How do I get a Job Doing Architectural Lighting Design?

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  • Written By: N. Kalu
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2019
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If you are a creative person who is also interested in physics, optics, and the way lighting effects the mood of a building, you may want to consider a career in architectural lighting design. To get a job in this field, you can pursue two different paths. Some of those interested in this discipline go to art and design school. Others will complete a university architecture program. In either case, you will have to obtain a bachelor's degree before you can pursue a masters degree in lighting design.

Architectural lighting design requires an advanced degree from an in-person accredited institution. As such, you will have to receive your bachelor's degree before applying to graduate programs. You should major in a subject that will prepare you for a rigorous program in lighting design. For those enrolled in a university architecture program, majoring in architecture or engineering would be the most straightforward way to acquire knowledge in this discipline. If you are more interested in the art and aesthetic side or architectural lighting design, major in studio art, design studies, or art history as an undergraduate.

Getting an internship before beginning a graduate level program will help you gain the skills that you need in an architectural lighting design job. Your undergraduate institution should be able to help you find a suitable internship program with notable architecture firm. Take this internship seriously, as it could lead to a potential job.


Obtaining a master's degree in architectural lighting design is a necessary step in becoming a professional in this field. You could receive your Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in architectural lighting design from a prestigious art school. There is also the option of getting a more technical master's degree in this discipline from a school known for its science, engineering, or architecture programs. Either choice will teach you important concepts, such as the ergonomic function of lighting, energy efficiency, and how to combat seasonal affective disorder through effective indoor and outdoor lighting.

This field also offers several professional designations for those who are highly trained in lighting design. Membership designation in the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) is open to experienced professionals in architectural lighting design, and it is something that you should aspire to as a professional in this field. You can also get a Lighting Certified (LC) designation to signify that you have acquired the necessary knowledge and training to work as a designer.


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