While the pathway that leads to becoming a licensed architect in Colorado is a long road, it is a road that has been traveled by many before you. I say this because just about anything that requires a long-term process can scare people away from pursuing it right at the outset.
With that being said, becoming a licensed professional architect in Colorado is possible, but it will take some time. In large part, the pathway will not be difficult for those who prioritize this pursuit over some of the other pleasures in their life.
You may need to watch less TV or spend less time doing recreational activities. Oftentimes this is where becoming an architect will find its difficulties, as the pleasures of life war against the pursuit of an education and a career.
I write that preface to prepare you for the following statement: It could take as many as 12 years to become a licensed professional architect in Colorado. There are a number of hoops to jump through along the way, but you will be making money long before this time.
The following is a quick list of the steps to becoming a licensed architect in the state of Colorado:
• Graduate high school or earn a GED
• Earn a degree
• Become an architectural intern
• Join the architectural experience program
• Take and pass the architect registration examination
• Become a licensed architect
Why don’t we take a look at each of these steps in depth?
Graduate high school or earn a GED
This may be a given for anyone reading this article. Nevertheless, there are many out there who have not yet graduated from high school or earned their GED. This will be a necessary step for you if you find yourself here.
Earn a degree
If you have already graduated high school or earned your GED, there are two paths that you can travel to receive a license in Colorado. First, you can gain 10 years of experience to forgo having any sort of higher education degree.
While this option may sound appealing at the outset, it is important for you to know that state licensure regulations vary from state to state. There is more leniency in Colorado than in some of the other states.
What I mean by this is that, if you do not have a college degree of any kind, you may not be able to transfer your architectural license to another state. Be that as it may, this may still be a good path for you to travel, but you must count the cost prior to your choosing which road to walk.
The other path consists of earning a degree. This can be done in a number of ways and spans from anything such as an AA architectural degree to an AA non-architectural degree to a BS in architectural design over to a BS in any field of study.
The degrees with which you can enter into the field are many. Nevertheless, the degree you choose will have an impact on your future. For instance, if you have a 4-year related degree, you will need to gain 7 years of experience. If you have a 4-year non-related degree, you will need to gain 8 years of experience.
Along with this, another important factor is enrolling in a NAAB accredited school. While this is not a need in Colorado, it is in some other states and could prove to be beneficial in your future. But have no fear: if you have already chosen a different path, you can still move forward in Colorado.
Become an architectural intern
After you receive your degree, it is time for you to gain some experience—research different architectural firms in Colorado. Put together a list of ones that interest you and are good prospects.
Finally, create well-written, specific resumes for each of the various firms in order to stand out, so they will want you to join them as an intern.
Join the architectural experience program
It is in this program that you will be guided through your needed hours of experience. This program will help you document your hours through various areas such as project management, project planning/design, and construction/evaluation.
To complete this portion, you will need to have 3,740 hours of experience recorded.
Take and pass the architect registration examination
You could, if you would like, start on this exam prior to finishing the architectural experience program. During this time, you will be tested on your understanding of the practices of architecture.
The test has two primary focuses. First, you will be tested on your knowledge of practices concerning the overall process that takes place in constructing a building (i.e., stability, soundness, and health of a building). Second, you will be tested on how to successfully conduct your work within a firm.
Become a licensed architect
The last step is to pay for and apply for a license. If you have completed the above steps, paying close attention to your degree choice and needed hours of experience, you can take the final exam.