Architects create buildings for clients, ensuring that the structures they design are safe and functional, and that they suit the aesthetic preferences of their clients. This occupation requires extensive study; typically, architects must earn a bachelors’ degree, and then pursue a master’s program of two to four years. After completing their schooling, architects in the United States must then obtain their license. This requires the architect-in-training to complete an internship, which focuses on the use of computer-aided design technology and gaining familiarity with the building safety codes. Interns must then pass all sections of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) to obtain their license. Usually, architects must complete continuing education modules to maintain their license (ABOUT.com).
After obtaining their licenses, architects usually obtain employment in firms. With work experience comes larger projects and more responsibility. Eventually, architects can advance to managerial positions within firms and become full partners (ABOUT.com). Alternatively, some architects choose to set up their own practices. Work hours often exceed 50 per week and include weekends and evenings, as architects work to complete projects within clients’ timelines.
Architects can specialize in building types (public or residential) or in different parts of the construction process (planning or design, for example). Architects need not specialize in one field; many work in several different fields.
As obtaining an architectural license rests upon completing an internship, architecture students are advised to begin building connections as early as possible. While the industry is expanding as construction expands post-recession, architecture is still a relatively small field, and establishing a network will help architects-in-training secure employment.
- LionSHARE: LionSHARE maintains a list of companies involves in architectural services, including architecture firms and interior design companies. Companies that have recruited Columbia students in the past include Tamara Eaton Design and the United Nations Development Corporation.
- Vault and WetFeet Guides: CCE subscribes to career-focused web services such as Vault and WetFeet, which offer profiles of industries, companies, and careers- such as the WetFeet Career Overview for Architecture and the Vault guide to Residential Architecture.
- CCE Internship Programs: CCE helps connect students to domestic and international internships in a wide variety of fields, including architecture.
- Barnard+Columbia Architecture Society: Student organization focused on networking and facilitating a forum for those interested in architecture to display and discuss their work.
- Design for America: Columbia/Barnard student group using design to create local and social impact.
- The American Institute of Architects
- American Institute of Building Design
- American Planning Association
- The National Association of Minority Architects
Last updated December 2014