The bachelor of architecture degree is the most often sought career-preparation program for those who want to work architects, urban planners, or industrial designers. Typically a five-year professional development program, the bachelor of architecture degree prepares graduates for work in the field. One fourth of all working architects today are self-employed professionals, with the balance employed by architectural firms, design companies, and government agencies.
Students enrolled in bachelor of architecture degree programs can expect to take a wide range of theoretical as well as hands-on design courses. Classes in architectural history are common, along with coursework in drafting, computer-aided design, land use planning, environmental planning, design and construction materials, physics, visual communications, client presentations, mock-ups and blueprints, and structural science.
The National Architectural Accrediting Board is the primary agency that awards professional licenses for working architects. In addition to on-the-job experience, the board requires all candidates to hold a bachelor of architecture degree or masters in architecture.
Architects can generalize or work in a specialized sub-field of the profession. Some choose to specialize in designing educational or healthcare buildings; some work on plans for industrial or manufacturing structures; others prefer to work on commercial or residential buildings. Many architects move into related fields, including construction management and real estate development-investment professions.
The Department of Labor says the demand for architects will be stronger in Sunbelt states where the aging population of baby boomers creates a need for new healthcare, retirement, and resort facilities.
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