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How to Be an Architect: Qualifications, Career Prospects & More

A combination of science and art, architecture is an interesting career choice, but not an easy one at all. Do you have what it takes? Find out how to become an architect here.

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How to Be an Architect in India

Architects design buildings, urban spaces, landscapes and even cities. A combination of art and science, architecture always appeals to young creative minds as a good career option. But getting admission in architecture and the process of becoming an architect is also often misunderstood.

In India, to become a professional architect, a student needs to take B.Com with maths or non-medical after 12th, and then take the architecture college entrance exam, NATA or JEE to get admission for B.Arch. B.Arch is a 5-year professional degree program in India for architecture.

B.Arch program is offered by many colleges all over India and includes a semester of internship and a semester of thesis. Graduating B.Arch makes you qualified to apply for a license in architecture, which you need in order to open your own firm or approve building designs for construction.

Contents: Jump to Section

1.1 Courses Taken
1.2 Entrance Exams
1.3 Academic Qualifications/ Options
1.4 License Required
1.5 Internship/ Work Experience Required
1.6 Cost of Tuition and Training
1.7 Competition
1.8 General Age to Start Professional Career for Architects
1.9 Governing Bodies
2.1 List of Careers in Architecture
2.2 Companies & Institutions That Employ Architects
2.3 Growth Prospects
2.4 Entrepreneurship Opportunities
2.5 Salary Range
3.1 Top Universities in India
3.2 Top Universities in World
3.3 Famous Personalities
3.4 Useful Links
bilbao guggenhein museum spain frank gehry building

Guggenhein Museum, Bilbao, Spain designed by architect Fank Gehry

1. Becoming an Architect: Architecture Career Requirements

1.1.1 Courses Taken at School

Science – physics, maths, chemistry + Local language + English

Architecture candidates may take Commerce or Science stream, but maths & English are compulsory. Some colleges accept only science students, so check their requirements.

1.1.2 Courses Taken at College

Architectural design, architectural drawing, computer modeling/ rendering softwares like AutoCAD & Photoshop, architectural graphics, structures, building construction, building materials, urban design, architectural photography.

First year has core subjects like architecture design, architecture drawing, graphics, computer-based design and building construction.

Second year onwards still have these core subjects in addition to electives you may choose, including photography, sculpture, interiors, urban design, etc.

1.2 Entrance Exams

NATA, JEE (for IITs)

1.3.1 Academic Qualifications/ Degree Required

B.Arch

Bachelor’s degree in architecture is 5 years long in most Indian colleges, longer than other professional degrees. It also requires thesis. A post-graduate degree (PG) will sometimes let you earn a higher salary, depending on your college or job.

1.3.2 Post-Graduate Degree Requirements/ Options

M.Arch, MS in Architecture/Urban Design/Planning, Ph.D or M.Des.

Master in architecture is the core masters degree option. Some students also diversify into other related fields by pursuing Master of Science or Master of Design in urban design, planning, technology, sustainability or interiors. Furthermore, you could even get a PhD, if teaching architecture is your dream.

1.4 License Required

License is required for private practice.

1.5 Internship/ Work Experience Required

6 month internship is a part of BArch program, which is required in the 4th year.

1.6 Cost of Tuition and Training

Tuition fees are very affordable in government colleges. Merit students get scholarships in certain colleges.

Tuition is comparatively higher in private institutions, but is still lower than medical or engineering schools.

1.7 Competition

College entrance exam is competitive for top colleges.

During your profession, certain geographic locations, especially developed ones, may have lots of competition for high paying jobs.

1.8 General Age to Start Professional Career for Architects

22

1.9 Governing Bodies

The Indian Institute of Architects (IIA)

United States Capitol building washington dc

United States Capitol building, Washington D.C.

2. Professional Opportunities/ Career Growth for Architects

2.1 List of Careers in Architecture

Urban Design, Landscape Design, Urban Planning, Sustainability Consultant, Building Services consultant, Project manager, 3D modeler/animator, Architectural technology consultant, Robotics specialist, Interior architect, Product designer

The world of architecture is full of sub-professions that a student can take up after college or even after a few years of experience. Some of the related fields are still designers, such as urban design, urban planning, interior design, facade design, product or lighting design.

Some other specializations require professionals to step away from designing roles, like consultancy in sustainability or building services. Project management is also an option, and technology, such as dealing with laser-cutting, 3D printers or robotics.

2.2 Companies & Institutions That Employ Architects

Large corporations, hospitals/clinics, healthcare, factories/ manufacturing, education, hospitality, real estate, teaching.

Most architects work in small or medium-sized architecture firms. However, joining a large corporation is also an option, such as a big technology or commerce company that builds lots of warehouses, offices, etc. Similarly, large chains of hotels, colleges, hospitals or factories may employ architects for their in-house design projects.

Real estate companies also employ architects for either small design projects like guest rooms, or large projects like housing, office campuses, townships, etc. Lastly, architecture schools employ architects as part or full-time professors.

2.3 Growth Prospects

Growth prospects depend on many factors like entrepreneurial skills, presentation/communication and networking abilities. Your proactive nature in taking up responsibility and hard-work also matter a lot.

Additionally, ability to collaborate with clients & different professionals like contractors, labor factors into success. Also, ability to responsibly follow bye-laws, high attention to detail are very important in determining success. Similarly, successful architects have leadership abilities and ability to work under stress.

2.4 Entrepreneurship Opportunities

Architects often start their own private practice, or architecture firm. Another option is to start a private real estate development company. Some architects also start a consulting firm that gives consultancy to building service companies, designers, institutions, media and research firms.

2.5 Salary Range

12K-35K per month for fresh graduates.

30K-1.2L per month for masters graduates with 2-4 yr experience.

infosys cafeteria chandigarh IT park building sketch shilpa ahuja

Infosys cafeteria, Chandigarh, IT Park sketch by Shilpa Ahuja

3. Further Resources

3.1 Top Architecture Colleges in India

JJ College of Architecture, SPA (School of Planning & Architecture), CCA (Chandigarh College of Achitecture), Rizvi, CEPT University (Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology), Jadavpur University.

3.2 Top Universities in World

Harvard University, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Columbia University, ETH Zurich, Bartlett, University of California Berkely, National University of Singapore.

3.3 Famous Personalities

Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Norman Foster, Santiago Calatrava, Walter Gropius.

3.4 Useful Links

Department of Architecture, SPA
Council of Architecture

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