Becoming an Architect

Jayashree Pakhare Oct 27, 2018
A job as an architect is, undoubtedly, a very satisfying career. If you have that intense desire to work hard, and a flair for building and houses designs, you should plan your path meticulously.
Knowledge makes man an expert, expertise makes him wise, and creativity makes him perfect. If you merge all these aspects, you can become a good architect in any area of interest. Many wonders such as Taj Mahal, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, etc., have left us speechless. They were mere drawings, made into a reality of a rigid construction by sheer hard work.

Architecture

It deals with designing and planning buildings. The first and foremost aspect of this profession is translating the ideas generated by the clients into reality. It is making their dreams come true.
Apart from interior decoration and exterior designing, an architect must know rules and regulations for building construction. He must also plan out the plumbing needs, electrical supply, and many other aspects related to the site. All these must be made within the estimated budget of his client.
It also requires manipulating the available space, volume, texture, light, shadow, and other elements to achieve an aesthetic end. This makes these professionals different from engineers, who are mainly concerned with the functionality and feasibility of the design.
Their duties involve association of different fields than mere creative imagination, and drawing those dreams on a piece of paper. They have to be proficient in engineering, computer literacy, legal knowledge, building codes, and some excellent communication.
Once the design is approved, local authorities must be approached to get permission for construction, identification of building contractors, preparing drawings, estimates, etc. An architect is supposed to visit the site regularly to inspect the progress of the work without compromising on the quality, supervise the receipt of materials, etc.
Skills like sketching, negotiating, people management, awareness of environmental issues and social factors, good mathematical skills, knowledge of associated legal matters, sharp mind, and observing skills help in professional life. Knowledge of CAD (Computer-aided Design) makes designing very fast, enabling these professionals to try innovative things.
There are numerous ways to become a licensed professional in the US. While these diverse ways often confuse prospective students, they offer plenty of options to entertain a range of personal requirements, likings, and educational styles.
The National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB) chalked down minimum conditions that all such programs must meet, but also allows them the flexibility to structure their own programs.
Today, there are more than 125 accredited programs by NAAB in the US. The students clearing such programs automatically become members of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA).
This association has a periodic publication of a guide to all accredited programs. You can easily access it by asking to the local high school's guidance center, or you can even order it directly from the association.
This publication can play a pivotal role, in comparison to different programs. Identify a list of those accredited programs that suit your interest and requirements; search for their websites or give a call to request information.
It will be in your best interest to find if a program will be best for you, if you can visit such establishments when classes are in session; speaking to current students can provide you with much vital information.

Studies

There are many possible ways to complete the architectural education. Some universities offer a six-year program. This four-plus-two program means a four-year undergraduate pre-professional program (Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies or BSAS), followed by a two-year professional program (the Master of Architecture or M. Arch).
A NAAB-accredited professional degree is required for licensure in most states, and students must apply for it. You can enter the M. Arch program directly, and can take time off to work to gain some experience, before returning for the studies of the professional degree.
Some universities offer a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arch). This is also a professional degree. These programs generally allow less time for liberal arts, or general education courses in fields related to but outside the domain.
Few universities, like Illinois, only offer three or four-year graduate (M. Arch) programs. They also offer a small program for students to earn such a degree in 3 - 4 years.

Internship Development Program

Some form of internship is needed for professional licensing. The Internship Development Program requires these students to document their experiences in defined categories. The aspirant licensed professionals should earn 700 units, where each unit is of about 8 hours. The program can usually be accomplished in 3 years of full-time employment.

Architect Registration Examination (ARE)

All the candidates must fulfill all the requirements of the Intern Development Program, before applying for the ARE. Basically, it is a nine-part computer based exam. You can take each part of the exam separately, with each section lasting about 40 hours.
Candidates have certain time to successfully pass all sections of this exam to get a license. Of course, these eligibility requirements may vary considerably from state to state.
Thus, all in all, it is a profession requiring long and intensive preparation. After licensure, the education continues, as technology continues to evolve and expand; as the needs and focus of society change; and as each new project is unique to time and place.
This ever-changing aspect of this occupation contributes greatly to making this career, one of those that provides life-long creative challenges, great excitement, and personal reward.
Being successful is not that easy. One needs to learn from whatever comes in his way. He needs to work as per the ever-changing societal demands. Non-stop learning process with work experience will definitely make a person, a good architect.
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