Embracing Technology in the A/E Industry to Work Smarter, not Harder
August 31, 2020View Article
With thousands of schools across the country and hundreds of programs, choosing a school for your architectural degree is no easy task. There are so many questions that go through your head, quickly becoming overwhelming.
Where do you want to go to school? Does the state you want to get licensed in require a certain degree?
How long do you plan to be enrolled in college? Do you want to do a few years of school and then gain more hands-on experience by working in an office?
What kind of degree would you like to pursue? Associates, bachelors, or masters?
What program would you like to graduate from? Architectural technology? Architectural design? Architectural landscaping? Architectural engineering? Urban design? Interior architecture?
Do you want an accredited degree from NAAB?
There’s a lot to think about! Let’s break it down into more manageable tasks.
Picking a college based on location may be one of the most important factors for some individuals. When starting my journey, I knew I wanted to be closer to home so that I wouldn’t be going through too many changes at once. In the Syracuse area, I knew I had a few choices for my education. The AIA website has listings of architectural colleges by state – a great resource when considering the location.
I know, I know! I may be jumping ahead but bear with me. Where you get licensed is just as important as where you go to school. One thing to keep in mind is what the state requires for an educational degree. Many states require a NAAB accredited degree. The National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB) evaluates architecture programs in the U.S. to ensure that graduates have the technical and critical thinking skills required to have a rewarding career in the profession. A NAAB accredited degree may lead to more opportunities while developing your career. Instead of earning a Bachelor of Science, you would receive a Bachelor of Architecture.
NAAB’s website lists colleges that offer accredited architectural programs. You can search these schools by state or by a specific region across the country. Whether accredited or not, your degree can significantly impact what your future looks like once you begin your experience within the workforce. If you have an accredited degree, you may not need as many years of experience as a non-accredited degree. More to follow on this in the upcoming blog posts.
What degree does your top choice of schools offer? You can achieve an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree. Many schools have a continuation program from one degree to another within the school or have agreements with other schools for a college transfer. Degree choice has a direct effect on how long you’ll be attending school.
Associates degrees range from 2-3 years. A bachelor’s degree is often a four-year program, and a master’s degree is an additional 2-3 years. Depending on programming or the number of credits you want to achieve through a semester, these times may changes. If you do decide to transfer, pay close attention to how many credits can transfer from one school to another. If many of your credits don’t transfer, you could end up retaking classes and adding more semesters to your plan.
Last but certainly not least is choosing your college program. Architecture has many different forms in the design/build world. It can range from designing world-class parks and landscapes to designing a small addition to a house. Finding which realm of design to study is challenging, and it may take time to understand fully. Research early on, and speaking with college professors can help make the right decision for you.
These are just a few tips for starting your education in architecture. When I began my educational journey, I didn’t know there were so many questions to be asked, but I’ve certainly learned a lot along the way. Your learning does not stop after higher education! As the architecture world constantly evolves, you will be continually learning new things.