How To Become An Architect

An architect is a person that designs buildings, both commercial and residential. They need to think not only about the aesthetics of a building, but also its functionality and safety. Architects work alongside their clients to bring a project to life. In order to become an architect, you will need a bachelor’s degree in architecture and to be licensed in the state where you work.

Everywhere around us, we see all kinds of buildings: schools, banks, office buildings, skyscrapers, churches, hotels, grocery stores, retail stores, and more. Buildings are eventually constructed by a construction company. Before a building can get to the construction phase, it needs to go through the planning and design phase.

Aside from creativity and technical knowledge, you need to be analytical as well since you need to see how various parts of the structure affect the integrity and operations of the entire building. In addition, you also need to have strong visualization skills. You want to see how the structure will look when it is finished even when it is still in the design stage so that you can anticipate potential problems and correct them early on.

Why Become An Architect

Architects have to consider many things when they plan a building. They have to consider what the building will be used for. They must consider what kinds of activities will be happening inside of the building. They must consider how many people will occupy the building. Safety is very important for architects, and there are strict regulations that they must follow.

They must use appropriate materials to make sure that the building is safe. A building that is not safely designed will not last very long, but could also be a hazard to occupants. Architects also spend time thinking about the aesthetic qualities of the building. There is a balance of function and art in the projects that architects take on.

Architects meet with clients to learn more about their project. They brainstorm ideas and determine budgets and delivery schedules. They determine specifications for the project regarding materials and other requirements. They use computer software to prepare drawings. They may also create renderings by hand. They visit project sites to see how the project is going. They work alongside a construction team and communicate any issues.

Architects should possess the following qualities and skills:

Architect Work Environment

Architects work in an office environment. They spend time drafting designs and sketches, and coming up with the best design for the project they are working on. They use computer software to draft renderings, and may also craft renderings by hand. Architects work on teams with other architects, as well as construction teams and others, in order to complete projects.

They will travel out to the project site to take measurements, examine the site, and understand more about the project at hand. Architects often are working on multiple projects at the same time.

Projects have strict deadlines and it is important that they are able to stick to a schedule in order to make sure everything progresses on time. Architects have budgets that they must adhere to.

Architect Salary

The median annual salary for architects was $76,930 in 2016, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Architects are able to make a lucrative career. Architects are called upon to design many different kinds of buildings. Homeowners employ architects to design beautiful residences. They are also hired to design commercial buildings, whether it is retail stores, grocery stores, office buildings, and more. Their expertise and the wide range of projects that they work on leads them to a high salary. Those who are employed by the government can expect to earn even more money: $88,000 was the median annual salary held by architects in the government sector in 2016.

Average Architect Annual Salary


The average annual salary for architects is $87,500 a year. Salaries start at $47,480 a year and go up to $134,610 a year.

Average Architect Hourly Wage


The average hourly wage for a architect is $42.07. Hourly wages are between $22.83 and $64.71 an hour.

Stats were based out of 103,110 employed architects in the United States.

Highest Paying States For Architects

Top Paying Cities For Architects

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Architect Career Outlook

Employment for architects will drop slightly to four percent between the years 2016 to 2026. This is a slower rate of growth than other jobs within the United States. This is going to account for approximately 5,000 new jobs for architects during this time period.

Certain sectors will be in high demand, and architects that specialize in these areas will have a better time of finding jobs.

One sector that continues to be in high demand is “green” architecture: those who have experience in sustainable design. Many people are interested in buildings that integrate renewable resources, use renewable energy sources, conserve water, and protect the environment. Architects who specialize in this will be highly desired.

Architect Degree

Read below to learn more on how to become an architect.

Step 1: Undergraduate or graduate degree. An undergraduate degree is required to become an architect. Many people choose to complete a bachelor’s degree in architecture or architectural studies. During this course, students will take design classes, learn about computer aided design, and also take math and science classes. Although not required, many students choose to attend graduate school and obtain their master’s degree in architecture.

Step 2: Internship. All prospective architects are required to have an internship. State boards usually require this internship to be three years long. Many people start this internship while they are still in school. Local architecture firms are a great place to intern. During this period, you will work under experienced architects. As an intern, you will get to help on projects. You get to prepare drawings and renderings. You will research the project and write specifications for what the project needs. This is a great way to see what life is like as an architect.

Step 3: Licensure. In order to become licensed, you must receive a degree in architecture. You must also complete an internship in the field. Finally you must take the Architect Registration Examination and pass. Architects are licensed in the state in which they work. They are required to continue their education through workshops and courses in order to keep their license.

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