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The job market for architects is as good as it has ever been in the past 30+ years. Since founding Blueline in 2004, we’ve had the privilege of talking to many high school students exploring the profession. Here’s how to start the journey to joining one of the best professions.

Why Architecture?

Architecture spans a wide range of interests and expertise. There is the creative rush of putting a pen to a blank piece of paper. For problem and puzzle solvers there is the intricate interweaving of materials and systems. We meet people stymied by the complexity and risk of a building project, guide them through the myriad of decisions and choices, then witness their wonder as their building takes form.

Because architects see the big picture, foster collaboration, and think outside the box, we are uniquely equipped to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems. Whether it is climate change, affordable housing or new technology, architects lead in finding innovative solutions and opportunities.

Preparing for the Journey

Architecture requires a college degree. This can either be a graduate or undergraduate degree. But the preparation for studying architecture begins before you graduate from high school.

Most people assume that since there are significant technical components to architecture, it is logical to concentrate on math and science classes.  Others, seeing the artistic nature of design, assume art classes would be helpful.  There is value in having a solid foundation in both areas.

But much of architecture is listening to people, understanding their ambitions and anxieties, and gaining their confidence. Learning how to speak and write clearly is essential.  Literature, history, and philosophy can help you understand the cultural context that shapes a person’s tastes and decisions.

Travel is crucial. A person’s creative capacity is proportional to the number of places they’ve been and experiences they’ve had. And knowing another language makes travel even more impactful.

We’re big advocates for construction experience. Even if your summer job was simply using a shovel or a broom, being around construction sites help you understand the priorities and needs of the men and women who make our drawings real.

The more well-rounded your knowledge and experience, the more you’ll get from your college education and the more options you’ll have as you enter the workforce.

The Arc of a Career

Graduating from architecture school is only the beginning. Much of what you’ll need to know, you’ll learn on the job during the first several years of your career.  Look for a firm committed to mentoring and equipping you to take your architectural registration exam (ARE).  In your first three to five years, work for two or three different firms. Try big firms and small firms. Try firms that do different types of work. If the firm keeps you in front of the computer, go to job sites on your lunch break or weekends. Continue to read, travel and be curious.

Some of you may be content designing and creating construction documents. Others will be happiest working with contractors and being on the jobsite. Some of you will shine when you are in front of clients. You can manage, sell, or teach. The permutations are endless.

Blueline provides job shadowing for ambitious high school juniors and seniors. Our team comes from all over the world and would be happy to talk to you about starting this journey. Visit our website www.blueline.team. We’re happy to connect you with the right staff person to answer your questions and help prepare you for this rewarding profession.

Randy Seitz, AIA
President | Architect


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