The path to becoming an architect isn’t easy—it’s long and hard, but totally worth it. Simply put, you’ll need academic training, working experience, and a pass grade on the licensing exam.
You have options: you can either get a 5-year Bachelor’s of Architecture degree or do a 4-year Bachelor’s degree plus a 2-year Master of Architecture program. After graduation, candidates for architectural licenses must work under the supervision of licensed architects for at least three years. Then it’s mandatory to go through one or more exams (there are different requirements in each state) in order to obtain a license to practice.
TIP: Architecture is so much more than drawing pretty buildings. So don’t let a lack of confidence in your drawing skills hold you back.
But first and foremost, take stock of yourself. Do you have the traits and temperament to be a good architect—and are you interested in how buildings are made? Ask yourself:
If so, you may want to investigate the profession more closely. Go to a design-oriented high school, or one that offers classes or afterschool programs in the field. Follow a well-rounded curriculum…arts and humanities, math and science, physics if you can.
Read books and magazines, surf the web, and look for whatever you can get your hands on about architecture…great architects over time, how architects solve problems, developments in the field. Start to think like an architect. How do people live in or use a space? Are the solutions practical and beautiful? Is there a better, more convenient layout? One that saves space or energy? Keep a notebook, make sketches and critiques and observations of buildings—any buildings—you see. There’s always something to learn.
Check out the ACE Mentorship Program. It’s a national program dedicated to mentoring high school students interested in careers in design and construction. Via volunteer mentors, ACE gives students plenty of real-world insights and opportunities and supports them through scholarships and grants in pursuit of a career in the field. Kind of a dream come true for interested high schoolers. acementor.org
Another valuable path is a summer architectural program for high school students—many universities have them. ThoughtCo.com lists these summer programs.