How Do I Become a Commercial Architect?

Commercial architects design buildings and structures that are used for business or non-residential purposes. Someone wishing to become a commercial architect must complete a college degree and in many instances, these individuals have to obtain an architecture license. Architecture companies normally require licensed graduates to complete an apprenticeship or training course before offering these individuals permanent positions.

Many universities offer undergraduate degree courses in architecture. Some of these courses cover the topic in general while others focus on a specific aspect of the field such as building design. Additionally, some educational establishments offer postgraduate degree courses that are specifically designed to prepare people for work as commercial architects. Typically, architecture degree programs include a significant number of mathematics and science related classes. Consequently, someone wishing to become a commercial architect must achieve above-average scores in mathematics and science courses at high school in order to be accepted into a degree program.

In many countries, architects have to be licensed; applicants normally have to attend classroom training courses that are administered by regulatory authorities. Alternatively, some applicants are able to complete online training modules. Having completed the training, these individuals must pass a licensing exam. In most instances, the exam takes a written form and primarily focuses on topics such as building regulations and design theories. Some examinations also include a practical component in which case an architect's design theories may be put to the test.


Legally, graduates with architecture licenses are able to work but many employers initially offer these individuals trainee positions rather than full-time architect jobs. Someone wishing to become a commercial architect may have to complete an apprenticeship that may last months or years. Normally, these individuals work under the direction of an experienced architect. The apprentice assists the experienced architect with preparing designs and models. Additionally, the experienced architect may spend time teaching the apprentice about different design techniques and local building regulations.

A licensed graduate can become a commercial architect without finding employment at an architecture firm. Many architects are self-employed, designing commercial buildings for construction companies on a contractual basis. As with other self-employed persons, someone wishing to become a commercial architect must register his or her business with the regional or national government. In many instances, small business owners are required to pay an annual fee to conduct business within a certain region. Additionally, small business owners are normally required to pay commercial taxes in which case a self-employed individual may have to register the business as a tax entity with the local authorities before starting work.



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