Basics of Online Architecture Degrees

A GLIMPSE INTO THE REALM OF AN ONLINE ARCHITECTURE DEGREE

The structures around us have mostly emerged from a design plan that were imagined through a series of drafting phases. From houses and parks to factories and skyscrapers, architects may work broadly as designers or have a specific focus in the planning they are hired to undertake. Still, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the steps for an architect to build a structure are similar for many construction projects: the architect meets with a client during which they make cost estimates, then they begin to outline what is needed to build the design and often delegate the preliminary sketches and budgeting of the design to a team. After this preliminary stage, architects usually get to work on drawings using computer software (or sometimes sketching by hand) to make scaled design plans that are shown to clients. Architects are often familiar with making contracts and managing the workflow of a team. This may mean visiting work sites to ensure designs are being properly constructed and presenting to clients on the progress of the project, so strong communication skills may be a necessary feature for holding this job. If architecture sounds like the right field for you, you can take architecture classes online to begin to develop such skills!

While the field of architecture is growing at a 4% rate, which is slower than average, there are speciality positions within the discipline for those who want to work in the field, such as architecture drafters, architecture teachers, architectural engineering managers, landscape architects, and civil engineers. Tasks for these jobs may call upon knowledge and skills like critical thinking, mathematics, construction, engineering,  and technology, and design. Typically, an architect holds at least a bachelor’s degree, but there are a variety of degree seeking opportunities online for those with an interest in studying architecture: an online bachelor of architecture degree, an online masters in architecture, and other certificate programs developed by architecture schools online.

A typical architect holds a Bachelor’s in Architecture degree which often takes around five years to complete while an advanced degree would add an additional one to five years of study to this academic track. With over one hundred accredited schools with various specialities, there are many paths to study online in architecture. Many students undertake internships at an architectural firm concurrently with their degree or after completion. There are usually a series of licensing exams required of a candidate before they can work independently as an architect which vary by state and may need to be renewed throughout one’s career.

During an Online Degree Program in Architecture, What Classes Might I Take?

Whether you are pursuing a bachelor’s online or an advanced degree, by taking architecture classes online you may be exposed to the various elements of architecture. Since architects, managers, and drafters often rely on (CAD) equipment software, an online course in architecture usually trains students in fluency in computer drafting programs. Architects also need to understand building codes and zoning laws, so coursework to familiarize students with these technical documents and requirements is key. There may even be classes to develop students drawing skills and other artistic abilities as architects often have a keen sense of spatial design. You may study interior architecture, marine design, or historic preservation. 

As negotiation and contracting are essential to the success and funding of most projects, coursework in economics and business may also be offered during the course of the degree. Sometimes there is a focus on the ethics of the profession and how to design environmentally conscious structure and ones that take into consideration the needs of a community.

Is an Online Architecture Degree PROGRAM FOR YOU?

Here is a sampling of what may be offered in bachelor of architecture degree or master’s of architecture program:

  • Sustainable Systems
  • Architecture Studio
  • Building Systems
  • Project Management
  • Detailing/Construction
  • Energy & Systems
  • Global Traditions

The architectural portfolios often developed during the course of an architecture program may be helpful in pursuing a job after graduation or finding the right internship to advance your design and career goals.

Architecture CAREER PATHS AND POTENTIAL SALARIES

Your salary as an architect is largely decided by your level of education, your experience in the industry and your skill. Architects with bigger projects and greater responsibilities are typically paid more, but are expected to have tremendous expertise. Moreover, jobs related to architecture are largely affected by the same criteria. Consider the following careers, with statistics compiled by the BLS in 2016.

Architects i

Architects spend much of their time in offices, where they develop plans, meet with clients, and consult with engineers and other architects. They also visit construction sites to prepare initial drawings and review the progress of projects to ensure that clients’ objectives are met.

  • Median Salary: $78,470 per year 
  • Job growth through 2026: 4%  (Slower than average)
  • Typical Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Civil Engineers ii

Civil engineers conceive, design, build, supervise, operate, construct, and maintain infrastructure projects and systems in the public and private sector, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment.

  • Median Salary: $84,770 per year 
  • Job growth through 2026: 11%  (Faster than average)
  • Typical Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Construction Managers iii

Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from start to finish. They can spend most of their time working out of a field office at a construction site, where they monitor the project and make daily decisions about construction activities.

  • Median Salary: $91,370 per year 
  • Job growth through 2026: 11%  (Faster than average)
  • Typical Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

Other Career Options

Drafters: $54,170 / Job Growth - 7% (average) / Average Degree Held - Associate’s degree iv

Construction Managers: $91,370 / Job Growth - 11% (faster than average) / Average Degree Held - Bachelor’s degree v

ADDITIONAL SKILLS REQUIRED FOR A CAREER IN ARCHITECTURE

A mastery of architecture is achieved through a delicate mixture of artistic, intellectual and technical prowess. Professionals must be able to think conceptually about big projects while solving a flurry of more practical issues - all the while considering the aesthetics of their creations and the impact a structure will have on its environment. Moreover, a thorough understanding of the industry's latest tools and rich history is necessary to achieve at a high level.

(i) bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/architects.htm | (ii)bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineers.htm | (iii) bls.gov/ooh/management/construction-managers.htm (iv) bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/drafters.htm (v) bls.gov/ooh/management/construction-managers.htm