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How to Become an Architect – A Step-By-Step Guide

If you look up at a towering high-rise building, study a map of a city or visit a uniquely designed room, chances are you are seeing the work of an architect. They create spaces that are functional and beautiful, responding to the needs of people while also solving for the problems they face.


Architects are responsible for designing buildings, homes and other structures that are safe, functional and aesthetically appealing. They work closely with engineers and other professionals to ensure their designs are based on sound technical principles.

Typically, to become an architect, you must first obtain an accredited degree from a college or university. This can either be a bachelor’s degree in architecture, known as a B. Arch, or a master’s degree in architecture, called an M. Arch, which can take up to 5 years to complete.

After completing your degree, you’ll need to complete a 3-year internship under the supervision of a licensed architect. This is part of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ Intern Development Program (IDP).

During this time, you’ll be given opportunities to design a variety of projects and learn the ins and outs of the profession. Once you’re ready, you can apply for licensure and practice architecture in your state. Having a license can increase your career opportunities and help you build trust among clients, contractors, and the public.


Architects are responsible for designing buildings, structures and other large projects. They also oversee the construction process, making sure that contractors adhere to their plans and use appropriate materials.

During the design stage, architects use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software to create plans and drawings for projects. During construction, they may visit building sites to ensure that contractors follow their plans, complete the job on time and within budget.

While this is a career that requires a lot of hard work, it can be extremely rewarding. It is also a field that is growing in popularity, which means there are more jobs available.

To succeed in this career, you need to possess a wide variety of skills. These include 2D and 3D design software, architecture, civil engineering, art and CAD. In addition, you need to be able to communicate effectively with engineers, clients and others.


The licensing requirements to become an architect vary by state, so it’s important to know what you need before starting the process. Generally, you’ll need an accredited degree in architecture from a NAAB-accredited school, along with professional experience.

In most states, you’ll also need to pass an exam, and in some jurisdictions, you may be required to complete a professional internship as part of the Architectural Experience Program (AXP). Once you meet the qualifications, you can apply for licensure.

You can find out more about the specific requirements in your jurisdiction by visiting the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards website. NCARB recommends and promotes national standards for the three core components of licensing: education, experience and examination. These three elements help ensure your professional growth and advancement as an architect. It also streamlines the licensing process in many states.


One of the most important steps in becoming an architect is networking. The right connections can help you find the right job and build a career in the field of architecture.

Networking can help you find work, expand your customer base and stay on top of industry trends. It also allows you to connect with people who have a different perspective on issues and can provide you with a valuable source of knowledge.

The best networking tips for architects include attending local RIBA events, adding ten names to your contacts list monthly and proactively sharing opportunities. These connections can lead to new projects, clients and business development.

While the majority of job seekers in this field have a Bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, or engineering, larger companies often prefer applicants with an MBA and additional certifications. The ability to analyze and communicate information effectively is also highly desirable in this role.

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