Monday, July 13, 2009

Dentistry to Architecture?

Dr. Architecture,

I graduated from Belmont University in May 2008 with a Bachelors of Science. I majored in Exercise Science and was planning on attending physical therapy school. However, as soon as I graduated I decided to pursue dentistry. My father and grandfather are both dentists. So for the past year, I have taken more science courses and the DAT hoping to enter a dental program in the fall of 2010. During the past year, I have questioned my desire to be a dentist but I really didn't know what else I wanted to do. I have always been intrigued by design and I have recently realized that I have love for designing homes.

In the past few months I started researching architecture. I didn't know that so much school was involved! Knowing what I know now,I wish I would have studied architecture in college. But in all honesty, I went to college to play golf and didn't start thinking about a career until my junior or senior year. I'm sorry this is way too detailed for you! But since dental school takes 4 years!! why not go to school to be an architect! That was my fear all along was that it would take forever....but I do have my whole life ahead of me and I want more than anything to do something that I will love!

So my question to you Dr. Architecture is:

Where do I start?? do I get my bachelors first? Will i have to take the full 5 years? or how many will it take since I have a BS already. I really have no clue as to what my first step would be. And can I become certified after I get my BS or after I get my masters? I'm confused.


First, start with reviewing the blog which includes answers to previous questions --

In addition, I encourage you to obtain Becoming an Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design, a book that will address many of your questions.

Given that you have an undergraduate degree, you may pursue the professional Master of Architecture (3-4 years) for individuals that have a degree in another discipline. These degrees are targeted for individuals like you. Visit -- -- and -- -- to research possible programs to attend for 2010.

Recognize that most programs require calculus, physics and freehand drawing. Plus, you will be required to submit a portfolio as part of your application.

Bottom line, you will need to obtain a professional accredited degree (BArch vs. MArch), fulfill IDP (, and pass the Architect Registration Exam (

My best to you. Feel free to contact me again with more questions if desired.


Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I am faced with exactly the opposite situation. I graduated 3 years ago with a master in architecture; worked in the industry for about 5 years and I am definitely ready to go back to school so I can have a decent life. I love architecture, but the truth is that you almost never get to do what you are passionate about, you always have “more experienced” architects that you will serve for years and years before you can actually have an opinion – not your own design – but an opinion. The pay is unbelievably low – when you graduate with a master degree and 50K-100K in loans, you will make somewhere between 30K – 40K a year. Schedule wise – expect to work and work – many times late hours and many weekends. I have been at work until 5am and sometimes came in at 3am to finish projects. I have worked 60-70 hours a week (when the economy was up). When the economy goes down you’re faced with payouts and reduced hours. Architecture is very dependant on the economy, so every 10 years or so you should expect a slow down.
Finally, my advice as a person that loves design – go into dentistry. At least you’re going to have a decent schedule and get paid for what you’re worth.
Someone should have told me this a long time ago.

Whatever you decide – good luck!

Anonymous said...

I would like to know if being a licensed architect make any difference? From my experience, I think it is the same in any field, that is you are expect to work with someone and serve the more experienced, especially if you do not have any licenses to authorized your say. As in any field, when you get the licensed and the experience, you can become an associate if things work out. If not, you may consider working for yourself. I heard the high percentage of architect are self employed. At least you have some say in your destiny.

My experience in finance and accounting with the same years of experience has about the above same pay as in architecture, and the same level of work hours, effort, and also move from coast to coast, start ups. From job to jobs, And people thought Wall street were all high paying jobs??? Not so, even back in then.

Anonymous said...

My dad is an architect for all his life and he loves his work; that was the reason why I also went to college for my architecture degree. But after so many years in this field, please let me tell you this right now...DON'T BE AN ARCHITECT. After years of tough training in school and internship at work, 99% of the people in this field cannot pass License exam and to have their own practice.

Do you want to know how much a licensed architect makes a year? Max 70K----and this is normally 15 to 20 years after college...if you have your own license.

I am seriously considering about going back to school to become a dentist now.

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