Architecture is a very rigorous, yet rewarding field. Not only does it take a combination of creativity, ingenuity, an eye for detail, and good designing skills, but it also requires a good amount of schooling, which can be quite costly. The schooling gives students a combination of thorough knowledge of architectural codes for safety and legality, as well as knowledge in engineering and design, which all are needed in order to become a good architect.
In order to counter the high costs of architect programs, many prospective students look for top online architect schools in which they can earn their degrees. While it is appealing for students to think they can learn the architectural knowledge and skills they would need with the flexibility and lower costs of an online program, unfortunately, there aren’t any complete online architecture programs for students to enroll in. In fact, according to the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), there are no complete online courses that offer degrees in architecture. There are, however, some partial programs that students can sign up for. Some schools even offer associate degrees in architecture related subjects via online classes. That, however, will not get students to the point they need to be in order to become professional architects. For more information on this subject, please see our article entitled “Types of Architecture Degrees.”
The biggest reason there aren’t any full architect programs currently offered online is due to the hands-on nature of the degree. Architect students spend a lot of time doing individual and group projects involving building scale models of structures, drafting, etc., which would be very difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish with an online course. Architect programs are also highly regulated by accreditation agencies, since the knowledge and training required to become an architect is very intense and rigorous due to the specialized knowledge that is required. With all of the demands placed on architects, it’s very difficult to become a fully qualified architect without receiving an education from an institution that is fully accredited.
Some of the schools that provide online architecture classes and/or associate degrees include:
- Lawrence Technological University
- Boston Architectural College
- Capella University
- Penn Foster College
- The Art Institute of Pittsburgh
Some things to be aware of…
Before entering into any program or signing up for classes, online or otherwise, it is wise for prospective students to check to see if the school they are taking courses from is accredited. Some of the architect programs being advertised online say that they are accredited, when in reality they are stretching the truth or have accreditations from an institution that isn’t generally recognized by the architect community. If you aren’t sure whether or not an institution is accredited, you can call the National Architectural Accrediting Board directly to see if the institution is listed with them.
Another thing that is important for prospective students to do is to check for specific licensing requirements in the state(s) where they intend to practice. Each state has laws and regulations which are a little bit different for licensing and registration.
One last word…
There are websites out there that profess to have lists of top online architect schools, and they list a few universities that do actually have top architect programs. The problem is that none of these schools actually offer full programs online. When prospective students are doing their searches, they should be sure to do a thorough evaluation of each school or institution that they potentially would be interested in. If they follow some of the suggestions given in this article, they shouldn’t have much of a problem finding an architecture program that suits their needs.