Home architects design residences of all types, from small housing complexes to huge mansions and estates. They draft the initial blueprints for a home along with detailed schematics for various systems, including plumbing, ventilation, and electrical units. A person who wants to become a home architect is usually required to obtain at least a bachelor's degree, gain several years of internship experience, and pass extensive licensing exams. In addition to the formal requirements, an individual can improve his or her chances of finding employment by developing strong communication and computer skills.
The minimum educational requirement to become a home architect in many states and countries is a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. Bachelor's degree programs in architecture typically take about one year longer than most programs; full-time students can expect about five years of coursework. Students have the opportunity to learn about the history and theory of architecture in classroom lectures, as well as gain hands-on experience in specialized drafting and design courses. Experienced teachers introduce students to the fundamentals of home architecture, including the various computer aided drafting (CAD) programs commonly used in the professional world.
Many people are able to find internship positions after obtaining bachelor's degrees, but some students choose to pursue additional two-year master's degree plans to further their education and improve their chances of finding work. A master's program in home architecture can better prepare an individual for the business side of the profession. Since a large number of professional architects are self-employed, an education in business principles can help prospective workers determine the best ways to find jobs and deal with clients.
Graduates of accredited degree programs are required to work as assistants or interns for up to three years in most countries. During an internship, an individual who wants to become a home architect has the chance to learn about the profession firsthand from established experts in the field. Internship programs are commonly found at large architectural firms, where new workers assume a variety of responsibilities. An intern might be engaged in actual drawing and CAD design, or focus more on speaking with clients and selecting proposals. After gaining sufficient experience, an individual can take a licensing exam to officially become a home architect.
The content of written licensing tests varies between different states and countries, but most exams include sections on CAD, blueprint design, ethics, and legal responsibilities. Successful test-takers are awarded licenses and allowed to begin practicing independently. A newly licensed architect might choose to work at an established firm or try his or her hand at a private practice. A person who is able to become a home architect can secure a steady client base by exhibiting strong communication skills and business sense. There is generally a strong need and many job opportunities for architects who can create attractive, functional, and energy-efficient homes.