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How can I Become an Architect?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2016
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Becoming an architect can prepare one for work in many different fields. An architect may design buildings, help plan sites, work on restoration of historical buildings, or use their knowledge to teach history or art. Aptitude for high level math, like trigonometry and calculus is important. As well, skill in drawing is invaluable.

In high school, teens can prepare for becoming an architect by assiduously studying math, taking mechanical drawing when available, and also taking art classes that emphasizes drawing and painting. Architecture is not only a practical field, but also an artistic one. The would-be architect should work to develop taste and application of manually produced art.

Teens may also want to subscribe to magazines like Architectural Digest which give plenty of information about current and past design. As well, the architect must not only consider design and function, but what is reasonably possible to produce. It does not hurt to spend some time working in construction fields, to understand what builders undergo when faced with an architectural challenge. Volunteering to work for organizations like Habitat for Humanity can give one on-site building experience, and make a valuable impression on potential colleges.

Frequently, the architect now relies on computer programs, most basically, AutoCAD, which can help plan the logistics of designs. It also has diverse applications in civil engineering and city planning. Most community colleges offer beginning to advanced courses in AutoCAD.

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A person wishing to become an architect is advised to take these courses prior to graduating from high school. Courses may be offered over the summer, or in late afternoons or evenings. Knowledge of this important tool is key to work in all architectural fields. This knowledge can help one obtain valuable summer internships or actual paid positions throughout college, which can enhance experience.

In college, one generally pursues a major in architecture, and a masters degree in architecture is often recommended. College offers one the chance to learn about the history of architecture, building codes, the physical aspects of creating designs, and more AutoCAD, as well as any other computer programs that can help put designs into three-dimensional models.

If city planning is more appealing, one might wish to pursue a degree in civil engineering as opposed to architecture. Civil engineers also frequently design buildings and plan whole structures with the assistance of architects or on their own.

In either field, if one plans to work in a major city, it can be of particular value to be bilingual. Many construction workers speak Spanish as their primary language. This is particularly the case in California, Arizona, and Texas. Being able to directly communicate with those carrying out one’s designs can be particularly helpful and inspiring to all involved in the building process.

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anon948806
Post 14

I'm in grade 11. I am not in a college, but I have a great passion for designing and creating new things, but with "limited funds" it's a bit difficult to get all the necessary requirements. I try to learn as much as I can. But what should I do?

anon243127
Post 11

Wouldn't sculpture also be useful to prepare to become an architect?

anon157212
Post 9

The broad overview on becoming an architect is generally correct, but obviously naive. Clearly the information provided is not going to cause someone to choose the discipline of Architecture. If you are vaguely interested in an Architectural trajectory then pick up a book about a contemporary architectural practice, visit a school, or search the web further. --Jeffry

anon130265
Post 8

Wow. I was starting to decide my future and I was torn between being an architect or joining the medical field. This clears it up. I'm becoming an architect.

anon70042
Post 5

This has also been very interesting to read. I was planning on becoming an architect. Thanks for the advice about what to choose.

anon15143
Post 3

This article was definitely written by someone architecture is very different from city planning (has nothing to do with it..) may be urban design has relevance, second you need to go to college for at least five years - a master degree is highly recommended - and you better be good at it if you want to actually get to design anything after you graduate, otherwise do something else. third, AutoCAD is the most basic requirement for getting a job-- you need to use a bunch of other programs to be competitive in the serious architectural world. I could go on and on but I think if you are interested you should do your research..Signature: Architect (II)

anon11684
Post 2

Thank you "anon10150." Your comments are right on target.

Jim R.A. (Real Architect)

anon10150
Post 1

First of all, to become an Architect, in the United States at least, you must attend an accredited Architectural School, either a 5-year Bachelor's in Architecture program, a 4+2 BA/BA + Masters in Architecture program or a Graduate Architectural Program. Otherwise you cannot be licensed to practice architecture. Plenty of people, designers, etc. call themselves architects, but they are not Architects.

Also, Architectural Digest? That's like recommending Readers Digest to someone interested in literature.

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