Careers in Architecture

Environmental Design Careers
Environmental design practitioners evaluate and manage land and resources for residential, commercial, institutional, and recreational purposes.

  • They understand of how transportation systems, industry, public facilities, and cultural and recreational sites mesh together to serve populations, protect the environment, and support economic trends.
  • They have the versatility to succeed in a variety of fields, including urban planning, community design, environmental affairs, real estate, law, local government, and not-for-profit organizations.

For more information about our bachelor’s degree in architecture, contact James "Rod" Underwood, undergraduate program director, 765-730-2301.

Architecture Professional Careers
Architects design buildings and the spaces around them that people use and enjoy.

  • They creatively combine design skills with technical knowledge to achieve sustainable, accommodating, safe, beautiful, and economically beneficial built environments where people work and dwell.
  • Through effective and collaborative processes, architects develop projects that promote stability for the long term while ensuring changeability in response to new social and technological realities.
  • Professionals in this field are concerned with social issues, societal well-being, and the human condition while also preserving and respecting the natural environment. Architecture can protect groups or individuals, influence or reflect society, impart character or emotion, and represent values, priorities, or ideals.

Types of Projects
Architects are involved with many kinds of organizations and in a broad spectrum of activities across a range of scales, from furniture and interior spaces to buildings and urban design.

  • Projects may involve new construction or the adaptation of an old building for a new use.
  • Many architects specialize in areas such as medical or educational facilities, historic preservation, retail, or high-rise design. Some firms are involved in real estate development and construction, or a more recent form of practice known as design/build.

Project Roles
A traditional architectural practice provides a full range of services for the planning, design, and administration of construction projects. The architect must be a mission-directed decision maker and a communicator who uses programs, concepts, and images to link the user, client, or public with the builders, contractors, and other construction trades people.

  • Some architects specialize within offices as project managers, marketing experts, specification writers, or designers. Computer-aided design (CAD) skills are very much in demand.
  • Architects rely on available media and technology and on the ability to synthesize from a variety of disciplines, including planning, business and economics, landscape architecture, historic preservation, interior design, natural sciences, engineering, physics, and chemistry.
  • Concern for a sustainable environment is continually forging new linkages that encourage architects to take on leadership roles in multidisciplinary teams.

Job Opportunities

  • About two-thirds of the licensed architects in the United States are in private practice.
  • Others are employed by corporations, institutions, government agencies, colleges and universities, and other organizations.
  • Some pursue teaching or research careers.
  • Not only does an architectural education lead to work as a licensed architect, it also provides a good background to enter fields such as architectural journalism; real estate development; graphic, interior, or industrial design; engineering; or construction. Some architecture graduates get involved in television and theater or work with architectural product and material manufacturers.

Becoming a Professional
Becoming a licensed architect requires three primary steps:

  • Obtain a first professional degree from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Most states require aspiring architects to hold an accredited degree.
  • Complete an internship, a training period that typically lasts three years. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) established the Intern Development Program, which standardizes intern training.
  • Pass the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), administered by the NCARB. This four-day exam covers site, building, and structural design, building systems, materials, and practice-related issues. Interns who pass the ARE become licensed as professionals in building design to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. Note: AIA membership requires a program of continuing education.

For more information about our architecture degrees, contact Andrea Swartz.

Department of Architecture
Architecture Building (AB), Room 402
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

Phone: 765-285-1900
Fax: 765-285-1765