Monday, June 30, 2014

Healthcare to architecture/construction

I want to start a new career in the field of construction and architecture but my background is in healthcare (MD) in the UK. Having already spent many years in school I have been looking for a role in construction administration assistant / assistant to architect to gain some work experience and be sure of my path before enrolling for something like a graduate masters degree in Architecture. 

I wonder if you can suggest any other resources for getting into a career in this field? Where can I start to gain the skills required for these roles (e.g. building design software and basics in construction, building codes)? 


My direct expertise is in the process of becoming an architect so I am not sure how much assistance I can be for entering either construction administration or assistant to the architect.

With that said, I would do an assessment of your skills that would be transferable to the field of architecture and construction.  As for developing direct skills needed, you may consider returning to education.  For the specific software, there are a few online training website - and black spectacles.

I cannot speak for the UK, but aspiring architects in the U.S. must participate in IDP - Intern Development Program which is the experience component of becoming an architect.  One resource is the Emerging Professionals Companion - -- It is a great resource to learn what is needed to become an architect.

I would also contact professional associations in the field - RIBA in the UK or the AIA in the US.

I hope this is a start for you - BEST.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Architects and Beyond: Career Opportunities Abound

Architects and Beyond: Career Opportunities Abound

This past Friday, my colleagues and I (see below) presented on the topic of careers beyond architecture at the AIA Convention in Chicago.  From all accounts, it was a success.  Attendance was almost 200 attendees.  After a brief introduction to the topic, each of my colleagues presented on their own career paths in architecture and beyond.  Afterwards, we let the audience do the same in small groups.

After additional information and resources, we opened up the session to comments; it was a healthy conversation that all agreed that a degree in architecture was good preparation on a number of career paths in the discipline and beyond.

Session Description:
Architects and Beyond: Career Opportunities Abound will provide insight on the myriad of career paths one with an architectural education can pursue.  Learn directly from others in careers beyond traditional practice and apply what you learn to you own career path.

Alan Brangman, Lee Waldrep, Ashley Clark, Megan Chusid

Too late!

It's not uncommon for people to make career changes late in life, but pursuing a career in architecture at my advanced age might not be practical. I'm 53. I've spent my career as a graphic designer and advertising copywriter, but I desperately need a change and architecture has always interested me.

Am I crazy? What sort of realistic time frame am I looking at? Are there lower level positions, such as draftsman, that I could get into more quickly and begin earning a living in the field? Any advice and/or additional references would be appreciated.


First, as one who helps students/individuals pursue their "dreams," I say it is never too late.  With that said, pursuing the path to become an architect is a long road.

Assuming you already had a college degree, albeit it in another discipline, the Master of Architecture will be 3-4 years. Afterwards, you must complete IDP - Intern Development Program, the experience portion of becoming an architect that requires 5600 hours working under the supervision of an architect; on average, graduates take between 3-5 years to complete.  Once you have education and experience are able to take the ARE Architect Registration Exam; again it takes on average between 1-3 years to take and pass the 7-part exam.

Thus, it could take from 7 - 10 years before you are a licensed exam.  You might say that becoming an architect in 10 years is too old, but do know that Philip Johnson, one of the most influential architects of the 20th century became an architect at 39 years old and practiced until his death at 93 years old.

As you suggest, there may be many employment opportunities within the building industry that you could do sooner and be satisfying.  In fact, many larger firms may have graphic designers on staff.  

You must also look at why you need a change.

As for references, visit and obtain a copy of Becoming an Architect, 3rd Ed.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

NAAB and Becoming an Architet

Dr. Architecture:

I have a few questions in mind. I am a little perplexed when my parents ask me what I want to become. I want to become an architect. The only problem is that I dont know which college or university to take admission in. I reside in India,and I study in class 12. I read about this in NAAB. I wanted to know what is it about and which colleges in Asia are registered with it..

Thank you

First, congrats on your pursuit of becoming an architect.  

Next, NAAB is the National Architectural Accrediting Board -- (  As you can read from their website, they accredit architecture programs in the U.S.  In addition, they maintain a list of accredited programs with websites for you to research.

Unfortunately, they do NOT accredit programs outside the U.S.

An additional resource for you is Becoming an Architect, 3rd ed. -- Again, it is written for becoming an architect in the U.S., but it may still be useful.

Becoming an Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design - 3rd Edition


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Neuroscience to Architecture - Path?

I have a bachelor of science degree in neuroscience and I wanted to know if it was possible to pursue a masters in architecture with that degree. Would I have to go back to finish undergraduate coursework or can I jump? 

As you have the equivalent of an undergraduate degree (BA or BS), you may directly pursue a Master of Architecture (typically 3-4 years) for those that have a degree in another discipline. I do not have an exact number, but about 50-60 institutions offer such a degree in the U.S.

NAAB is the National Architectural Accrediting Board -- They accredit architecture programs.