I am considering making a career switch into architecture, and I’m looking for some advice. I am 25 years old, and I teach math to 7th graders in Arizona. I fell into the teaching profession by accident, and I have been attempting to figure out the next step in my career for some time. For the past year, I have tossed around the idea of working as either a contractor, engineer, urban planner, or architect, and I have recently begun researching going back to school for my M.Arch. I have always been interested in math, science, art, how things work, and building structures.
When I was younger I spent hours building with legos, Erector sets, car models, and 3-D puzzles, and while it’s been awhile since I’ve used anything similar, I still find that I can get lost in 2-D puzzles and problem solving. All this explains my interest in researching a career in architecture, and I’ve learned the amount of work and time that goes into studying to become an architect (at least a year to get all my pre-requisite classes in order, 3.5 years of study in a M.Arch program, 3+ years as an intern, and then studying for licensure). Therefore, I want to be sure that I am truly passionate about architecture before I pursue the discipline as a career.
I have been reading your blog for the past week, and I have come across some information about summer career discovery programs: LAIAD, Harvard, UCLA, and Berkeley. I’m curious if you know of any other summer programs that might help me explore my interest in architecture?
Congrats on your consideration of architecture as a new discipline. I appreciate you already researching the previous posts on the blog. The next best resource for summer programs is ARCHCareers.org -- http://archcareers.org/summerprograms.html - An updated list for summer 2011 should be posted at the end of January. Most of these are targeted for high school students.
Aside from summer programs, visit either UArizona or Arizona State as both have architecture programs; meet with students, faculty, attend lectures, shadow a course or two. If possible, contact an architecture firm to do the same. If you do not have any art in your background, take a drawing course to develop work for your eventual portfolio that you will need when you apply to graduate programs.
Finally, to compliment my blog, consider obtaining Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition. Best wishes and you find out about other summer programs, let me know.