Saturday, February 18, 2012

Embarking on a Career in Architecture: Worth It?

As I embark on this path to a career in architecture, I'm very excited but also a little worried. I've been reading up a lot on what it takes to be an architect and stay an architect. It sounds like incredibly hard work and dedication, and the compensation is often not commensurate. While I am entirely willing to put in any amount of work into something I'm passionate about, I am worried about making a decent living - for myself and people dependent on me, both currently and in the future. 

As someone with extensive knowledge and years of research about the field, I'd love to get your take on this work-pay balance that architects deal with. Specifically, how long do you think it takes on average for a fresh graduate with an M. Arch degree to "get established" in the field? I understand that is a nebulous question; I guess I'm wondering when, if ever, I could stop worrying about sub-par pay and job security in the field. If the answer is never, I'd still like to know that and make an informed decision before heading down this path.
 First, all that you state about a career in architecture is true -- it is challenging work and does require passion and dedication.  Some would certainly say that the financial compensation is not adequate.  Despite these apparent negatives, career satisfaction among architects is extremely high; over 80% of architects would choose to do it again.

As for when you will "make," that very much depends on you.  Although, there is somewhat of an understanding that traditional age students will take until their 40s or 50s to be established.  Of course, there are exceptions.  Also, this is not to suggest that you must wait until mid-life to enjoy success.

With that said, the current economy will NOT let you stop worrying about your future in the profession.  The profession of architecture has been hit hard, but you can succeed if you choose to make it.

Dr. Architecture

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