Choosing Your Path in Architecture School
If you are visually creative but also have strong technical and analytical skills, you might want to consider a career as an architect. Unlike some career paths, this is not something you can just fall into or learn on the job. You’ll need to start by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in architecture. You’ll also need to become licensed and maintain that license. Becoming licensed usually also involves doing a paid internship. There are different areas of specialization within the larger field, and as you work on your bachelor’s degree, you may want to think about which one you will focus on.
Choosing a Architecture School
Cost, location, size, program reputation and course offerings are all factors you should consider when choosing the right college. It can be easy to be swayed by what others tell you, but don’t lose sight of your own preferences. If your heart is set on a particular setting or program, you should aim for that. It can be helpful to visit the campus if possible and talk to some students. You should also find out what you can about the kind of career support students get and whether most of them go on to have successful architecture careers after graduation.
Paying for It
Some people may feel the cost of going to college puts it out of reach, but this does not have to be the case. Even if you have no savings and your family is unable to help you financially, there are many sources of funding. Some employers might even pay for part of your tuition. However, your first step should be to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which tells you what you are eligible for in grants and loans from the federal government. This will not cover the entire cost of your education, but even if you do not qualify for any federal loans at all, you still have other options. Your next step should be looking into scholarships. You can also pay for all or part of your education with private student loans. Many people worry about going into debt, but while you should not take on a disproportionate amount, keep in mind that architecture is a field that pays well. Borrowing now will mean a high salary later, and you can use that to pay off your loans.
Choosing a Specialty
You don’t need to choose a specialty right away and you may end up moving into an unexpected area after graduation, but it can help to know what’s out there. For example, your focus might be on specific types of structures, such as residential or commercial buildings. Some architects specialize in only building with sustainable materials. What about landscape architecture? Instead of buildings, your focus could be on making outdoor spaces beautiful and useful. There are also professions that are based more in engineering but still allow you to work on design. One example would be naval architecture or marine engineering, which involves the design of ships. Be sure that you know the full scope of the opportunities available so you can follow the path that will best suit you.
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