Architecture Programs

The job market for architects is growing, and positions in this profession are well-paying.

With more than 100 accredited architecture schools to choose from, there are ample opportunities to pursue an architecture career.

For creative, detailed and hardworking people, this field is a great choice.

Education & Training

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Educational Requirements

Bachelors Degree

Those who wish to pursue an architecture career will have to earn a bachelor’s degree. These programs typically take five years to complete.

Students in architecture schools take courses on subjects such as architectural history and theory, CAAD software use, construction methods, physical sciences and math.

Architecture Schools

Most states require hopefuls to attend an accredited architecture school. These colleges receive their certification from the National Architectural Accrediting Board.


All state boards also ask that graduates with architecture degrees participate in an internship for approximately three years before taking the Architect Registration Exam.

Becoming Licensed

After completing their internship, new architects must then sit for the exam.

The test assesses hopefuls’ knowledge of the best architectural practices and their abilities to implement them in their work. Each state requires architects to pass it to become licensed to work as a professional.


The median annual pay for architects was about $77,043. The professionals who earned the highest wages are often government employees, followed by those who worked in the construction industry. The pay is significantly better than the median earnings for all other occupations.

State Hourly wage Annual wage
Alaska $48.93 $101,770.00
Arizona $44.28 $92,110.00
Arkansas $40.51 $84,260.00
California $53.95 $112,210.00
Colorado $40.82 $84,900.00
Connecticut $49.10 $102,120.00
Delaware $40.90 $85,070.00
District of Columbia $56.25 $116,990.00
Florida $43.25 $89,950.00
Georgia $43.31 $90,090.00
Guam $38.88 $80,860.00
Hawaii $41.74 $86,830.00
Idaho $37.30 $77,580.00
Illinois $44.23 $91,990.00
Indiana $39.35 $81,840.00
Iowa $41.37 $86,040.00
Kansas $40.67 $84,600.00
Kentucky $37.80 $78,620.00
Louisiana $39.66 $82,500.00
Maine $39.09 $81,320.00
Maryland $46.52 $96,770.00
Massachusetts $51.22 $106,540.00
Michigan $39.49 $82,140.00
Minnesota $43.06 $89,570.00
Mississippi $51.14 $106,360.00
Missouri $40.94 $85,150.00
Montana $38.33 $79,730.00
Nebraska $41.34 $85,990.00
Nevada $52.03 $108,220.00
New Hampshire $43.18 $89,810.00
New Jersey $51.62 $107,380.00
New Mexico $39.47 $82,100.00
New York $49.58 $103,130.00
North Carolina $43.88 $91,260.00
North Dakota $42.46 $88,330.00
Ohio $40.54 $84,330.00
Oklahoma $36.82 $76,590.00
Oregon $41.32 $85,940.00
Pennsylvania $42.28 $87,930.00
Puerto Rico $26.65 $55,420.00
Rhode Island $43.33 $90,120.00
South Carolina $40.53 $84,300.00
South Dakota $42.74 $88,910.00
Tennessee $48.49 $100,850.00
Texas $43.72 $90,940.00
Utah $41.33 $85,970.00
Vermont $39.62 $82,400.00
Virginia $45.45 $94,540.00
Washington $41.90 $87,140.00
West Virginia $38.27 $79,590.00
Wisconsin $40.74 $84,750.00
Wyoming $39.48 $82,110.00

Occupation:Occupation:Architects, Except Landscape and Naval (SOC Code171011)

Career Overview

What Is an Architect?

All people need well-made places to live, work and recreate, and any construction endeavor starts with an architect.

These experts design homes, businesses, outdoor areas and more. They might work for individuals, private companies or in the public sector. Clients pay these professionals to plan entire complexes of buildings or single rooms.

The chief responsibility of an architect is to create the blueprints that contractors and construction workers will follow. They meet with clients to learn about their preferences for the place they’re building or renovating. They then make a mathematically accurate rendering of their visions.

Common Job Duties

Architects facilitate the first steps taken to prepare for the building process. When hired, they’ll meet with their client to discuss specifications and necessary features.

After some initial consulting, they may also offer estimates on the cost and a potential timeline for the project.

Next comes modeling.

Architects may sketch plans by hand or use software to create them. The diagrams include the layout and appearance of the structure they design, along with important internal components.

Blueprints show a building’s heating and cooling systems, electrical wiring, plumbing, and sometimes even outdoor landscaping details.

Some architecture jobs may involve having a hands-on role throughout construction projects, too. Architects might serve as a go-between for clients and contractors, and draw up contracts for all parties to sign.

They can also visit worksites to verify that everything goes as planned and the established timeline remains intact.

What Traits Should Architects Have?

Creativity & Design

Creativity and a smart sense of design are essential for a successful architecture career. To make structures that are attractive and practical, architects need to be able to visualize how all elements come together.

They should understand current styles and trends, as well as their clients’ tastes, and use their innovativeness to incorporate each.


Artistic abilities and technical savviness are vital in architecture jobs. Architects will often use computer programs to create clear and precise drawings. But there will be times when they need to sketch by hand.

To maximize their design capabilities, a professional should be capable of both.

Detail Oriented

Organization and attention to detail should be top priorities for architects. They must be certain that every bit of the plan for a construction project is correct.

That way, they know it is absolutely safe and up to code, as well as visually to plan. This applies to all structures, from the largest industrial facilities to the smallest homes.

Why Do Architects Need To Have Interpersonal Skills?

Client interactions are a substantial part of any architecture job. To have a productive and friendly relationship with their customers and collaborators, architects must be good at communicating and listening.

They should be aware of their customer’s needs and wants, and be capable of rendering them as instructions that others can understand.

Likewise, architects should be excellent problem solvers. A project may not go according to plan.

Delays occur, building materials become unavailable, and contractors run into unforeseen obstacles.

To overcome those challenges, an architect will work with their client and the builders involved to devise a unique solution that works for everyone.

What Are Useful Skills for Architects?

  • Keen artistic skills make sketching blueprints and modeling designs easier and more enjoyable.
  • A familiarity with computers helps architects use new software to create plans quickly.
  • A basic understanding of the construction process and common practices makes collaborating with building companies effortless.
  • Decent math skills aids architects who create budgets and timelines for projects.
  • The ability to self-promote and network can be valuable for architects who are on the hunt for new clients.

Work Environment

What Is an Architect’s Schedule Like?

Most architecture jobs are full-time positions. People in these roles will spend 40 or more hours each week sketching designs, meeting with clients and overseeing projects.

Occasionally, professionals may have to work extra hours. This often happens when a deadline is approaching.

Some architects opt for self-employment. These entrepreneurs have a bit more flexibility when scheduling their worktimes.

Of course, they must still allot time to meet with construction managers and consultees, usually during normal business hours.

What Kinds of Equipment Do Architects Use?

To create and alter blueprints manually, architects use a range of tools. They use a drafting board and large sheets of grid or tracing paper, and they keep an arsenal of other drawing supplies on-hand.

On their desk, one might see a scale ruler, T-square, compass and lots of pens and pencils.

Electronically, architects also use special computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) and building information modeling (BIM) software.

These programs are similar to those that engineers use.

They’re helpful for making sure the final versions of blueprints and plans show the exact specs of the project clearly and to-scale.

Do All Architects Do the Same Thing?

Most architects concentrate on a particular field of design. A few types of architects are:

  • Residential architects: These professionals create a homeowner’s ideal custom home or renovate an existing one to their preferences.
  • Commercial architects: Workers in this field design structures for businesses, government agencies and others. They sketch plans for offices, schools, hotels, hospitals and more.
  • Landscape architects: This kind of architect designs outdoor areas. They make parks, college campuses and other green spaces beautiful by strategically placing walking paths, shelters, water features, trees and flower beds.
  • Green design architects: This division of architecture is rapidly becoming popular. More people are striving to reduce the environmental impact of their homes and businesses, and these workers help them do it. They are experts in sustainable building practices and can create spaces that are energy-efficient and eco-friendly.

Where Can Architects Work?

The vast majority of architects have jobs at architectural or engineering firms. In these jobs, they work alongside a group of other professionals to complete designs.

The next largest portion of the workforce is self-employed.

Finally, the government and some construction businesses hire some architects.

Geographically, architects work almost everywhere.

Wherever people live and work, there is a need for expert assistance when building and renovating structures. But job seekers can discover the most architecture jobs in cities with dense populations.

Can Architects Work From Home?

Architects who work for firms will likely spend most days in an office. There, they can collaborate with a team of others to create the best designs possible. However, self-employed architects often work in their own residence. It can be easy to work on drawings from the comfort of a home office, especially if they are digital.

Do Architects Have Any Other Options?

A person may enroll in higher education after earning their architecture degree. They might return to school and enroll in a master’s program.

Upper-level learning and relevant experience can open the door to a position as an architectural and engineering manager. These supervisors oversee companies that employ several architects and engineers.

Urban Planning

A master’s degree can also qualify an architect to be an urban planner. Rather than only designing one building, these designers make an area composed of a number of structures and streets livable.

They work to revitalize communities and attract more people to the area through community improvements.

Other options might include:

  • Product Designer: Those with an inventive streak could enjoy a career creating products for businesses to sell to consumers. They might use their relevant knowledge to make decor items such as furniture or lighting, or make something entirely different like technological devices.
  • Graphic Designer: An artistic sense and technology skills acquired throughout an architecture career can translate to this job. These professionals use digital programs to design logos, photo edits, advertisements and packaging for clients.
  • Marketing Consultant: Architects’ experience with business-to-client communications and creative problem solving can become effective marketers. They work with company executives to convey their message to others through artwork and strategic language.

Career Outlook

Roughly 130,000 people in the United States work in architecture jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that number will grow 8 percent between 2018 and 2028. That aligns with an increase in employment in other building-related professions.

The demand for architects is increasing as more structures age and need renovated or replaced. This is particularly true on many school and university campuses. Additionally, more property owners are seeking out architects who specialize in green design to make their buildings eco-friendly.

Architects are the brains behind all buildings. They are responsible for designing the exterior and interior features of homes, commercial spaces, and all other structures.

They ensure these places are safe, functional and visually appealing for those who will use them. Where there is a need for shelter, architects are in high demand.