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Simplifying the Steps to Becoming an Architect

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Published on:

June 25, 2015


Simplifying the Steps to Becoming an Architect

From Student to Licensed Architect

Despite being a very popular field the path to becoming an architect is often misunderstood. How does one go about becoming an architect? If students aren’t careful they can find themselves wasting valuable time and money on unnecessary steps.

NewSchool of Architecture & Design helps students pursue their dreams offering them a linear approach to becoming a licensed architect through their Bachelor’s and Master’s of Architecture programs. Here are the primary steps students must take as they work towards obtaining their architecture license.

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Education Required

The first step towards licensure is finding the right bachelors or masters (if you already have a bachelor’s degree) program that is the best fit for you. Finding a program that offers you guidance throughout the five-year program and as you begin to look for a job is extremely important.

The main two facets of architectural education include completing all university coursework and the national Intern Development Program. The blend of classroom skill development with real work experience gives students the tools necessary to overcome challenges they may face in the field.


Professor Mike Stepner shares that at NewSchool instructors believe that students need to be able to combine technological and traditional tools in order to effectively communicate their ideas. While technology has streamlined much of the design process removing a large portion of somewhat repetitive work there is still value in teaching students the fundamentals of design.

Pairing a solid technical background with the theoretical is a major focus of the program, which puts a strong emphasis on sustainability and urban planning. Stepner explains that the ability to be aware of all impacting factors and ask the right questions is incredibly important when working in the field.

Intern Development Program

The Intern Development Program requires students to complete 3,740 hours of work over a five-year period. There are a number of different categories of internship hours that students must complete ranging from design to project management. While students can begin working towards completing the program as soon as they’d like most students start around their second year and use the first year to focus on their studies.

Similar to a medical internship or residency architecture internships are typically paid and equivalent to an entry-level position. Students work under a team of licensed architects learning the ins and outs of building and safety regulations. Working with a dynamic team in a real-world environment gives them the experience that they simply cannot inside a classroom.

Career Counseling

One of the most important features of NewSchool’s program is that they require every student to meet with the career center and work on their portfolio with advisors who look at their work through the eyes of potential hiring mangers. Lisa Ganem, the Director of Career and Alumni Services, explained that, “Many students don’t know what their marketability is.” Ganem works closely with students to help them with everything from looking for jobs to catering their portfolio to their strengths, making sure they highlight their best work.

NewSchool understands that apart from a resume, which can get your foot in the door, employers want to see what real world experience students have and how they’ve applied the theoretical to real world situations. This gives them a much better idea of student’s overall thought processes and how they would problem-solve and collaborate with team members.


After completing five years of education and 5600 hours of IDP students must take a state-specific licensure exam. Each jurisdiction sets its own requirements for initial licensure and examination. You can check each jurisdiction’s requirements here—it’s never too soon to start planning.

Career Opportunities

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the median income of architects in 2012 was $73,090. With a higher-than-average growth rate of 17%, the average for all professions is 11%, the market is full of opportunities for students to establish themselves.

As you may be able to tell, one of the most important decisions you make as you work towards becoming an architect is which university you will attend. Having the support and network of resources you need to find good internships and jobs, upon graduation, is a vital step in making sure you are set up for success. At NewSchool the staff work closely with students to help make sure they have all the resources and tools they need to begin their career as an architect. Click here for a comprehensive look at their program’s offerings.