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6 Very Valuable Tips for Unlicensed Young Architects in the USA

What are the tips you would give a young architect? Find them here!

When you are first starting out in your Architecture career, it is important to have the correct set of expectations of what your first couple of years in the industry will be like. Obviously, a pilot just starting out their career should not be running into the cockpit of a jumbo jet, the same goes for architects.

1. Set your expectations at a reasonable level

You will probably be helping your architecture firm in different ways when you are first starting. Some of those ways will include work that does not exactly have to do with Architecture, but rather assisting more seasoned architects in their needs. Yes… getting coffee, and other menial work, yet it is worth it. You will gain more and more hands on work as you spend more time at the firm. What matters most is your expectations and keeping your eye on the goal!

2. Your Attitude is key

Going back to setting your expectations correctly, your attitude is another area that will help you to shine bright or take away from your potential. Remember! You still do not have your license, and thus must be willing to adhere to the request of licensed architects. Set your sight on your goals and be willing to maintain a positive attitude in order to achieve the end goal, which is becoming a licensed architect and employed!

3. Dealing with overtime

Architecture is not always from 9-5. What I mean by that is, the job doesn’t have fixed hours, rather you might have to work on a project that is finishing up overtime. Be prepared to work these long hours and know that this is a sacrifice that might be necessary at times.

4. Most job advancement takes place when you change jobs

This will really depend on the size of the firm that you are working at and what kind of administration and budget they are able to cover. For example, a small firm with a tight budget, most likely, will not be able to pay for me to move upwards in my position. While a large firm that has two new projects from two different government organizations, will most likely, be able to hire from within and give you a raise.

5. Experience can be seen as more important than Education in some cases

Although you may have gotten the highest grades in your class, your inability to create construction documents is a huge drag on a firm’s ability to stay agile and quick with their projects. Make sure that you go into new firms with the necessary experience to excel, not just the grades and a letter of recommendation from your university teacher.

6. If you’re miserable or not learning, then make that change! Do not wait any longer!

You are at a firm, not only to make a wage, but also to learn and in doing so, help the firm grow their abilities and capabilities. Make sure that you are enjoying the process and not miserable throughout! Quit and change jobs if it is not what you want and you are not being challenged.

Architecture is a beautiful profession, and these 6 tips will help you to avoid making the mistakes that so many before you have! Good luck and stay strong!

When considering your next career move, plan proactively and create Portfolios that include your best work. Consider looking into finding a mentor with Architect-USand improving your Portfolios with our Portfolio Plans and Career Advice Program. We provide coaching and personalized mentorship, so you can have a professional and experienced take on your next steps in your career, as well as a great team to confide in.


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