states require additional permits.
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Is it worthwhile to work as an architect?
It depends on what kind of career you want to pursue. If you want to build things, it’s worth it. The hours aren’t great, but the rewards are huge.
But if you want to spend your time doing other things, perhaps studying or volunteering, it’s not quite so cut-and-dried. Combining both types of careers is possible, but you’ll need to put in extra effort to ensure you get the best results.
You could try starting by participating in architectural competitions, allowing you to show off your talents without committing to any particular firm. And if you decide to become self-employed, you can use these opportunities to gain experience and prove yourself.
In either case, you should never underestimate the importance of networking. Your network will help you learn about potential jobs and provide you with contacts who can introduce you to clients.
So, is being an architect worth it? Well, it depends on what you want to do with your life. If you’re going to create beautiful structures, then absolutely.
So, Is it Hard to Find a Job as an Architect?
Yes, it is hard to find a job as an architect. But it’s not impossible. You need to be prepared for the challenges ahead.
Architecture is a profession that requires extensive education and training. To qualify as an architect, you need at least three years of college, followed by four years of graduate school. After graduating, you’ll need to pass licensing exams administered by state architecture boards.
Becoming an architect is long and expensive, but there are ways to reduce costs. For example, some schools offer scholarships to students who demonstrate financial need.
Once you’ve completed your studies, you’ll need to apply for licensure. This involves passing a comprehensive exam and paying fees. Once you’re licensed, you’ll be able to practice architecture in most states.
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