What You Need to Know About Becoming an Architect

Last Updated on January 26, 2022 by Kimberly Crawford

Are you considering a career in architecture? If your answer is yes, we have good news for you: you have a promising working future ahead of you. Architects are highly valued professionals and many career paths are open to them, but getting there is no easy task: it requires many years of study, commitment, effort, and some technical and artistic skills.

Do you want to know what it takes to study architecture? Are you ready for sleepless nights? Will you buy term papers online, or will you do it yourself? If you want to take the plunge and go for architecture, before making the decision to pursue this career, you need to know a series of criteria and requirements that will help you make the best decision. Let’s see what they are!

What is architecture?

what is architecture

Architecture is the art of designing and developing a construction project, as well as the work of maintaining buildings in structural condition. The architecture professional must be able to understand the requirements requested for a building and must find the precise strategy to satisfy the client’s objective.

In this profession, not only imagination and creativity are essential, but also getting down to work, those who have the task of starting the way through the drawing. A profession in which both mind and body are employed.

The architecture graduate creates an experience for those who live it, through his technique, projects structures for different purposes and that is why it is essential to have some inspiration, to have notions of architectural history and art, to know the surroundings of the place where it will be built, among other issues.

The career provides the wisdom and knowledge for these professionals to be able to design from churches, hospitals, hotels, or even train stations.

Functions of an architect

One of the first questions you need to know if you have decided to enroll in a career in architecture is that it is a demanding, complex profession with many responsibilities. Do you feel up to the challenge?

Unlike a quantity surveyor, the architect is the professional who is trained to plan, design, and supervise (from a broader perspective) construction projects for different purposes (residential, commercial, industrial, urban landscaping, etc.). In addition to being in charge of estimating costs, preparing budgets, and leading teams, an architect must also be able to ensure that design and quality standards are met.

He or she must also have extensive knowledge of regulations. After all, architects’ decisions affect public safety, the environment, and people’s lifestyles.

Qualities an architect must have

Here are some skills and qualities that are required in the architect profession:

  • Numerical ability and skills (mathematics, physics…)
  • Logical thinking and capacity for analysis, synthesis, and observation
  • Facility for freehand drawing
  • Creativity and ingenuity
  • Spatial vision
  • Aesthetic ability
  • The ability for interpersonal relationships
  • Interest in the humanities (art, history, sociology, culture…)
  • Ability to work in a team

Studies required to become an architect

To practice as an architect, it is necessary to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture. It has a duration of 5 academic years and 240 credits in total. During the 5 years, subjects such as mathematics, physics, art history, materials and construction techniques, architectural geometry, and integrated drawing, among others, are studied. Moreover, this profession requires knowledge of Landscape Design.

After completing the degree, it is advisable to opt for specialization. The academic market offers master’s degrees in sustainable architecture, renewable energies, urban planning, historical heritage, etc.

What kind of education is needed to become an architect?

Becoming an architect requires education and experience. There are other ways to meet the educational standards for this profession, but the most direct route is to earn a professional architectural degree from a program accredited by your country’s National Accrediting Council. There are three degrees recognized as professional degrees Bachelor of Architecture, Master of Architecture, and Doctor of Architecture.

The programs take at least five years to complete. Students in these programs take general education courses, which include calculus and physics courses. Architecture courses focus on design, architectural history, building materials, construction methods, and building structures. The curriculum generally features several studio courses where students complete design projects and learn to draw hand sketches and create models using computer-aided design and information modeling software design and creation.

The programs admit students from diverse educational backgrounds, including those who have completed a pre-professional program in architecture and those who have a bachelor’s degree in other fields. These programs can take more than three years to complete and include courses in architectural design, building structure and materials, and architectural history. Students complete several studio courses that focus on different topics, such as tectonic, adaptive, and urban design. Students are also expected to complete a thesis prior to graduation.

Many programs emphasize global experience and encourage or require students to complete a study abroad experience.

Once prospective architects have graduated from a professional and accredited program in architecture, one of the next steps in the training process is to complete an intern development program. Throughout their internship, they work with a mentor who is a more experienced architect.

Cut-off marks for admission to the architecture degree program

If you decide to study at a public university, then you should know that one of the most important entry requirements is the cut-off mark. In the case of the architecture degree, the cut-off mark will depend on the prestige of the university. There are some that require a cut-off mark higher than 9, while others admit students with scores higher than 5.

Private universities usually have their own admission standards and the cut-off mark is usually one of them.

Career opportunities

After completing the Bachelor of Architecture degree you will be able to work in:

  • Consulting and technical advice
  • Construction, development, or real estate companies
  • Technical control agencies
  • Architectural studios (both self-employed and employed)
  • Companies that manufacture materials and other construction products
  • Universities
  • The public sector after passing competitive examinations to work as a municipal architect or government technician in the areas of planning, building, and urban planning

Architects should maintain a portfolio of the designs they have created throughout their careers. New architects may submit projects they completed while in school and in internships. Your portfolio can help you attract the attention of potential employers, so when you are looking for work, make sure your portfolio puts you in the hands of the right person.

Some architects looking for work send their portfolios to any firm they are interested in, even if that firm is not advertising to hire. If you want to search for open positions, many local and national architectural societies maintain job listings on their websites.

Reasons why you should study architecture

why architecture

1. Drawing is no longer necessary

You may have heard several times that to be an architect you need to know how to draw very well. This was true in the 20th century, where specific drawing exams were taken to enter university.

Times have changed and although being able to draw freehand is still very useful in our profession, it is not a prerequisite. Today, if you know some AutoCAD or Photoshop before entering university, you will have a much greater advantage than those who are proficient in hand drawing.

2. Work in a group

The architectural profession, as well as a career in architecture, requires constant teamwork. In the profession you will not work alone, most likely you will end up in a studio with a dozen other architects and collaboration will be key to developing a good project.

In the career, it is the same, subject after subject you will find yourself in a group that will have to work side by side to get a job done. If you are not good at working in a team, you are an introverted person or you do not know how to communicate well with others, do not worry, after 5 or 6 years of career and 40 workgroups you will end up mastering it.

3. Expect the unexpected

We all like to lead a relaxed life, free of stress and shocks, where we have everything under control at all times but, let’s be honest, every project has its pluses and minuses and we will always have some surprises along the way. Fortunately, the career knows how to prepare you quite well for this type of situation.

On more than one occasion you will find yourself immersed in a project to which you have dedicated weeks or months, a project that you are delighted with and in which everything seems perfect, then, a week before delivery, you realize that the project is not as wonderful as it seemed and that you are going to have to change the whole thing, plus the plotter has broken down, AutoCAD does not respond and you have not even started to make the model. These stressful situations are what prepare you to face with confidence the difficulties that arise in the profession.

4. A creative job

Whether or not architects are artists is a topic that many will have debated and will continue to debate, but regardless of whether we are or not, no one can deny that the architect’s work has a high percentage of creativity.

The structure of the building will give it its rigidity and allow it to be built, the design and layout of the interiors will give it its functionality and make it useful, but it is creativity that gives that last point of distinction, that “beauty”. This point is what differentiates the architect from other building technicians.

Disadvantages of being an architect

1. Long working hours

Since you are a student of architecture you can see that it is a profession that generates fatigue, especially when it requires making and delivering plans and models. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20 percent of architects work 50 or more hours per week. It should also be noted that building construction is mostly done on weekends, which means that the architect works even more than the workweek, which is from Monday to Friday. Sometimes they even have to travel to supervise a project in progress.

2. Educational requirements

To become an architect and work in a quiet manner, you need a series of documents that support your profession as an architect, these documents generate costs that may even be unaffordable for some people. The degree takes at least 5 years of study and if this is not enough, to increase your annual earnings it is necessary to complete a postgraduate degree. Being an architect means that after finishing your education at the university, you will have to work with an employer for a low salary, with the sole purpose of gaining experience in the workplace.

3. Little labor field

Being an architect incites us to know the labor fields not only of architecture but also of professions such as medicine or law; to create a comparison based on real figures. It is not at all encouraging to discover that being an architect makes you the professional with the least opportunities in the labor field. A curious fact about architecture students in the UK is that 1 in 4 of them are receiving medical care for mental health problems.

Final words

You have finished high school, you have taken the university entrance exams and now it is time to decide what career you will study, something that most people do thinking about the job they want to do in the future. It is very unusual for someone to be very clear about what they want to study and not even have a viable alternative.

Normally, people who are very clear about what they want to study is because they follow in the footsteps of their parents or other close relatives, for everyone else it is a very complicated choice and any information they can give you about your future career will be of great help. With this post, we were intended to help you make the best possible decision regarding whether or not to study architecture.