From an outsider’s point of view, the profession of architecture appears to be an interesting career option – even a lucrative one, but is becoming an architect worth it?
Is it worth the investment in the professional studies?
And is it a good career choice in the year 2020, when advancements in technology are expected to replace manual work?
If you are in the midst of making a career choice and are considering all of the questions above, then you have come to the right place. In the guide below, I have accumulated everything you need to know about becoming an architect to the scope of earning of this career choice.
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Who is an Architect?
Architects are responsible for designing structures that are safe, aesthetically pleasing, and functional. They are known to be creative individuals with a keen eye for detail. They often work in teams and are dependent on many other departments to complete the assigned projects. Constrained for time, money, and sometimes resources – architectures enjoy challenges and have the ability to work under pressure.
However, just like any other profession, not everyone can be an architect!
According to the National Career Services of UK, an aspiring architect should possess qualities such as:
- Design skills
- Creative thinking
- Customer service
- Project management
- Analytic/technical thinking
- Computer literacy
- Mathematical excellence
Continuation of learning and adapting to the changes in technologies and techniques is another key component of the profession.
How Do You Become An Architect?
Similar to other professions, the field of architect also requires an extensive formal education. This includes:
- 5-year Bachelors program from a recognized university (B.Arch)
- Licensure by the NCARB's Architect Registration Examination
After completing the pre-requisite bachelor’s program, the professionals can also choose to go for a Master’s program and even a doctorate, if they wish to continue their education.
Is Studying Architecture Tough?
Studying for a profession like architect requires full-time commitment. Perhaps a little more than other career choices. Initially, the array of subjects may make the course overwhelming, but it gets easier with time and dedication. Here are some points that can guide you more about the degree:
- The intensity of its difficulty is dependent on your personal interest, strength, and skills. If you are pursuing the career for money only and no passion for the subject – chances are it may be difficult to complete.
- The course in architecture involves a lot of practical and technical work. There is not much reading or writing and most projects that you would be working on will be according to your own creative intuition – with limited restrictions from the professors.
- The lack of real clients, time constraints, and financial hurdles area also helpful in unleashing the creative abilities of the students.
- Additionally, most projects require students to manage their own time in order to meet the scheduled deadlines. This makes them prepared for working within a professional setting and gives them an opportunity to gain practical experience in managing their own time.
- The biggest downside of an architecture degree is that the course is very lengthy.
As I mentioned above, a bachelor’s degree in architect requires five years of study, followed by 2-years practical work. Once you have completed the combination, you can apply for a license and become a member of the professional architectural firms.
After this, you are also eligible to work full-time in an architecture firm.
If you are concerned about the course being challenging, check out the list of 2020 summer architecture programs happening all across the globe. These courses will not only help you analyze your ‘architectureship’ skills, but will also prep you for the university term starting in fall.
How Much Does The Course Cost?
The financial factor is another point to consider for a future architect.
Generally, the total cost of the degree is dependent on the choice of public or private institution and whether the student is attending in-state or out-state. However, you can expect to pay somewhere between $15,000 to $60,000 per year for tuition fees and books.
For example, Harvard University tops the list for having the best architecture graduate programs. The tuition fee for their 2020-2021 session is $53,420, excluding student’s fee and health card.
Meanwhile, the Cornell University’s undergraduate program for B.Arch. is estimated to be around $74,974. This includes tuition fees, housing, dining, books, and health aid.
Most colleges offer need-based and merit-based scholarships. Talk to the school’s finance department to explore your possibilities of receiving financial assistance.
Student loan is another option. But remember, you will have to pay back the amount when you start working. You can also reduce the tuition cost by working part-time or as a freelancer along with your studies.
Watch this video for helpful insights on how to select an architecture school based on your location, financial capabilities, course outline, and faculty.
Architecture As A Profession
“What will you do after graduation?”
Most graduates plan to start their employment hunting process as soon as they receive their degree, while there are some who wish to enhance their learning and go for advanced studies in a specific subject.
When it comes to architecture, working in a private sector is the most attractive option. Joining an education institute as a teacher, working in a government firm, and exploring architectural journalism/photography are also good career options for the B.Arch. holders.
The chart below illustrates the recently held survey by Design Intelligence (DI) and found that 38% of the architects wish to work in a private organization while 19% aimed to pursue their education further.
How Much Does An Architect Earn?
After investing more than a quarter of a million dollars in your studies, it is important to know your ‘worth’ or ‘salary expectations’ according to the market. Many architects who also went for student’s loan during their education are required to pay back the loan within a set period after graduation. So, here are some facts for you!
Generally, the salary an architect receives is dependent on your:
- Position in the firm
- The firm’s size
- Sector (private, government)
According to the AIA Salary Survey Calculator, an entry-level architecture in the USA can expect a base salary of around $40,000 - $50,000, while those who have earned their licensure can receive somewhere between $60,000 - $90,000 per year.
Additionally, there is a lot of room for growth in the profession. In fact, the AIA Salary Calculator predicts that an architect with over 10 years of experience can expect to earn over $100,000 per year on average.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) claim that states of California and Texas offer the most employment opportunities in this profession while hourly mean wages in these states are also the highest.
Is It Difficult to Find Jobs as an Architect?
It is expected that with the growth in construction and the requirement for new infrastructure, employment of architects will also increase. In fact, it is projected to grow 8 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations.
Vacancies for private firms are often advertised online through recruitment agencies, the firm’s website and architect publications. However, the USA government offers the highest paying options for architectures with a mean wage of $92,940.. The listings for openings in the federal sector are available on the website of USA Jobs.
The rise in entrepreneurship and the option to freelance in projects has also led many individuals to start their own work from scratch. Being your own boss and leading the projects in accordance to your own preference is a tempting decision that many graduates and even experienced professionals make.
Watch this video for some tips on how you can build up your portfolio and get your first client/project.
What is the Growth Scope of an Architect?
The employment for architects is strongly linked with the construction industry and if the economy shrinks – there is a good chance of slowdown in request for new projects.
However, the construction demands is one of the top-revenue generating industries in the world – with United States of America being the largest. Construction and renovation of homes, offices, retail stores, and government facilities is a recurrent protocols in the USA, which would increase the demand for architects in the future.
In addition, construction for more healthcare facilities is anticipated as the baby-boomer population ages and makes use of the healthcare services.
‘Sustainable design’ or ‘green design’ is another crucial element in the USA and is anticipated to be the fastest growing sector worldwide. This means that more opportunities for architects would appear to design buildings which efficiently use resources, such as energy and water to prepare environmentally friendly design.
Can Artificial Intelligence Take Over an Architect’s Role?
New York-based designer Sebastian Errazuriz claimed that 90% of architects may lose their job when artificial intelligence takes over the design process. Previously several studies have also suggested job losses as a result of automation.
And with the advancements in technology, the fear is not uncalled.
But when it comes to architecture, the individual is responsible for many components that may be impossible for the AI to replace.
For example, working in teams, communicating with clients, and human relations are important for the architect profession. Since an AI is unable to offer empathy to the humans, it is unlikely to interact with other humans like the architecture themselves.
On the other hand, some automation tasks such as data analysis and scheduling can take some work from the architects hand and make their job easy.
Artificial intelligence would not necessarily replace architects but may make their jobs easy by streamlining their processes.
Management consultant company, McKinsey also said in their report that less than 5% of occupations can be replaced fully by artificial intelligence. But they also said that every profession has the potential to be partially automated and can even be helpful in improving the operations.
This means that artificial intelligence would not necessarily replace architects, but the architects can use the same make their jobs easy and streamline their processes.
Here are some commonly asked questions and their answers regarding the profession of architecture.
In the end, if you are still struggling with the question, ‘is becoming an architect worth it?’ then Yes! Architecture is a promising career and is worth investing your time, money, and effort.
Watch this video to learn some more perks of becoming an architect.
Of course, just like any other profession choice, the study of architecture also demands passion to learn, determination, lots of hard work, and patience to excel. Ultimately, the growth opportunities and fair salary will definitely give you satisfaction.