Posted by Preston Pesek on July 29, 2003 at 11:40:07:
In Reply to: Career change into architecture posted by A Marino on July 17, 2003 at 09:23:18:
I've just been reading the responses to your inquiry, and its truly amazing how off track so many responses have become, anywhere from man vs woman in the context of God's design for the human race, to a little anti-semitism and the WTC. Ridiculous, but all too entertaining.
I am in a similar situation as yours, and have done some research over the past few months. I graduated with liberal arts degree two years ago, and am planning on getting a first professional degree in architecture, scheduled to begin in the fall of 2004. I have yet to apply, but am taking an architectural history course, and am working nights to free up my days so that I'll be able to work for an architecture firm part-time. This is all still in the works.
There are the old and burnt out architects who never seemed to make their dreams come true or make what they felt like was enough money, and they'll always be embittered and discouraging (about more than just architecture). I have found this kind of person in the fields of law (which I also researched heavily), medicine, marriage, parenthood, school, life in general. These people suck, and they are everywhere. Listen to them, but realize that their failure shouldn't apply to your dreams. Learn from them what not to do, and don't be scared to ask them what not to do. They might know.
I have done some research on the subject, and have found all kinds of responses in informational interviews with architects, as well as admissions officers from some of the nation's top programs for the M. arch I, which is called a master's but only in that it is post-bacculareate. The only difference between this and a bachelor's is that you won't have to take any of the english lit or government to get the degree... (A great website for these programs is the www.naab.org which is the official accrediting board who certifies architecture programs at schools... to become an architect you must graduate from an accredited school). You will go through the three year design sequences, along with construction and some interior design... architecture is a very complex and broad subject that incompasses a little of every part of the creation of buildings, and architects are involved at nearly every step of the way on large projects. Expect three years of full course work.
I have spoken with young architects who are going through the process, which is long, and will likely take more than 6 years, from the time you begin the master's program, to the time you become licensed in whatever state you decide to practice in. It will require the cost of going to school for three or three and a half years, and not being able to work during this time. The curriculum of the M arch degree is a full time job in itself, and it will be daunting having to complete it while raising children. However, I'm sure you're fully aware of the balance of these parts of your life. When you complete school, the licensing process consists of doing internships in different capacities of the profession, and you must take a series of exams similar to bar exams for the practice of law. Stressful and comprehensive, and the pay for interns going through this process may just barely cover your school loans.
Of those successful architects I have spoken with, they are very encouraging, as long you acknowlege that you know what you're getting into. This is a career, just like any other, and will require years of hard work and sacrifice, but also offers rewards along the way to encourage you. I get the general feeling that the rewards of architecture are more of the spiritual and purposeful kind, rather than the monetary or material kind. Your decision to enter this career should begin with a decision of what it takes for your own fulfilment. Also, it is a matter of connections, networking, and your own hudspah. If you are a capable and confident person able to leverage your resources wisely, this career can work for you (but then again, if you're that kind of person, you can do well at anything). I admire your courage in attempting this career with young children.
Best of luck.
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