Rapid urbanization and buildings turning into art forms has given a boost to architecture studies. Colleges and universities across the USA offer professional courses in architecture and related fields accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). This is an important requirement for being a licensed architect.
The best route in being a registered or licensed architect is a five-year Bachelor or Master of Architecture degree program. If hesitant or unsure of career choice, opt for a four-year bachelor’s degree and then move on to graduate school for a 2- or 3-year Masters Degree program in Architecture. To be a licensed or registered architect one needs an internship in an architectural firm working under the supervision of registered professionals, followed by a comprehensive examination.
Different states have their own jurisdiction procedures. Some boards require a pre-professional degree in architecture or a bachelor’s degree in any subject. The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) follow their own criteria for admission to licensing examinations. Before applying to a college or school, check on the number of accredited programs being offered, or on related degree programs such as a program in historic preservation or architectural engineering with an accredited professional architecture degree program. The coursework is similar to accredited programs but problems arise at the time of license. Sometimes a single school offers several accredited professional degree programs, such as a five-year undergraduate degree for high school graduates and a three-and-a-half-year graduate degree for those who already have a degree in another field. One should check on the accreditation status of the school before applying as new architecture schools cannot have NAAB accreditation until the first professional class graduates.
If still undecided, the best choice is the Bachelor of Architecture programs, which allow flexibility of the yearly components of (2+3, 1+4, 3+2 or 4+1). This allows logical entry and exit points from various phases of a full five-year program. The student’s work is carefully reviewed before moving onto the next phase: another architecture program, institution or academic discipline such as landscape architecture, industrial design, graphic design, etc.
If interested in further specialization get a post-professional architecture degree in design theory, health care facilities, preservation, interior design, solar design, etc. One minor hitch is that these studies are not NAAB accredited. Study of architecture should not be cost deterrent. The majority of schools and colleges offer financial aid. Another way to save money on your architecture education is to take admission at a community or junior college, then move onto a more renowned college. Or you can opt for five-year program offering logical curriculum decision points. Picking up non-architectural disciplines such as behavioral sciences, engineering (structural and mechanical), economics, CAD or computer-aided design, history or communication is an added bonus whether interested in buildings or landscape designs.