I am looking at a medical retirement from the USMC here in a few months. I have been looking at my options and believe architect would be a good career path for me. I have the ambition, will, and potential, plus I like a challenge, so why not? The part I am confused on is the education part.
I know that the degree has to be NAAB accredited. What I don't understand is this, for example; North Carolina State University offers a degree called "Bachelors of Environmental Design Architecture". Now that program is not NAAB accredited, however after completion of that I can apply for a 1 yr Bachelors of Arch or 2 year Masters of Arch. What I do not understand is what is the difference between the Masters and Bachelors. You only need 1 to be licensed, but do potential clients/employers prefer the masters?
One other thing I am trying to figure out is this. I stay 2 hours away from the college, so I would have to commute daily to the college. Now nearby is a community college that offers a Architectural Technology degree. From your personal point of view do you think I could attend that course and then go for a 1 year or 2 year B Arch or M Arch degree using that pre-education?
For now my plan is to attend NCSU and go through their program since I know for a fact it will work, however if my second situation would work that would be the preferred method. Enclosed on the bottom of the email is the CCCC Arch Tech curriculum.
You are correct in that the process of becoming an architect, especially the "education" part can be confusing. First and foremost, the most important task to complete is to obtain a professional NAAB accredited degree; this can be either the Bachelor of Architecture or the Master of Architecture.
Given your location, NCSU is one of the few programs that offer both which provides you options. In deciding, select the one that is best for you, not which one employers think is best. Granted, the BArch is less time, but the MArch may provide you opportunities for your long term career prospects.
As for attending the community college and first obtaining an Architectural Technology, I would suggest you schedule a meeting with NCSU to determine if and what courses will transfer. It may help you with more general education courses but some may not transfer. It is doubtful that you could get away with attending for the associate's degree and complete the BArch in only 1-2 years. This is another reason why to meet with NCSU staff.
While you may need to do so, I would not recommend commuting two hours to complete an architecture degree because of the time demands of the degree.