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Architecture Careers

Looking ahead to a career in the profession?
An architectural education is a broadly based learning experience that emphasizes creative problem solving. This educational background provides a wide range of applications with many employment opportunities and options.

Architects and Their Innovative Roles in Society

People need places in which to live, work, play, learn, worship, meet, govern, shop, and eat: private and public spaces, indoors and out; rooms, buildings and complexes; neighborhoods and towns, suburbs and cities.

Architects transform these needs into concepts (ideas) and then develop the concepts into building images that can be constructed by others. Whether the project is a room or a city, a new building or the renovation of an old one, architects provide the professional services – ideas and insights, design and technical knowledge, drawings and specifications, administration, coordination, and informed decision making – that balance an extraordinary range of functional, aesthetic, technological, economic, human, environmental, and safety factors into a coherent and appropriate solution.

Architectural Engineers and Their Creative Focus

Architectural engineering differs from architectural design in its focus upon the design of elements, systems and components for buildings, rather than the buildings themselves. In a similar fashion, architectural engineering differs from more conventional engineering disciplines, such as civil or mechanical engineering, in its detailed focus upon the design of technical aspects of buildings used for human occupation.

Architectural engineering graduates from OSU work closely with architects and clients in the detailed design of the structural systems of a building.

Becoming an Architect or Architectural Engineer

Architecture is a profession requiring long and intensive preparation. This typically includes five to six years of academic preparation followed by a three-year internship period and culminating in a rigorous state licensing examination. Licensure ensures that aspiring architects are capable of protecting the public’s health, safety and welfare.

The road to becoming an architectural engineer is similar to that of an architect: five years of academic preparation followed by four years of professional experience. In addition two professional exams must be passed; the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (which can be taken while the candidate is still in school) and a culminating licensing exam taken after a candidate finishes his or her education and experience.

After licensure, an architect’s or architectural engineer’s education continues: as technology continues to evolve and expand; as the needs and focus of society change; and as each new project is unique to a time and place. This ever-changing aspect of the profession contributes greatly to making an architectural career one that provides life-long creative challenges, great excitement, and personal reward.

Rewards and Satisfaction from Careers in Architecture

When architectural professionals talk about their careers, they often speak of the personal and professional rewards of their profession. Architects often talk about the excitement of seeing a design idea become a reality. They will describe their work as "stimulating", "creative", "rich and varied", and "challenging". All of these rewards are a result of contributing to the quality of life and betterment of mankind through the improvement of their communities.

Traditionally, graduates from OSU are highly competitive when entering the job market and often command higher than average salaries. Employers frequently comment on the work ethic and basic capabilities of our graduates and request that more graduates are directed their way in the future.

Aptitudes which are Necessary for Success in Architecture

As both an Art and a Science, the aptitudes necessary for success are quite varied. On the artistic side, the ability to "see" and to "compose" both two-dimensionally and three-dimensionally, as well as to express those compositions both graphically and in model form, are of vital importance. The analytical training in mathematics and the sciences also contribute essential thinking abilities for problem solving required of architects and architectural engineers. In addition, the ability to read, write and speak effectively, the ability to store and recall information or ideas, and the ability to organize and synthesize concepts are all necessary for these professions.

High school students should plan a college preparatory program strong in English, history, social studies, mathematics, the sciences (especially physics), and foreign languages. Other courses which are helpful, but not necessary for initial enrollment, are courses in art (freehand drawing skills are more important than drafting skills), computer sciences and business.

What to Expect From an Architectural Education

Architecture and architectural engineering programs vary significantly in focus and priority, as well as in length. However, they all have one thing in common – they are very intensive and demanding, often requiring many hours of late-night effort. Admission to most schools is very competitive, and will be strongly influenced by your high school grades, class rank, aptitudes and achievement scores.

There are over one hundred accredited schools of architecture and fifteen accredited programs of architectural engineering in North America. If your goal is to become an architect or architectural engineer, in the vast majority of states, including Oklahoma, you must receive a professional degree from an accredited program. Accreditation procedures used nationally will verify that a school has met a certain set of basic educational requirements that are deemed essential by the profession.

To become licensed as an architect, in the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure.

NAAB Accreditation Information

Educational Goals That One Should Anticipate

There is one goal above all else at Oklahoma State University’s School of Architecture; to provide an excellent, directed education for those who wish to be practicing architects and architectural engineers. As a school, we have chosen to emphasize private practice as our educational focus. This educational philosophy allows the School to focus its resources to match the career goals of the vast majority of its students at a level of excellence not otherwise achievable. The School also seeks to educate those who will practice in professions that will change significantly during the careers of its practitioners. The professional degrees, therefore, are seen not as ends in themselves, but rather as strong foundations for a life-long process of professional growth.

Degree Programs Offered by the OSU School of Architecture

The OSU School of Architecture offers five-year bachelor’s degree programs in architecture and architectural engineering.

Important Conclusions about OSU's School of Architecture

The School of Architecture continues to emphasize academic excellence and rigor in its two professional programs to fully prepare students for entering the private practice of architecture and architectural engineering. This longstanding tradition of the School is especially evident in the quality and creativity of student work, the many employment opportunities of our graduates, and their continuing success.

Often described by others on campus as the most demanding curriculum at OSU, the architecture students themselves, as well as our alumni, will attest to the basic virtues of hard work, intellectual discipline, and commitment to a lifelong professional endeavor. Just as the official Oklahoma motto states: "Labor Omnia Vincit" (Labor conquers all things), the School of Architecture believes strongly in the fundamental values which help young people to become successful in their chosen career.

It is a basic thrust of our programs that the students develop self-motivation and dedication to a goal, and that the outstanding faculty with whom they work provide the intellectual support, professional expertise, and individual encouragement to each student in order to fulfill their educational needs prior to entering the competitive work place in architecture. It is significant perhaps that the students in the School of Architecture take great pride in the work they do, have confidence in their future, and consider OSU the only place they want to study in order to begin their professional careers in architecture and architectural engineering.

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