Architects 101: How to Become One Yourself

engineers collaborating

So, you want to be an architect huh? Well, this sure is a tough road to tread but what awaits on the other side is certainly rewarding.

Since you’re aspiring to become one, I assume that you have a God-given talent for art.

You’re probably an artist or at least someone who’s quite passionate about art. After all, architecture is a great blend of art and profit.

Sure, it’s more technical than your usual expressive art but it’s still a great way to hone your creativity without being broke.

In fact, many graduates of this field go on to become successful money-makers, earning enough to build their own dream houses as well.

But as I said, if you want to go down this road, you better be prepared for it because it sure isn’t going to be easy.

So, how do you become one anyway? Well, here’s a step-by-step process on how you can get your career as an architect off the ground:

Take An Undergraduate Course (NAAB Architecture Degree)

undergraduate course

Well, duh. You can’t just up and say that you want to be an architect. You still have to work for it.

So first things first, you have to learn how to be one. A degree in this discipline would definitely hoister you through the ladder rather than taking a general arts course (read more). Don’t worry, though.

You may love art so much and you want to tap into the more creative side of things. You will get to that even in an NAAB course.

There will be minor subjects on drawing and painting perspectives so I’m pretty sure you will still enjoy yourself.

Apply To An Internship or Apprenticeship Program


Completing the 4 to 5-year course (assuming you complete the program without interruption or setbacks) is only the first of your problems, really. The real fun starts after.

When you’re in university, studying for exams while still managing to maintain a healthy social life may be the biggest of your worries. 

After university, you’ll find yourself plagued by even more problems – how to jumpstart your career, how to build connections, how to get your first client, etc.

Basically, you’d be worried about how you can make something of yourself.

As a beginner and clearly without any previous experience with actual projects, it would be difficult to sell yourself. This is why, at first, you may want to consider selling yourself for free – or at best, for a minimal fee.

Here’s a nugget for thought:

Many firms may be open to internships or apprenticeships. As a fresh nut, you may want to take advantage of such offers to gain the experience.

You’d probably get an allowance or free meals but don’t expect to earn too much during this stage.

You’ll only end up being disappointed. Instead, focus on gathering Intel, learning the processes, and getting techniques.

You may also want to make use of this time to build connections – colleagues, potential clients, etc. 

After this, you should also join the Architectural Experience Program to earn more experience points. 

Pass The Board Examinations

board examination

Yes, you may apply for apprenticeship without having to take the Architect Registration Exam first.

But before you can call yourself a bona fide architect and add that “Ar.” before your name, you have to get your license.

The board exam for architects is particularly challenge because there is a knowledge test (your typical multiple choice exam) and an application or hands-on exam.

You need to get satisfactory scores in both types of exams in order to pass.

On the bright side, after you pass this stage, the worst of the storm is over and you can now focus on growing your client base.

I suggest starting with small projects, building experience, and working your way up.

After all, nothing good ever comes from cutting corners. Learn from successful architectural firms like Superdraft.

You have to be rigid and dedicated about the whole process of learning. It will pay off in the end. 

Speaking of learning, it doesn’t stop after you get that “Ar.” in your name.

You have to keep on updating yourself about the latest and greatest in the field of Architecture by attending seminars and professional trainings.

Nobody likes an obsolete designer, after all. You should always be on top of your game.