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Architecture Design Degree Outlook

An architect may create beautiful buildings, but that designer also must take construction, safety, and accessibility into the context as the building is created. Additionally, architects may be involved in all phases of a construction project, from the initial discussions to the final ribbon cutting grand opening. Therefore, the person who wants to become an architect may plan to learn more than design and drawing skills to plan for success. Engineering, management and supervisor skills, and the ability to communicate concepts and ideas one-on-one or with a crew are desirable attributes for an architect.

The architect usually doesn't work alone. Architectural firms can provide the essential experiences for what an individual architect lacks. Many architectural firms will provide predesign services, conduct feasibility and environmental impact studies, help with site selection, prepare cost analysis and land-use studies, and/or specifies the requirements that builders must meet. In addition, the architectural firm usually works within the parameters of a budget and the potential use of any given proposal. Designing the building is just one component in a process that involves legal standards that must be met in every area.

Beyond the standard planning procedures, architectural firms also may help builders obtain bids for construction, interior design, and landscape design. Given the wide assortment of buildings that can be built, the architectural firm must be flexible and constantly learn new parameters. An office building, for instance, doesn't need a church steeple, and a church may not need an open gymnasium or classrooms. The work is stimulating for those who like this constant change of pace, and stressful for those who cannot handle the daily onslaught of new materials.

A person who wants to design buildings can work within an architectural firm if that type of atmosphere is conducive to the designer's goals. Or, architects can develop specific skills and work on a contract basis, hiring their skills out to architectural firms. Either way, the architect must enjoy talking with others, as this vocation is seldom a solitary venture.

A degree in architecture often is specialized. For example, in most States, a professional degree in architecture must be from a school of architecture that has degree programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. However, State architectural registration boards set their own standards, so graduation from a non-accredited program may meet the educational requirement for licensing in a few States. Several degrees are available, non less than five years for an undergraduate degree. A graduate degree will add two to four years to that plan of study.

A typical architectural program includes courses in architectural history and theory and building design with an emphasis on structure. The latter courses often include math, physical sciences, and construction methods and techniques. But, the design studio is central to most courses, with instruction in computer programs and in drafting. Students also learn how to construct three-dimensional models.

In addition to a college education, architects often experience periods of internships or apprenticeships before entering the actual workforce. Many of these instructional hands-on experiences can be sought between college quarters or semesters or even during classes where internships are part of the overall learning experience. All U.S. states require graduates to complete at least a three-year training period before they sit for the licensing exam. These standards help to assure the general public that all architectural projects are designed to meet public safety standards.

As the architect gains knowledge through college education, internships, and through employment, that architect can pick up various skills along the way. The learning never stops for architects, which is why most famous architects aren't young! But, these skills also can help architects find jobs in other fields, such as graphic, interior, industrial or landscape design, urban planning and estate development, or construction management.


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Construction Technology, Diploma
Vista College , El Paso

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Advanced Manufacturing Technology - BS

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