What are an architect’s qualifications?

Updated: Dec 20, 2019

So many people are confused about what is the value of an architect and what exactly does an architect do?


Let’s start with an Architect’s Education. An architect begins their education by studying architecture from an accredited program for 5-8 years at a University depending on the program. Once they receive a degree, an internship program is required that usually consists of another 3-5 years or 5600 qualified hours. Then the candidate takes a 7-9 part exam depending on the State they live in. When I took the exam the total testing hours equaled about 32 hours, so it is not something you can take all at once. Once education, internship and testing is completed a candidate receives their license to practice architecture and can finally call themselves an architect.


A lot of people think that an architect’s job is to draw pretty pictures of a building idea or create some “plans” for the builder. Although those are things an architect does, there are many other aspects to an architect’s job.


Architects study materials and methods of construction to help clients save money on the cost of construction and long term use. The architect’s documents include drawings and also specifications, written communications, and other supporting documents that instruct the builder on how to construct the building in a manner that complies with all of the client’s requirements and municipal codes and regulations.


The atmosphere of receiving municipal approvals in many regions and especially in my region, Silicon Valley, can be difficult to navigate without the expertise and experience of a licensed architect. An architect spends much of their time negotiating and applying the rules and regulations specific to the project location and will assist their client in providing the best solution specific to the site location. This will streamline the approval and permitting process.


An architect has an important responsibility and accountability to protect the “health, safety and welfare” (as stated by the State of California) of individuals in their use of the built environment. Architects are agents of their clients and are the key component in protecting a client’s resources. It’s also very important for an architect to be a creative problem solver, an adept communicator, and a gracious listener. These skills are important in helping a client take their ideas, needs and goals (words) and translating them into the 3-dimensional spaces that fulfill those requirements.


This translation from verbal communication to a physical structure is why I chose the slogan, “Realize Your Vision,” as the slogan for my design firm. Be it architecture or art, my team and I are available to assist you.


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