Unlike the common notion about architects, being an architect does not only mean doing building designs. There are many facets to being an architect and there are certainly many positions you can hold as a licensed architect.
You can become an architectural journalist, architectural historian, corporate architect, drafts person, building researcher, carpenter, cartographer, architectural engineer, building inspector, building contractor or civil engineer among others. You can also become a technical illustrator, urban planner, art director or industrial designer. However, you need to acquire ample education and skills first before you can become an architect.
Get Proper Architecture Education and Internship
You need a degree in architecture to become an architect. However, if you are really serious about pursuing this career you can start preparing for it right at high school. For one, you need a solid foundation in geometry, trigonometry, algebra, pre-calculus and physics. A good knowledge on humanities and English would also be important. Taking drawing, painting and photography subjects would also be helpful.
Of course, you need to graduate high school in order to be admitted to an architecture program as required by the National Architecture Accrediting Board. Without prior training, you’d have to attend a 5-year architecture program. The next step would be a master’s degree which virtually takes from 1 to 5 years since people with other bachelor’s degree can take it. Again, this could depend on the amount of professional experience one has.
After getting a degree one is required 5,600 hours or a minimum of 3 years of training with a licensed architect before being qualified to become a professional architect.
Registration Exam and Licensure
The first step then to becoming a registered licensed architect is to take the Architecture Registration Examination. In a nine-section exam, prospective architects are tested as to whether they have enough knowledge and experience needed to practice architecture independently. To be sure that one is qualified to take the exam he can verify his status with the architectural registration board.
Once you pass the exam, you can now register with your local architectural registration board. And once registered, you can now provide architectural services professionally. Many states require architects to take continuing education courses to maintain their licenses though.
And to easily get registered and to be able to practice in other states, you should get a NCARB certification. Before you can get it, though, your educational transcripts, professional references and employment record would be reviewed first. But once you get certified, it would be easier to even be able to practice in other countries too.