What Is an Architect?

Before you can decide if you want to be an architect, you have to understand what each of the different types of architectural contractors do and what unique skills each of them have. There are residential architects, commercial or public architects, industrial architects, and landscape architects. All of these different architectural contractors work with design. However, they all have different specialties.

For example, a landscaping architect will have an education that is geared specifically toward environmental design. But an industrial architect will focus more on specific industrial designs, such as cars, furniture, and other reproducible products. The most commonly known architects are commercial architects because they design all of the structures in a city. Regardless of why you want to become an architect, it is important that you take the time to figure out what kind of architectural contractor you want to be before you start your education.

The Licensing Process

Once you have received a master’s in architecture, there are a few more requirements necessary to become a licensed architect. First, you need to fulfill an internship requirement, which is comprised of 5,600 training hours broken into 16 different categories and 700 units. This process is called the Intern Development Program (IDP).

When you are finished with your IDP, you can start preparing for the Architecture Registration Examination (ARE), a test that was developed and is administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB). The ARE has different requirements in each state, but in most cases, it is comprised of seven different divisions, each relating to a different area of architecture that you are expected to know before you can be licensed.

After you have completed the ARE, you can finally become a licensed architectural contractor, but you have to pay to get registered.

Education Is a Must

For most construction contractors, education can be beneficial but is not absolutely necessary. When it comes to architectural contractors, you actually need to have a master’s degree in order to be legally able to apply for a license.

Now, there are several different paths that you can take in order to receive the proper education to become an architectural contractor. Most institutions will offer a five-year program that combines the bachelor’s and master’s degree. However, you can also choose to major in several different bachelor degrees that are considered eligible. Engineering, math, and even art majors are acceptable. This option requires you to receive a master’s degree after you have your bachelor’s degree.

What Is the AIA?

The acronym “AIA” refers to the American Institute of Architects and generally comes at the end of a licensed architect’s name in order to distinguish him or her as a professional. The American Institute of Architects is a national association of professionally licensed architects whose headquarters are in Washington D.C.

In order to be licensed as an architect, you must become a part of the AIA. In order to maintain your license as an architect, you have to keep up with documented, continued education requirements. These requirements vary between one state and another, but overall, you will have to remain diligent in your efforts to stay accredited.

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