Pros and Cons of a Career in Architecture
Want to become an architect? Architecture requires many years of training and a lot of effort. Understand the pros and cons before you commit.
You Get to Do What You Love
Architects are passionate about what they do. Architecture is for people who can't imagine being in another field. Detail-oriented dreamers thrive in this field. If you're a creative type and love making things, architecture may be for you.
Architecture Isn't Boring
Every day as an architect is different. Projects are complex, and you will be doing a variety of tasks. Plus architecture is a very dynamic field. Technologies are constantly changing, and trends evolving. You'll need some professional development to stay current, but you will always be learning.
What You Do Matters
Sure, you're not curing cancer, but you're making a difference. What architects do matters. They give people safe, healthy buildings to live and work in. Architects are also responsible to make sure that buildings are safe and structurally sound.
Lots of Training
You'll need a lot of perseverance to become an architect. It takes many years and a lot of effort to get your license. The training process is similar to other professions like medicine and law. It takes 8 years at minimum to become a licensed architect in the United States. First, you have to get accredited degree in architecture (a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture or a 2- to 3- year Master of Architecture). Next you'll need to complete a program known as IDP (Intern Development Program). For 3+ years you will work in an architecture firm getting professional experience. Then there's a 7-part exam called the ARE (Architect Registration Exam) that you'll need to pass. If you succeed in all this, you'll finally be an architect!
Salary and Hours
Architecture is a high-stress job with lots of deadlines. Long hours and late nights are common. The salary of architects isn't bad, but if you compare it to other professions with similar licensing requirements, it's much lower. According to Salary.com, the median income of architects is $42,000 to $113,000 depending on experience.
Architecture Is Driven by the Economy
Opportunities in architecture depend on the economy. If the economy is good, there's a lot of business for architects. Companies are expanding and people are upgrading their houses. When the economy dips, work dries up and a lot of architects have trouble.