Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Architecture Career

I am interested in the field of architecture, but I have some pretty specific questions and am hoping that you can help me. Currently I am a 28-year-old administrative assistant. I fell into administrative positions out of college, but I have no desire to remain in this field, and I would really like to go back to school to pursue a career, rather than continuing to work jobs that provide no fulfillment for my talents or goals.

I did attend college right out of high school and received a BA in Music. My interests have always been in the arts – music, writing, art, etc. – but unfortunately, it is difficult to obtain a career in these fields, which is how I ended up in administrative positions. My goals used to involve being a songwriter and/or a recording artist, but I have decided to go in a new direction and pursue a lucrative career that involves creativity yet has a more direct career path. I have recently become interested in the field of architecture and have been reading more about it to see if it is something at which I think I could excel. I graduated with a 4.02 GPA in high school and summa cum laude from a private liberal arts university. I took math all through high school, including AP Calculus, and received A’s in all of my classes. I also took Physics in high school and received an A in that as well.

In addition to natural artistic ability, I also have very strong writing, communication, organizational, detail-oriented, and creative skills. From what I’ve read, I believe that my combination of left- and right-brain attributes would lend themselves well to a career in this field. The only problem is that I am not currently in the position to go back to school full-time. My husband and I both work full-time to pay the bills, and we are caught in a circular trap in which we cannot pursue new careers without money, and we will not have the money until we achieve success in our professional endeavors. From what I’ve read, I’ve been discouraged to see that it does not appear that I can start out by studying online, which I do understand, given the nature of architecture, but it is still disappointing and frustrating to not be able to pursue this career in the foreseeable future. My question, then, for you is this: is there any way to begin pursuing this career or to find out if I am well-suited to it without attending college full-time?
I thank you for your time and any advice or guidance that you can provide to me.
__________

Congrats on your interest in architecture! Given your academic background in music and academic performance, I am confident that you would be well-suited for the discipline. You would be eligible to apply to Master of Architecture degrees (3-4 years) for those with a background in a discipline other than architecture.

To learn more, fully visit - www.archcareers.org and obtain Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition, available from Amazon.com

As you state, there are NO online degree programs nor would you want them to be; architecture is NOT a discipline to be learned exclusively online. To research programs, visit -- www.naab.org and/or www.archschools.org --. Boston Architectural Center does offer a distance Master of Architecture but you must have the pre-professional BS degree plus you do spend 6-8 days per semester in Boston.

As for pursuing the career without begining an academic program, I would first start with the list of programs available from www.ARCHCareers.org -- while many of them are targeted for high school students, I am sure some do or would be willing to accept individuals with a college degree. Below are a few that I do know of that do --


Berkeley
http://arch.ced.berkeley.edu/programs/summer

UCLA
http://www.summer.ucla.edu/institutes/Architecture/overview.htm

Los Angeles Institute Of Architecture And Design (more than a summer program)
http://www.laiad.com

As these programs develop materials for your portfolio, attending would improve your chances for admission. As well, you might be able to solicit a letter of recommendation from the faculty of the program. In addition, simply become engaged in the profession - read book, online magazines, attend lectures or view online, participate in a summer program or take a drawing/life drawing course. Find a mentor, talk with current students, etc.

Finally, I suggest you research the Society for Design Administration because of your administrative background. Obviously, you desire to leave administration, but perhaps an administrative position within a design firm is first good step


I wish you the best

Dr. Architecture

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