Previously, we authored an essay on the benefits of community college architecture programs; now, let’s discuss the actual path of becoming an architect with attending a community college.

First, let’s learn the degree paths of becoming an architect; below is a more detailed description of the degrees needed to become an architect but further below are the basics.

  • Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.): an undergraduate five-year degree for students coming directly from high school;
  • Pre-Professional Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Master of Architecture (M.Arch.): Pre-professional degrees are four-year degrees that prepare candidates for pursuing a professional degree.
  • Undergraduate Degrees (B.A./B.S.) in Disciplines other than Architecture and Master of Architecture (M.Arch.): available for candidates with an undergraduate degree in a field other than architecture (i.e., English, etc.).
  • Doctor of Architecture (D.Arch.): available only at the University of Hawaii. The program consists of a four-year pre-professional degree plus three years of graduate study

Now, let’s share the Path of the Community College.

While your eventual goal will be to obtain a NAAB-accredited professional degree, you may wish to consider starting your path at a community college.  Some community college programs have articulation agreements with programs at four-year institutions allowing a seamless transition. In addition, the cost of a community college education is MUCH less than one at a university.

From the earlier essay — Benefits of Attending a Community College Architecture Program by David Freeman AIA, Program Chair, Architecture and Construction Technology at Dutchess Community College:

Community colleges provide a perfect opportunity to diversify the profession.  Diversity defines the community college experience with a 60% diverse student body. The average cost of a community college is $2400 per semester.  Attending a community college program is an ideal pathway to learn, to grow and to discover the profession.

According to NAAB, there are 168 architecture programs: 112 of them are Master of Architecture degrees, 54 are Bachelor of Architecture, and one is a Doctor of Architecture. There are 122+ Community Colleges with Architecture programs according to CCCAP (Coalition of Community College Architecture Programs).

NAAB Accreditation has embraced community colleges as a partner in architectural education.  In addition, ACSA recently launched ACSA Transfer Toolkit: Best Practices for Facilitating Community College Transfer.

In the past, the path of the Community College has been challenging.  As a student in a community college the program in which you are pursuing may NOT be completely transferable to an accredited architecture program.  In most instances, general education courses will transfer but not architecture courses especially design courses.  Regardless, you are suggested to talk calculus if possible.

Some community college programs do have articulation agreements with NAAB accredited programs; as is possible, connect with these programs to ease the process of transfer.  Keep track of the courses you take and their syllabi.  If you take architecture courses, be sure to keep coursework and compile it via a portfolio.


Coalition of Community College Architecture Program

ACSA – Community College Programs

A compilation of U.S. and Canadian institutions offering two-year degrees in architecture.  This information was collected from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) and The Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada.

National Architectural Accrediting Board





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