Careers – Beyond Architecture

An architectural education is excellent preparation for many career paths beyond architecture.  In fact, the career possibilities with an architectural education are truly limitless.  Anecdotal estimates suggest that only one-half of architectural graduates pursue licensure.

Career paths beyond traditional practice tap into the creative thinking and problem-solving skills developed from an architectural education.  The interest in these paths is growing; the results of the most recent AIA/NCARB Internship and Career Survey of interns and emerging professionals indicate that nearly one-fifth of the respondents do not plan on pursuing a traditional career in architecture although they still plan to obtain their license.

Over the last few years, Archinect, an online forum for architecture, has featured over 25 architects who have applied their backgrounds in architecture to other careers fields through its “Working out of the Box” series.  While most are still connected to design, the range of career fields is quite diverse – filmmaker, organic farmer, artist, design director at a resort hotel chain, user experience designer, information designer and design technology consulting.  Also, the reasons for pursuing these are varied and typically not tied to the recent economic down turn.

Robert Douglas, FAIA studied non-traditional careers (maverick architects) and found those that he studied credited “design thinking” as helpful in their careers beyond architecture.  From his research, architectural graduates and architects pursued careers in law, investment banking and real estate development, computer software, lighting design, film production and set design, cultural policy, architectural criticism and journalism, facilities planning, land planning and management, industrial and product design, arts programming, structural engineering, highway design, public arts installation, architectural photography, painting and sculpture, and clothing design.

Career Paths
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