Architecture colleges and universities offer a variety of certificate and degree programs for those aspiring to work in the field. The process of selecting a school can be daunting without the proper tools to evaluate the offerings of architecture colleges. First and foremost, students should have a realistic and focused understanding of both their area of focus within the field, and the amount of expenditures that the various program types require with regard to time and finance.

Non-Professional Architecture College Programs

Students looking for the fast track into an architecture setting, without the requirements of licensure often benefit from the non-professional track. Community colleges, technical schools and online schools offer several architecture-related certificate programs or Associates Degree programs for those interested in learning a specific skill-set, like drafting or construction. These programs have a great variety in focus, so it is important to enter into them with a strong sense of the role you want to play in the field of architecture.

Pre-Professional Architecture University Programs

Many colleges offer a pre-professional degree in architecture. These four-year Bachelors Degree programs are not accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), but can often be coupled with a two to three-year Masters program in order to secure eligibility to sit for the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). If students are not looking to acquire licensure, these programs offer opportunity in architecture related fields, much like the non-professional programs.

Professional Architecture College Programs

Architecture colleges and universities offering NAAB accredited Bachelors and Masters Degree programs are considered professional degree programs. These programs are intended for students who are committed to gaining licensure to work as a practicing architect, preparing to sit for the ARE. Most commonly, students opt for architecture universities offering a five year Bachelors of Architecture Degree. However, if a student has already completed their Bachelors degree at either a pre-professional program, or in another field entirely, they often pursue a Master of Architecture degree, which typically takes two to three years to complete.

Tips for Choosing an Architecture College

Since there are a mind-boggling number of colleges and program types to choose from, it is highly recommended that prospective students do their research. Visiting schools, following the careers of recent graduates, and talking to architects within your community will greatly improve your understanding of specific programs, their strengths and their weaknesses. With technological advancements and Computer Aided Design changing the field of architecture at a fierce pace, knowing how the institution of your choosing performs in this category is essential. Also, being realistic about the cost of attending architecture college, as well your ability to meet enrollment criteria, will simplify the process.