Architecture goes hand-in-hand with Urban Development, as we just covered. With the need to make accommodations for the growing population, it is vital to expand housing and communities, and architecture is needed to help with the design and construction of these communities. If you’re interested in a career that allows you to utilize artistic and creative skills to impact life on an entire community’s landscape, read on for how you can learn more about studying Architecture in the U.S.
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Jump to:2-Year Degree 4-Year Degree Beyond a 4-Year Degree
Since urban development is a similar career field to architecture, the pathways will look similar. A 2-year degree can serve as an opening to gaining foundational experience in architecture. You can also learn about other careers related to architecture while in a 2-year program. Courses in these programs can include architectural drawing and design, and architectural history. Math and science courses like trigonometry, calculus, and physics will also serve very important as foundations in pursuing architecture.
You can immediately begin a career in architecture with a bachelor’s degree. Some schools may not have a bachelor’s degree program in architecture, so make sure to shop around for schools that have the program that leads you to the career you want. A similar major that can lead to working in the architecture field can be civil engineering.
Courses you may find in an architecture major include history and thoery of architecture, digital architecture, architectural design, and materials & methods of construction. An architecture program also requires you to have foundations in math and sciences, such as algebra, trigonometry, pre-calculus, and physics.
Courses you may find in a civil engineering major include foundations of engineering (concepts & methods), geology, electrical systems, thermodynamics, mechanics of materials, design graphics, computer tools, materials engineering, and engineering dynamics. You can specialize even further in areas including transportation, structures/materials, environmental/water resources, and mechanics. Similar to an architecture program, civil engineering will also require you to have foundations in math and sciences, such as geometry, calculus, chemistry, and physics. Through these majors (architecture and civil engineering), you can become an architect, landscape architect, urban and regional planner, or civil engineer.
Beyond a 4-Year Degree
Having a master’s or doctorate degree will allow you to have an even further concentrated and highly specialized career, but is not necessary to be an architect or civil engineer. A master’s degree program in architecture may include courses such as advanced design, community & urban design, and research methods in architecture. Depending on your area of concentration (listed above), the specific courses you take will vary after this point. If you intend to focus on structures/materials, courses can include soil dynamics, bridge engineering, steel structures, masonry & timber, structural reliability, dynamics of structures, advanced structures mechanics, and wind & earthquake engineering. If you intend to focus on transportation, courses can include traffic engineering; highway capacity; transportation systems; planning & design of airports; regional planning, design, and development; and engineering statistics. Master’s degree programs will require you to conduct research as a major part of the program or participate in hands-on experience such as internships, independent studies, practicums, and community-based projects.
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The following are technical routes you can take to achieve a career in architecture:
Jump to:Apprenticeships & Internships Vocational Training
Apprenticeships & Internships
Apprenticeships provide on-the-job training and education while you work. This can look like working or volunteering with little experience but being trained to improve your skills. Not only are you learning the necessary job skills, but also the demands, hours, ways to interact with the public, procedures, and problems that usually arise on the job. This is an all-encompassing experience. Apprenticeship and internship opportunities in architecture can be found through internet searches, networking, or through your school. These may exist at government sites, construction companies, architecture or engineering firms, and other local and national organizations.
If there is a business, organization, or person whose work interests you, ask them for the opportunity to intern or shadow them to learn more about the field and career. This is a great way to show your interest in the field and secure future opportunities to gain experience.
There are several occupations in the construction field that do not require a degree that would allow you to get a start in architecture. These include carpenters and architectural drafters. These careers do not require any degrees but will require hands-on experience to learn the trade.
Try not to decline unpaid opportunities especially if you have no experience. Eventually, you may become a paid worker. Through volunteering, you are gaining valuable hands-on experience that can be recorded on your résumé/CV, and you are building a network that you can lean on once you’ve elevated in your career. Ask different departments on campus about job shadowing, internship, or volunteer opportunities on campus or in the surrounding community.
You can review the Minnesota State CAREERwise website to explore careers similar to urban development in the Architecture and Construction career cluster. Here are more resources to learn more about careers in urban development:
- U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Architects | Similar Occupations
- Professional Associations (USA): The American Institute of Architects (AIA) | American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) | National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) | Alpha Rho Chi Fraternity | National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) | American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) | American Society of Architectural Illustrators (ASAI)
- Professional Associations (Canada): Nova Scotia Association of Architects | Northwest Territories Association of Architects | Ontario Association of Architects (OAA)
- Free Coursera courses: How Things Work: An Introduction to Physics (University of Virginia), Introduction to Calculus (University of Sydney), Applications in Engineering Mechanics (Georgia Institute of Technology), Roman Architecture (Yale University)
Check with your institution of interest to find out more about their admissions application, program requirements, and the best way to map out your future for studying architecture.
Unsure about what Architecture is? Read our explanatory post here.