Architectural Design: Education and Job Training Requirements for Becoming an Architectural Design Professional

Published Aug 24, 2009

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Becoming an Architectural Design professional requires a minimum of a 5-year bachelor's degree in Architecture, completion of an internship and passage of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). This article details the education and job training needed to pursue certification as an architect.

Architectural Design Career Summary

A career in Architectural Design combines creativity with engineering knowledge. Architects design buildings, ranging from homes and hospitals to churches and schools, and larger complexes, such as shopping centers and college campuses. This includes laying out the processes for how these structures are to be built. An Architectural Design professional must create buildings that are attractive and useful, as well as safe and durable.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),, reports that approximately one in every five architects is self-employed, with the remainder employed by architecture firms and government agencies. The median salary for an Architectural Design professional is $56,637, according to

Education Required to Become an Architectural Design Professional

Some colleges and universities offer 4-year Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in Architecture. However, aspiring architects must earn at least a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) to qualify to sit for the national Architect Registration Exam (ARE), which can lead to professional licensure. Graduates with a BFA or B.S. must go on to earn a Master of Architecture (M.Arch) for an opportunity to take the ARE.

Bachelor's degree programs in Architecture typically include courses in architectural drawing, engineering and computer-aided design (CAD). Students often are required to complete a school-sanctioned internship as well.

Job Training and Certifications Required to Become an Architectural Design Professional

Aspiring Architectural Designers must successfully pass the ARE to earn professional licensure. In addition to meeting educational requirements to sit for the exam, prospective architects must complete an extensive apprenticeship.

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) administers the Intern Development Program (IDP) to guide future architects through the apprenticeship process. Interns work with mentors and sponsors to complete the IDP, the requirements of which vary by state. Once the internship and exam are successfully completed, a license is granted in the architect's home state.

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