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Careers in Architecture

Careers in architecture are as varied and interesting as the people who hold them. Therefore, the AIA has established a unique web site for the topic:

Begin your career exploration by considering these ideas:

    Discover architecture.
    It is diverse and multifaceted, and has many opportunities for specialization—become familiar with the options.

    Be interested.
    In the design of the built environment, including public space, and how people use it.

    Ask questions.
    Contact your local AIA component/chapter; talk with architects; observe buildings and construction sites; visit schools and speak with architecture students.

    Prepare for professional education.
    Develop a broad interest in the arts and humanities and a solid background in the physical sciences, and math. Consider taking Advanced Placement courses while in high school.

    Learn communication skills.
    Writing effectively, speaking clearly, and developing freehand drawing skills are essential to pursuing a career in architecture.

    Books and magazines on architecture and design, and browse the web for architecture design websites and blogs.

Schools of Architecture Resources

Considering architecture as a course of study? The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture website has resources on high school preparation, questions to ask when selecting a school of architecture, and information on the 125 U.S. & Canadian architecture schools. Please visit the following webpages for more information:
ACSA Guide to Architectural Education

ACSA Online Guide to Architecture Schools

Architecture school is a unique college experience. For many, it is a departure from high school learning formats, and distinct from other undergraduate and graduate programs in its structure, requirements and length. High school students (usually rising juniors or seniors) can explore architecture school through a summer college program. Please see the for a list of summer programs.

To maintain educational standards, many architecture programs undergo a rigorous accreditation process. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) is the sole agency authorized to accredit US professional degree programs in architecture. When pursuing a career in architecture, it is important to weigh the merits of accredited versus unaccredited programs. Please visit the NAAB website for a more information on accreditation, and a list of NAAB accredited architecture degree programs.

Architect’s License Basics

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) created a short web video explaining the path to becoming an architect, titled Student to Architect: The Path to Licensure. The five minute online video summarizes the steps and regulatory requirements to becoming an architect.

Further Resources

The Architect's Journey: Exploring a Future in Architecture” (PDF) (left)
© The American Institute of Architects

Architect? A Candid Guide to the Profession
Roger K. Lewis, FAIA – MIT Press, 1998

Becoming an Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design - 2nd Edition
Lee W. Waldrep, Ph.D. – J Wiley & Sons, 2010

Careers in Architecture (McGraw-Hill Professional Careers)
Blythe Camenson – McGraw-Hill, 2008

Getting a Job in Architecture and Design
David W. Patterson – W. W. Norton & Company, 2008

Visit the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) website or email AIAS at for career information.

Uncertain where to begin? Contact the Center for Emerging Professionals at the American Institute of Architects (AIA),, for career information. Please tell us the city and state where you are located.

Job Searching?

Visit the AIA Career Center to search for your next career advancement opportunity.


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