Saturday, January 25, 2014

From India to St. Louis, MO

I am an architect and environmental planner with three years of professional experience in India. I recently relocated to St. Louis, USA. I would like to know if I can work in US as well. For that do I need to register for NCARB (or any other for architecture as well as planning) in US? Also, my past professional experience involved research work on urban development studies (like climate change and cities, green building etc.) Are there any such organizations in St. Louis which undertake such researches?

It would be great if you could guide me on this.
Thank you and regards.

To work in the U.S., you would need to confirm the labor laws; I am not an expert, but it is my understanding that you must either be a U.S. citizen or have a permit to work.

With respect to being an architect, I suggest you contact NCARB - - to learn more.  As you are an architect in India, you will need to follow the process of becoming an architect in the U.S.  Aside from NCARB, contact the state department of professional regulation in the state of Missouri to learn the requirements of the state.

As for your research, I am sorry I cannot be of direct help.  You may wish to contact the School of Architecture at Washington University.

Sorry I cannot be of more assistance.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Research Project - Architect

I am doing a research project on a environmental career that interests me for my Environmental AP class. The career I have chosen is something that I could possibly see myself doing in the future which would be architect. The whole point of this project is for me to interview a person with this career via email, phone or in person. I chose the option of email.  I was not quite sure which email to select on the website so my apologies if I happened to pick the wrong one. Below are questions that must be answered for my research project, please answer with as much detail as you can and thank you so much for taking the time to answer this. 

1. What do they do for community (the service provided)?

2. How do they provide their service?

3. What resources are used by them in providing the service?

4. Where do they work?

5. What time during the day do they work?

6. What other professions are they dependent upon for functioning of their profession (i.e. janitor, delivery person, secretary, and repair person)?

7. What special adaptions (skills, education, tools, behaviors) do they use or required to have? How do they acquire these adaptions?

8. What other professions do they compete with if any?

9. What other professions do they cooperate with if any?

10. What benefits (spiritual, emotional, and financial) do they get from their career?

11. Is this career adaptive? As the economic community and our society change will the career still be needed in the future?

12. Discuss how a career is like a niche in an ecosystem. 

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions and may you have a nice day.


I very much appreciate your contacting me to help you with your research project on an environmental career that interests you, but unfortunately, I am not an architect to directly address your questions.

To that end, I would suggest you contact the area chapter of the American Institute of Architect to talk firsthand with an architect.

However, you may wish to use the following resources to answer the questions you pose.

Occupational Outlook Handbook - Architects

Becoming an Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design - 2nd Edition

Ginsberg, Beth. (2004). The ECO Guide to Careers that Make a Difference: Environmental Work for a Sustainable World. Washington, DC: Island Press. ISBN 1-55963-967-9.

I do hope these resources are helpful in preparing for your project.  

Thanks and Best!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ready to take ARE?

Dr. Architecture,
I have six years of working experience in an architecture office, AA degree of architecture from  community college, then went to a 5 yr. accredited architecture school but did not get the BS degree because I still have 2 G.E classes to full-fill. Now that i'm working full time and because of my financial reason I couldn't be able to go back to take the classes. Do my school credits and 6 years experience enough to qualify to take the exams?

Depending on the jurisdiction, you need two tasks to be completed to be eligible for the ARE.  You should definitely consult NCARB - --

Basically, you need either the NAAB accredited degree or an education that meets the NCARB Education Standard.  Next, you need to have completed IDP Intern Development Program - the experience under the supervision of an architect.

From what you have shared, you appear to be short by two classes of your degree. With regards to your work experience, it is hard to say because you do not mention IDP.  If possible, contact NCARB or the IDP Educator Coordinator at your institution.


Accounting to Architecture

I am currently an undergrad accounting major at Temple University and will be graduating this spring. I stumbled upon your ARCHCareers blog after searching "master of architecture for non architects." 

While I've been on winter break, I've been thinking about my plans after graduation and what career or further education I want to pursue. While I enjoy accountancy, I have this nagging thought about not opening up and challenging myself to a discipline that I find more interesting and fulfilling. I originally planned to major in civil engineering and definitely thought about architecture as well, but I never gave myself a chance and went with accounting.

I saw on this post of yours that MArch programs accept applications from people who have an undergrad degree in another discipline. I have never taken any undergrad or high school architecture class and I don't have a portfolio. Ultimately, I have a few questions about all of this:

  • If I am seriously interesting in an MArch degree, where should I start?
  • Am I in over my head? Have you heard/seen similar stories of non-architects pursuing architecture this late?
  • How did you know architecture was the right career for you?
  • Is coming from an undergrad business background beneficial in pursuing an MArch degree?
Thank you so much for reading this email. I truly appreciate the time you've given me to read and respond to my inquiries and curiosity during my period of uncertainty. I hope to hear from you soon and have a safe and happy new year! Take care.


Congrats on finding my blog on becoming an architect.  Below are some thoughts to get you started should you decide to pursue it further.

Where to start - As you are attending Temple, start by visiting the architecture program on your own campus.  Formally meet with faculty and students -- shadow some classes and consider taking a drawing course to start.  You also live in Philly, a great city for architecture -- get outside (when warmer) and look at the architecture.  Consider attending a summer program to jumpstart your interest.

Head - You are now over your head.  In fact, more and more students are like you - starting college in another major and discovering architecture.  You are not late.  Philip Johnson, one of the most famous 20th c. architects did not become one until the age of 39.

Right Career - You may never know for sure, but it is more than a job - it is a career and lifestyle.  That is why you should talk with current students at Temple -- visit Penn.

Business Background - It can be, but ultimately, the portfolio and your academics are probably most beneficial.

Consider obtaining the book, Becoming an Architect, 2nd Ed.

Best.  Do contact me with further questions.

Portfolio - How to Prepare

Hello Dr. Architecture:

I had written to you a year ago regarding a career shift from civil engineering to architecture. Now, I have realized that both fields are always in close integration and I have started to love both equally. I have also been attending architecture classes during regular lunch breaks. I am planning to pursue a graduate degree in architecture and I have to prepare a portfolio. I am quite clueless as to what to include in my portfolio. I would be extremely grateful if you could give me project statements or design questions to work on. I need your guidance. 

Thank you very much

The best source for the answer to your question is the graduate programs to which you are applying.  First, check their website for requirements, etc.  If you need more details, contact them directly.

Another source is the book - Portfolio Design and the website by the same name - both by Harold Linton.  Both the book and the website provides you some insight on the process of generating a portfolio.

As you shifting from CE to architecture, you would not be expected to include architectural work, but rather creative work of different media - drawing, painting, etc.