In order to become a licensed architect it is required that one first acquire a Bachelors or Masters of Architecture, and then complete an internship with an architectural firm, simply to be able to sit for the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). So, for those hopeful of designing the next building icon, it is time to hit the books.

Bachelors of Architecture Degree

When looking for the right architecture school in which to enroll, it is imperative that you delineate the difference between pre-professional Bachelor's Degrees and professional Bachelor's Degrees. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) does not accredit pre-professional degree programs. These programs are often four years in length and intended to track students into a two to three year Master's program in order to be eligible to take the ARE. Professional Bachelor's Degree programs are generally accredited by the NAAB and take 5 years to complete, noting that some institutions offer this five-year program resulting in a Master's Degree. Graduates of this program will be qualified to sit for the ARE; however, they are not qualified to teach architecture at the college level. Accreditation is an essential component of any degree program and applicants should verify every school's credentials before committing to a program. Accredited Bachelor's Degree programs will require 150 semester credit hours, fort-five of which will be in general education requirements.

Master's of Architecture Degree

Master's Degree programs generally take between two and three and a half years to complete, based on the undergraduate experience of the student. Students with pre-professional degrees in the field of architecture usually opt to enroll in a two-year program of study. Longer programs are designed for students who completed their undergraduate degree in another area of study. Regardless of the Master's Degree program you choose, students will be required to present a thesis in order to complete their course of study. Applicants should still exercise caution when looking for the right program, as not all Master's of Architecture degrees are accredited by the NAAB. Graduates of these programs are eligible not only to sit for the ARE, but also to teach architecture at an advanced level.

Online Degrees in Architecture

Acquiring a degree in architecture online is a complicated endeavor. While there are a plethora of online courses and educational outlets available, most online degree programs are not accredited by the NAAB, and if they are, they are not offered fully online. However, the exception has proven the rule. In a partnership between Athabasca University and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, a fully accredited program is leading the charge in online architecture study. This program, and those that follow suit, requires students to complete coursework and work under the supervision of a local registered architect.