Architectural Designer: Summary of Architecture Design Career Education
Whether designing a building or an entire urban landscape, an architectural designer must first meet a series of educational and licensing milestones to be able to do the job. They need to learn how to use drafting programs and understand construction protocol and design principles. To obtain licensure, architects need to meet state educational and experiential requirements.
The path to becoming an architectural designer starts with enrolling in a college program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board or another qualified organization, such as the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board. Some architectural design programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Majors include architecture, architectural engineering, landscape architecture and crossovers such as environmental design/architecture.
Coursework varies from one specialty to another, but in general, students take classes in architectural design and theory, building methods, construction technology, structural design, math, science and art. Computer-assisted drafting is an important component of most programs. Depending on the university attended and program completed, an architectural designer candidate may obtain a Bachelor of Architecture, which takes five years to complete. Four-year bachelor's degree programs are also available, but graduates need to complete further education to become a licensed architect. Other programs may lead to a Master of Architecture degree.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, architectural designers need to have a license (www.bls.gov). Specific prerequisites vary from one state to the next. In most states, meeting licensing requirements involves first obtaining a degree in architecture or a closely related field and completing relevant training experience, such as working as a junior associate for a specified length of time They must also earn a passing score on the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). Certain architectural design specialties require taking a related exam instead. For example, landscape architects must pass the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE). Since an architectural designer can specialize in one of several possibilities, it's important to complete the right program and take the right exam for the specialty of choice.
The training portion of the licensing requirement involves completing a professional three-year internship. During this period, the architectural design candidate earns a salary while working in an architectural field under close supervision of a licensed or registered architect. In all, completing one's education, doing an internship and passing a professional exam is a process that will take 8-10 years to achieve.
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