Can you become an architect without a degree?

Architect Vs. Engineer

In this article, we will see the answer to your question ‘Can you become an architect without a degree?’.


Depending on the country that you are living in the laws would decide whether anyone can become an architect without a degree or not. But, there is nothing to worry about because if you are in the US then there might be a chance of becoming an architect without a degree. 

One must earn an NCARB certificate in countries like the United States to become an architect officially. Once you get or earn the NCARB certificate you can expedite reciprocity. 

But, getting into NCARB might not be easy for some because there are some requirements or criteria that need to be met first. The four requirements for the NCARB certification are as the following:


Candidates without an architect degree should have or hold an architect degree that should be accredited by either NAAB or CACB. However, if you do not hold a degree then visit the website here:


One must complete the AXP program. AXP is the abbreviated form of the Architectural Experience Program. 


Candidates need to pass the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). It is important because if the candidate fails then he will not be issued the certificate. 


Some registration is required and then you can hold the license to practice architecture. The license that you will be getting will be from the US registration board. 

Even if you do not have an architect degree you can apply for this certification and pass all the examinations. But, one must have at least nine years of work experience to apply themselves for the certificate. 

In India, the laws of becoming an architect are quite different than in the USA. The Supreme court has declared that unlike doctors and lawyers architects do not need to have a professional degree. Even if they have a professional degree in architecture they do not need to register themselves on the Architects Act. 

Similarly, there will be different rules and laws for different countries. If you are not from the US or India then you need to find out what laws your Government has for working as a professional architect without a professional degree. 

However, to be on the safer side one should have a professional degree so that later on it becomes easier for you. This is why you should try to complete an architecture course from a reputed college/university and earn a degree. 

Steps to become an architect with degree

  • One must earn a bachelor’s degree as a basic requirement to become an architect in the US.
  • Working as an intern for some company while they are pursuing their bachelor’s course.
  • Earn a license 
  • Candidates should apply for an architect position
  • One can earn professional certificates to add value to their degree.
  • One can also opt for a master’s degree to widen their knowledge of architecture.

The above steps are for those people who hold an architect degree either a bachelor’s degree or a professional degree. One thing that is common for becoming an architect whether that person holds a degree or not is experience. 

Even if you do not hold a degree you must have the proper knowledge and you must have work experience. Those who want to become an architect without a degree should contact the NCARB department in the US. 

NCARB’s certification for architects without a degree

NCARB is a non-profit organization that might help you become an architect without a professional degree. To work one has to earn an NCARB certificate. With the help of NCARB architects without a professional degree can earn a certificate. 

NCARB has come up with an alternative solution for those people who do not have a professional degree in architecture. NCARB has come up with a new type of program that comes with a multi-year effort. 

Candidates can visit the official website to know more about the alternative solution. You can visit the website here: to know more about earning a certificate from NCARB. 

Architect Internships In The USA

To become an architect one must have several years of experience and to gain that experience one should work as an intern. Plenty of opportunities in the United States are created each year for fresh candidates to apply.

The candidates need to learn and gain experience about the work while working as an intern. Internships matter a lot when you want to apply for the post of an architect later on. During your internship program, you might earn little but you should gain a lot of experience out of it. 

Professional architects make enough per year in the United States because of the experience and knowledge that they have gained. You can search for internship jobs online on job searching platforms like LinkedIn,, and other such types of websites. 

Even if you belong from a different country you should find an opportunity to work as an intern for a company. If you gain experience you can apply to foreign companies for your internship program. 

What does an Architect do?

An architect does what an architect should do. Architects’ jobs have always been in demand and will be in the future. An architect is a person who is responsible for planning and designing construction sites. Whenever you are planning to build a house of your own you will be needing an architect so that he can plan your house design. 

Until and unless you are an architect you will not be needing anyone because you can do the job yourself.  Architects are hired whenever anyone wants to construct a building. These people need extreme experience and their work needs to be accurate. 

Architects are the ones who are responsible for the safety of the occupants who stay inside the building. 

Since these people carry one of the most crucial roles while constructing a building it is necessary to hold a license too. This is one of the reasons why you should hold a degree too. Holding a degree will make people trust your work. 

However, if you have good experience as an architect then you will have the chance to work on various projects. The job of an architect is respectable in countries like the USA because it is a good career option. 

Architects build a society and together they help build a whole nation or a country. Therefore, the common people either directly or indirectly depend upon them for safety. If you are studying architecture and live in the US then you should know that employment as an architect will rise in the coming years.

There was an estimation made a few years back which said that architects in the US would have 1% more employment chances from the year 2019 to 2029. If you have decided to become an architect then you might have great opportunities ahead. 

How much money does an Architect make?

Architects have quite a demanding job and are respectable too. Architects in the US make around $82,320 on average that was measured back in May 2020. However, the highest salary for an entry-level architect can go up to $141,410 per year in the US. 

On the other hand, the lowest entry-level salary for an architect was around $52,029 per year. There is ample opportunity for architects to make enough in the US. If you have enough degree and experience to make your employer surprised then you might be offered much more than the average salary. 

Therefore, you should try to gain as much knowledge, skills, and experience as possible. In the end, it is the money that matters the most irrespective of the job that you do. You can earn the license from a NAAB-accredited program. 

However, you should find out according to the country that you are living in. Different countries might have different criteria and you should know about that. 


Architects have pretty decent pay wherever you go because of their risky work. If you want to become an architect without a degree then you must meet all the criteria and requirements according to the country you are living in. 

You should know that the job of an architect is demanding. If you want to study architecture then you should go for it because there will be a rise in the employment rate in the coming years. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How to become an architect without a professional degree?

Ans: if you are in the US then you can obtain your license only by passing the Architect Registration Examination. On the other hand, they must have at least nine years of experience. 

  1. Which countries pay architects the most?

Ans:  According to an infographic that was published by Metalocus following are the countries that pay huge:

  • Ireland ($4,651/month)
  • Qatar ($4,665/month)
  • Canada ($4,745/month)
  • Australia ($4,750/month)
  • United States ($5,918/month)
  1. How long will it take to complete a master’s degree as an architect?

Ans: Most Master’s degrees take one or two years to complete if the course is a full-time course. Whereas, a professional bachelor’s degree in Architecture takes around 5 years to complete. 

Can you become an architect without a degree?

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