Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Career Change -- Too Old?

Hello Dr. Architecture,

I have always like architecture and seriously considered it as a career back in high school but ultimately went to college for Mechanical Engineering. Now I am looking for a change in my career and I am once again looking at architecture. My research shows that I should be able to get a Masters of Architecture degree in 3 to 4 years. Which would have me graduating and looking for an internship at age 42 or 43. Realistically how would my age compared to the twenty somethings graduating at the same time be viewed negatively by perspective employers? Am I too late in life in to be considering such a change?

While it is true that most graduating students with a degree in architecture are of traditional age, there are a number of graduates that are older. Rather than seeing your age as a negative, think of your previous experience as a positive for prospective employers. Remember, you would have a degree in mech. engineering and architecture. Would not such a combination be an advantage for an employer.

Philip Johnson, one of the greatest architects of the 20th century, became an architect at age 39 and practiced architecture until his death in his nineties. Frank Gehry is currently practicing architecture and turned 80 this year. You have plenty of good years to practice architecture.

The question is your commitment for the field and situation in life. Can you commit to the education of an architect?

You are not too old! Start the process of researching programs through -- or --.

Dr. Architecture


Anonymous said...

I became an architect at age 38, although I spent many years in this business prior to becoming licensed. In my opinion, as long as you have the resources to survive while "earning your way into a career change", it's never too late for any career. Your background is also an asset that you could use as a springboard. However, you should confirm that you truly want to be an architect--not just THINK you want to be one. I have a blog site that discusses the career happiness and career challenges of architecture at You may want to check it out. I would also highly recommend taking the Highlands Abilities Battery--a test that quantifies your "natural abilities"--abilities that you MUST use vs. abilities that you should NOT use. It changed my career life and helped me with my life as well. Check out my blos and leave a message. Love to hear from you. This blog is also fantastic! Stay tuned to both! Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I am in a similar situation regarding Architecture. I realized my interest in Architecture late in high school. I was told by advisr it could just be an infatuation rather than an interest. I dont really have lots of support for this interest. So I ended up getting a degree in business. However, I never liked what I did and tried to hold on. I finally made up my mind to pursue graduate study in Arch around 30 yo. I though it was simple, right? Only I was met with obstruction.. Shamefully, I have been rejected by the schools. I tried to create better portfolio, but nothing seems to work. The city which I lived in supposingly has great architecture and skyscrapers with surmont of financial world of wealth, did not give me an opportunity to study this field; even the city college with it start up a candidate program. I kept pleasing them by following the advice they gave me. I also took the Johnson O'Connor Exam which states that architecture fits my skills. I also took an expensive summer studio class. What I got from this is that I have to move from east coast to the midwest to pursue architecture. I was just under 30 yo from start, but now I am in my mid 30s and I have to move to a place I've never been to to pursue my career goals. I do have many concerns, first would I fit in with the younger crowds?, or would they give me a hard time. I know architecture degree is costly and requires using many materials, not to mention the abusive criticism from mentor. I am concern of accummulating debts and the payback from the degree. Unfortunately, I never got work experience in architecture field. I did not give up because of my passion for a career that involves creativity, and visual structural designs. After so many obstacle, and before I go forward, I would like to get some advice as to what other think of my situation? Please let me know.

Padmanaban said...

There are lots of jobs in Gurgaon, so why can't apply for those jobs

Anonymous said...

dont do it

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