How Long Does it Take to Become an Architect?

How Long Does it Take to Become an Architect?

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If you have been planning to become an architect and want to join an architecture school, you’ve probably wondered, “how long does it take to become an architect?”

Here, we’ll closely examine the various pathways to certification in different parts of the world. Then, we’ll look at how they compare against other regions of the world.

If you want to know how to become a professional architect and get your architect’s license, here are the best books for architects you ought to get and architecture scholarships you should consider.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Architect?

It’s no secret that a career in architecture requires a significant time commitment in terms of both classroom time and practical experience. However, the time it takes to get qualified differs from country to country, with minimum periods ranging from four to eight years, with some taking much longer than this.

If you’re hoping to become an architect and are debating whether to study abroad or stay at home, you should find out how long the process takes in your chosen country.

See how long it typically takes to obtain that degree in various countries worldwide and what steps you need to take (outside of attending school) to become a licensed architect.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Architect in the US?

The United States has one of the longest times to certification in the world for architects, so anyone thinking of making architecture their career should take a deep breath now. The quickest qualification period is eight years, but many students take longer, sometimes up to 12 years!

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics(BLS), a bachelor’s degree in architecture from one of the 122 schools recognized by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) is required in 35 states.

Architects checking on a design plan

The fastest and easiest way to become licensed is to complete a five-year Bachelor of Architecture program, often known as a B.Arch, then a three-year program of verified work experience (known as the AXP), and finally, the Architects’ Registration Exam (ARE). It takes over eight years and, as could be expected, is quite expensive.

It is possible to become an architect even if you majored in anything else as an undergraduate, though doing so would need a significant amount of extra time and effort. It would help if you had a Master of Architecture, or M.Arch., after your undergraduate degree, which is already four years.

Students with an undergraduate degree in a design-related discipline should expect this to last two to three years. Those with a degree in zoology or politics may be looking at a five-year commitment. In addition, you must complete your AXP and ARE, which will take you nine to twelve years in total.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Architect in Canada?

Architectural practicals

To become a fully licensed architect in Canada, you’ll need to study for around eight years. After that, students have two options: they can pursue a six-year Masters’ degree in architecture (the CACB approves 11 such programs), or they can earn an undergraduate degree in another field and then enroll in a three-year Masters-level conversion program in architecture.

The coursework for these degrees must be supplemented by a minimum of two years (3,720 hours) of internship experience under the guidance of an experienced professional.

No matter what path a young architect chooses, they will eventually have to take the ExAC (Examination for Architects in Canada) after finishing their education and internships. You can’t get your hands on a license without this.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Architect in the UK?

Architect design development

The minimum period to qualify is seven years in the United Kingdom, less than in the United States. In addition, to work as an architect in the United Kingdom, one must first complete three to four years of education at an accredited architectural school and at least one year of real-world experience.

After completing a postgraduate degree (M.Arch), which typically takes one and a half to two years, the student must complete an additional working year.

After that, and only then, the student is eligible to sit for the RIBA Part III test, the successful completion of which will provide the individual the right to use the initials “RIBA” after their name.

Suppose you hold a bachelor’s degree in something other than architecture. In that case, as is possible in the United States, you cannot “convert” to the field by enrolling in a master’s program and gaining experience. Instead, you’d have to go back to square one and earn a Bachelor of Architecture professional degree.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Architect in Australia?

To practice architecture in Australia, prospective professionals must first obtain the necessary accreditation.

It takes a minimum of five years of schooling, including a three-year undergraduate degree in architecture (often a Bachelor of Design in Architecture, Bachelor of Architecture, or a Bachelor of Architectural Studies) and a two-year Master of Architecture degree from a recognized institution.

Architectural design study group

A minimum of two years of professional experience in the architecture field is required. In addition, the Architectural Practice Examination, which is required as well, is given twice a year. A written paper, completing a logbook, and an interview with currently licensed architects make up this three-part competency evaluation.

Each Australian state and territory has its Architect Registration Board. You must register with the state’s architect registration board. Remember that you must register individually and that in some Australian states, you may also need to register the architecture company as an entity.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Architect in Switzerland?

If you want to become an architect in Switzerland, there are no strict rules or guidelines to follow. In other words, it is possible to start a career in architecture long before obtaining a professional license.

This is because the country does not require stringent licensing for this domain. Therefore, when students have mastered proper drafting procedures and are fully informed on Swiss building codes, they are ready to start working in the architecture industry.

But to become a member of the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (SIA), an architect must possess the necessary degrees, normally taking 5 years to complete.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Architect in China?

Architecture floor plan

Becoming an accredited architect is a lengthy process that requires dedication and study over several years. In China, earning a Bachelor of Architecture takes roughly 5 years, comparable to the time it takes to earn a Bachelor’s degree in other countries.

It takes four years to earn a pre-professional bachelor’s degree in any area of architecture.

It is mandatory to complete an internship too. In addition, all architecture students must pass an exam to get the required certification after completing their years of study.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Architect in Russia?

The entire study program lasts six years. However, suppose you lack the necessary proficiency in Russian, Artistic and Technical Drawing. In that case, you will be required to enroll in a one-year Preparatory Course before being admitted to the university.

After completing the 6-year curriculum, students are awarded the Master of Architecture degree and a professional diploma. In addition, a Bachelor’s Degree and diploma are awarded to successful students after four years of study.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Architect in Germany?

Person drafting an architectural design

In Germany and Austria, students can expect to spend five to six years on their academic studies (Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees). 

A German university of applied sciences requires a minimum of 3–4 years to complete the Bachelor’s degree program. In addition, it is required to have 6 months of practical experience working in an architectural practice.

In Germany, only people who have joined a local Chamber of Architects can call themselves architects legally.

The requirements for membership in the chamber are as follows: four years of formal architectural training, a degree from an accredited university, and substantial work experience under the supervision of a licensed architect.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Architect in Brazil?

Like other countries, Brazil’s 5-year course requires at least 6 months of practical experience as part of the degree.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Architect in France?

Architects in France are required to complete a 3-year degree, a 2-year diploma, and a year of professional practice.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Architect in Italy?

To pursue an architecture career in Italy, you need about 6 years.

This includes a 5-year architecture degree from an accredited university or polytechnic school, a professional internship during your studies, passing the State Examination for architects: 4 tests in total, and registration with one of the local Ordine Degli Architetti (Order of Architects).

How Long Does It Take to Become an Architect in Lebanon?

To be a certified architect in Lebanon, neither a formal exam nor prior professional experience is required. Instead, the requirements are quite straightforward: You must have studied architecture for five years and paid around $3,000 USD to become certified.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Architect in India?

After completing a five-year program in architecture in India, during which time they will spend at least one year in an intern development program, graduates are eligible to take the exam to become members of the Indian Council of Architecture.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Architect in Kenya?

Architecture materials

In Kenya, the Bachelor of Architecture degree is awarded after completing the 4-year Architectural Studies program.

You must work under a licensed architect for at least 18 months after graduating. The Board of Registration for Architects and Quantity Surveyors will require you to take a professional exam after that.

You then submit an application for an operating license after successfully finishing your exam. Once you’ve completed the requirements the Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) set forth and received your license; you’ll be eligible to apply for positions in local and international architecture firms.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Architect?- Other Countries

  • South Africa– A total of 7.5 years (5 years of school work, 2 years of internship, and a few months for the NCARB’s Architect Registration Examination (ARE)).
  • Mexico– A total of 5 years of school work.
  • Turkey– A total of 5 years of school work.
  • Hong Kong– A total of 7 years and some months (5 years of school work, 2 years of internship, and a few months for the mandatory registration examination).
  • Singapore– A total of 7 years and some months (5 years of school work, 2 years of internship, and a few months for the mandatory registration examination).
  • Ireland– A total of 7 years (5 years of school work and 2 years of internship).
  • Sri Lanka– A total of 7 years and some months (5 years of school work, 2 years of internship, and a few months for the mandatory registration examination).

Is Studying to Become an Architect Worth the Time and Effort?

In other words, is it worthwhile for architects to spend so much time researching if it means that buildings will operate properly and won’t contaminate the environment? Certainly.

Also, is it worthwhile for people to devote so much of their youth to a field that may not provide as lucrative a salary as medicine or law? Sadly, that’s a call that can only be made by the person concerned.

The truth is that most architects can afford a comfortable rather than lavish lifestyle on their architecture salaries.

Seven or eight years of student loan debt may feel like a burden for most of your professional life, but it’s also possible that any hardship will seem “worth it” when you spend each day doing what you love. Asking for the opinions of several experienced architects is a good idea.


There are several factors to consider before settling on an architectural profession, such as: Where should I go to school? Should I enroll at a nearby university or go abroad to study? How much money would I make if I were a residential architect or specialized in another field?

Where can I get the best architecture scholarships? In what time frame will I be able to start constructing things on my own? Ultimately, all it takes to become an architect is approximately five years of university and some experience in the field.

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About the author

Jacky Chou

Jacky Chou is an electrical engineer turned marketer. He is the founder of Indexsy, Far & Away, Laurel & Wolf, a couple FBA businesses , and about 40 affiliate sites. He is a proud native of Vancouver, BC, who has been featured on, Forbes, Oberlo and GoDaddy.