To work as an architect, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or equivalent;
- have a bachelor's or master's degree in architecture;
- complete a three-year internship; and
- have a license.
Education after high school
All architects learn their skills through formal, professional-level training programs. There are non-professional degree programs in architecture. However, these programs do not qualify you to be licensed as an architect. All states and the District of Columbia require architects to be licensed.
There are two types of professional-level programs in architecture: a five-year bachelor's degree program and a one- to four-year master's degree program.
The type of architecture degree best for you depends on your preference and your academic background. The five-year bachelor's degree is the fastest route for those who do not already have a college degree. If you are not sure of your goal, or if you already have a bachelor's degree, a master's program may be your best choice.
Most architects earn a five-year bachelor's degree at a college or university. This is a very specialized program of study. If you decide to drop out of architecture, the credits you have earned may not transfer to other degree areas.
Many schools offer a two-, three-, or four-year master's degree in architecture. The two-year programs are for students who have a four-year, non-professional degree in architecture or a closely related field. The three- and four-year programs are for students who have a degree in other areas.
Work at a drafting, construction, or interior design firm can provide valuable experience.
After graduation, you must complete a three-year internship. During the internship, a licensed architect supervises your work. You perform tasks such as preparing drawings and researching building codes. You also learn to write construction specifications. These are the descriptions of building materials, installation methods, and other details required for constructing a building.