What education is needed to become an Architecture? [Canadian Construction]

What education is needed to become an Architecture?

Just like everything else, there is no clear answer to that question. “It depends.” To keep this from becoming a fifteen thousand page document, I will attempt to describe what it takes to become an architect. I should clarify that this post will focus on what it will take to become an architect in Washington State, on this exact day, at this exact minute. The higher-ups that run the licensing board like to make “updates” every five minutes. If you can successfully navigate the tsunami of paperwork and gain an understanding of all the necessary steps, the board should give you an architecture license. For all the regulations and fine print, click here.

There are three basic “standard” routes that most people take. The “grad school route, ” “pre-professional route, ” and the “experience route.” All of these paths have some overlap such as NCARB and testing.

School
There are four ways you can go about becoming an architect in Washington State:

1) You can become licensed with only a high school diploma, but this requires 12 years of practice (and so many hoops to jump through that you should just completely forget that I even said that).

2) High school diploma plus an undergrad college degree. This will lead you on the “experience route.” You also have to do some additional steps that I have laid out below.

3) High school diploma plus pre-professional degree from an NAAB accredited school. This is the most streamlined option. This will lead you to the “pre-professional route.”

4) Finally there is high school plus undergrad plus grad school. This is the most standard route. This will lead you to the “grad school route.”

NCARB
National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) is an organization that keeps track of everything you do prior to becoming an architect. The biggest thing that they track is your Intern Development Program (IDP) hours. As an “intern” you are required to log 5, 600 hours of supervised time under a licensed architect. Not all the hours need to be logged under a licensed architect, but most of the hours do. The hours are broken down into different categories such as construction documents, design, construction observation, structure and design development. The idea of this is to make sure the intern gets experience in all categories which helps prevent them from being pigeonholed into one task.

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