I recently graduated from a bachelors program in Business Economics but I would like to pursue architecture. Upon researching the requirements to become one, I have gotten a few mixed responses from various individuals . Here are some of my questions.
1) To take the license exam, does one require both an accredited bachelors AND masters degree in Architecture. Or do I only require one or the other?
To become licensed, most states require individuals to obtain a NAAB accredited professional degree in architecture; this would be either the five year Bachelor of Architecture or the Master of Architecture. You would NOT need to do both.
2) Since I already have a bachelors, would you recommend that I apply for a masters program rather than starting from scratch and getting another bachelors in Arch?
As you already have an undergraduate degree, you should apply for a Master of Architecture degree for those with a degree in another discipline. These degrees typically take between 3-4 years.
3) I looked into a few programs in Canada and it appears that the amount of years to get an accredited degree of either a bachelors/masters is slightly smaller than in the US. Is this true or am I misreading the information? And given my situation, do you recommend receiving an architectural degree from Canada and hopefully take a reciprocal licensure exam to practice in the U.S.?
As for the length of degree programs in Canada, I cannot say for certain without doing the research. My guess is that the degree would be approximately the same length as in the U.S. Regardless, you should consider programs in Canada because you may still pursue licensure in the U.S. with a Canadian degree.
4) Since I do not have any background in Arch, I am taking community college core classes in Architecture as well as design classes in the local Art college in the hopes of making a portfolio. Do you have any advice with regards to turning in an application for accredited programs ? How much weight do admission panels focus on portfolios? And lastly, is there anything else I can do that would improve my chances of getting in?
Clearly, taking creative art courses will assist in preparing materials for your portfolio. I would suggest you purchase Harold Linton's book, Portfolio Design (www.portfoliodesign.com) for further guidance. Also, the most important guidance I can provide is to contact each of the programs you are considering to better understand their process and the criteria by which they select candidates. Most will have Open Houses to meet with students and faculty.
Typically, portfolios and academics are most important but the other application materials (statement, letters, test scores) also play a role. Do your best and feel free to contact programs if you have questions.
I must apologize for asking so many questions. I thank you for giving your time to reading through this email and I look forward to your response.