#16 Career Close-Up Architecture Transcript



The benefit of being a licensed architect is you could work on your own pretty much eventually if you want to like stamp your own drawings and you don’t need a licensed architect to stamp your drawings for you. So that’s what the benefit of affirm is that you can work as a designer, but then someone else stamps it.


But if you become licensed, you could do all of that yourself and it can offer you more flexibility and definitely a pay raise. If you do decide to stay in a firm. And yeah, it’s just kind of like the next promotion. What about you, Maria? What did your path look like? And why did you make the decision? I was not 100% aware of the difference between the four and five-year programs.


You were that stupid? Yes. Do your homework. Yeah. Well, that’s great. That’s why these conversations,


friends, Emily Khaleed, Zan and Maria pastorally. Matt was pursuing master’s of architecture from Georgia Institute of technology. Now actively working in their architecture careers. They both have fantastic insights into not only the field of architecture and other careers. Those with an architecture degree can pursue, but also advice on how to know if a future in architecture is for your team.


In this episode, you’ll learn the difference between five-year architecture programs and four plus two program. As well as the math and art skills, your team may, or here’s a hint may not need to be successful in the field of architecture. I’m Lisa marker Robbins. And I want to welcome you to the next episode of college and career clarity, eight flourish coaching production.


Let’s dive right in to a great conversation.


Well, it is my pleasure today. To invite two architects on for one of our career closeups, Emily co-leads on and Maria pastorally our two young architects who recently graduated from their master’s program and launched into the world of architecture. And they have so much great information to give those that might be not only interested in architecture.


But other adjacent areas or creative careers. So welcome to the podcast, Emily and Maria. Thank you. We’re so happy to be here. You are so welcome. I think that you guys are going to provide fantastic insights, not only for people to think about, but to be curating conversations in their own homes. Let’s go back to the beginning.


I want you each to share about how did you become interested in architecture? I’m always curious, like, were you thinking about other careers or college majors and how did you finally decide. Yeah. So I was always interested in enjoyed like math and physics in high school. And that was, those are some of my favorite and best subjects.


So naturally I was thinking about engineering, like civil engineering, like I liked buildings and I liked big structures. At the same time, I was a ballerina for 14 years. So I was very much in the art world. I was into music and design and all that kind of stuff. So that was my other side that wasn’t really explored in high school.


And I went to a very basic high school in Brazil that, I mean, it was a great high school, but we didn’t really have those extracurriculars that you have in the. Like even our class, like we didn’t even have art class in high school. So it was pretty focused on academics, like getting into college and Brazil, which is a very intense testing process.


So I was having that very creative side after school and dance and the arts. So I was trying to find something that was both. I started being interested in interior design and then civil engineering. And then that’s kind of where architecture came into play because it was in between. There was also something that happened when I was about like, I don’t know.


I think it was eight years old. We had one of the most famous architects in Brazil, Oscar Niemeyer. He came to my town because my town was the only place outside of Russia, where they had a Bolshoi ballet school and he was going to design the new theater and training rooms and the new facility for them.


And he was presenting the project and the project was there. There was a model. So I saw dance and architecture. Literally merged like in a project. Yeah. And that was at the time I was like, that’s cool building models. Like, that’s cute. Like I want to build models. Like I was into Legos, obviously like all of us, but after I grew up and matured and I was like, oh, wow, that was really impactful.


Now that I’m seeing it from where I am now, that was a little seed. But I did think about medicine. Okay. So I went through all the whole spectrum of things. Really interested in biology for awhile. So I was like, maybe I’ll go into medicine, but then obviously that wasn’t the right path. I love how it intersects.


I love the story. How old were you when you decided like, Hey architecture? Is that like, there’s this great intersection with my aptitudes and my passions. Yeah. Yeah. I think it was like high school in Brazil is three years. So it was. About halfway. It was in that second year where I was starting to take the practice exams for the college entry exams, which are pretty much like SATs in Brazil, but you start taking them early to practice.


So that’s when I was like, okay, I could do this. Some of the schools had drawing tests to get into college. So I was wow. I was like, oh, I need to learn how to draw. And I mean, it was a little scary, but I still felt like that was the right decision. Do you feel like somebody has to be a good draw or artists to be?


No, I don’t know. I, I not to start school. I think that’s something I figure out and find the way that you’re going to do it and how it’s going to help you. Because I think drawing architecture is much more. For your own self to understand what you’re doing versus like making a pretty drawing of maybe not a necessarily good building.


Right? Right. So, Emily, you’re probably going, like, you already know this because it’s your friend and your own podcast partner, which we’ll talk about it a little bit. But she says three years of high school and we’re like, Ooh, at least we have four years here in the U S to figure things out and we’re not taking drawing tests and things like that.


So I just, I did not know that about Brazil, so Emily and I over here, like, oh, okay. That makes that part was new to me, for sure. Yeah. That’s crazy. A lot of times the parents and families I work with are like, we put so much pressure on kids and then. I start to hear that Maria. And I’m like, okay. Wow. I always say it’s a lot more, I think, in other countries.


So Emily, you had your own route, you grew up in the greater Philly areas that right. DC area. How did you land in architecture? Is it similar? I’m sure there are different. Yeah, I definitely did not fall into architecture until my senior year of high school. So prior to that, I did not know what architecture was.


No one in my family has ever been an architect. None of my friends were even considering that career path, like even a career path, that’s slightly in the arts. Like I was in a friend group. Even my high school was very stem. Like everyone wanted to be doctors. I knew engineers. And then. The very traditional career paths.


So I didn’t grow up hearing what architecture was. However, my dad had a friend whose daughter went to temple, which is where I ended up going. And she was majoring in architecture and she came home and was just like gushing about it and loved it. And it was kind of this at the same time as me considering what I was going to do or pick for a major, I was very much all over the place.


Kind of like Maria. I was, I had a lot of interests. Writing actually, I was thinking of being a journalist for a little while. I loved graphic design. Like I was a part of the newspaper and did the layout and things like that. At the same time, I loved art. So my dad saw me like an art classes ever since I was little, I’ve always been drawing and not necessarily well, which is like something we want to know for anyone considering architecture is you do not need to be an artist like a renowned artist to enter architecture school.


It’s very much, like Maria said, it’s about a process. Like no one is judging you based on your drawing skills, you do have to have an interest in it. I think that helps. If you hate drawing that they don’t have to have a strong aptitude for yes. And I will even say that hand drawing in our character school pretty much.


After the first couple of years, like you, you probably are going to do it a little bit, but it’s, it’s such a computer centric world now that they do want you to learn to sketch and draft, but in the end you’re going to be learning computer programs. So I wouldn’t let that deter you. Even growing up, I’ve always been drawn to cities.


Like New York city was like my favorite family vacation. Cause I truly loved skyscrapers and like the feeling of being in like an urban environment. So when I visited temple and then I learned about the architecture program, it kind of all like clicked for me that I was like, I think I want to be a part of this and go to a school in the city and study architecture and.


A lot of the classes use Philly as like a case study. So we did a lot of site visits, like a wet and looked at famous architecture in Philly. And I was very captivated by all of it. Definitely did not have an example of it. So it was very much like entering into a foreign world for me. And my parents also were an architect.


My dad’s a doctor, my mom’s a teacher, so they had no ideal. So. Well, what I love about part of what you guys are sharing for your high school experiences, because I’ve got a course called launch career clarity. So we’re working through these modules to help find that alignment between you and those careers.


And I teach lean into your parents and their network. You’ve got to start to build a network. And I love the example, Emily, of how your dad helped you. It expanded your horizons, that willingness, you were probably a little nervous as a high schooler to put yourself out there and go talk to somebody older about their career, but taking those steps like you guys are great examples of these things.


I love it. I did the same thing, but for journalism and it didn’t work out. But that’s still done. Maybe like talk to some guy. And I was like, I hate, so it was very useful. Oh, it’s very useful. I always say no matter if you walk away from the job shadow the informational interview, the curated experience, the college visit and Emily’s case, we can use college visits to get career clarity.


If you rule it out or rule it in, it’s still a win. We don’t have to fall in love with it. So let’s talk a little bit about college for undergrad and grad school. Cause you both have your master’s degree in architecture from Georgia tech. I know that there’s different paths. Our listeners probably don’t.


So I love for you to share about undergraduate experiences programs that you’re licensed to practice right out of undergrad and those programs where you have to go get a master’s degree because both exist. Yeah, there’s essentially two different routes to take. When you’re thinking about architecture education.


I don’t know what the breakdown is. I would say maybe it’s half and half of four year programs versus five-year programs. The five-year programs they’re called professional degrees. So essentially that’s all the education that you need to be licensed. I think you still have to sit for the exams to get licensed after this.


Basically once you’re done with school, you’re ready to take your exams and you can start working if you want to go to grad school, just because you want to learn more or something more specialty that you want to study, then you’re welcome to do so. But the four year program is not a professional degree.


So you have to do a master’s degree after that, to then have a professional degree that you can then sit for exams. So. There’s benefits to both. If you’re super sure that you’re becoming a traditional architect, do you want to be licensed? You want to build houses or buildings and you want to have your own firm and all that you’re 100% sure that’s what your future is.


The five-year program is probably the shortest path to that, but we both. For your programs. So we don’t have that firsthand experience, but from what I’ve heard, it’s less flexible as a four-year program because they’re trying to jam in everything in five years, all the required classes, it has to be a NAB accredited program, which is the N a B board that basically says the.


Good enough that you can call yourself a professional degree. So there’s a lot of requirements. There were a lot of required classes and hours spending on studios and professional practice and construction classes and stuff. So it’s pretty strict like the schedule of a five-year program versus a four-year program where.


They already assume you’re going to do grad school. And some of that requirement can be pushed to grad school so that you have more space for extracurricular classes and you can explore different practice areas and different ways to use your skills in a four-year degree. So I don’t know. Emily, do you have anything else to add?


Uh, no. I think you covered it. The biggest takeaway is that in one option, the five-year you’re immediately able to take your exams the four year. You definitely need to go. Reapply to master programs and figure out where you want to go for that. And after that master’s program, you could sit for your exams.


A lot of people use it as an opportunity to try out a different school specialize in a certain thing they’re interested in. And yeah, we can get into why, I guess the second part of the question, or like why we decided to do four year dive, right in, cause you both chose that master’s program. And I want to say like, when kids are doing their college visits, don’t make that assumption.


That you go to a four-year program. I’ve seen that. Made where you think you’re going to apply to the four-year program and you’ll be an architect right after that, not the case. So you both decided to do the master’s program. Emily, you want to start with why that was the best choice for you? Yeah, for me, I knew it was going to be a four-year program at the time that didn’t really resonate with me, but I think in the end it worked out because even after graduating with my four year degree, I was still a little unsure if I wanted to do architecture.


I don’t know if it was just from being like in school for four years. I feel like I really need to practice in the field to understand if I want to do this for the rest of my life. So I really took that time between the four year and my master’s to work. So I worked for like four years at different architecture firms.


And then that really gave me the clarity to be like, okay, I’m going to do my masters. And then I want to become a licensed architect. Whereas I have friends that also did the four year and they didn’t do their masters and they’re just doing other career paths. It’s still design-related like one of my friends is doing store design now.


So she went more of like the interior design route. And you don’t need your masters for that necessarily. So you don’t need to be a licensed architect for that. There are people that are in like graphic design. So if you have any inkling that you don’t want to be a traditional architect, you could just do their four year and then kind of work or explore your options and then, then return for your master’s, which is pretty much what I did.


And it gave me the confidence. Okay. I have a question on that. So what was the job when you were working in an architecture firm that you were not a licensed architect between undergrad and going to Georgia tech? What was your job? What were you doing? Having a degree, but not being like. Prior to being licensed you an architectural designer and that name can change by firm.


It actually changes a lot. It’s very, there’s no like correct title. Like people call it architectural associate or just designer. Pretty much you assist the licensed architects. You do a lot of drafting and drawing and you’ve learned a lot. And honestly, like there are people that go their whole careers without getting licensed.


So it’s not to say your stag. You will still get promoted. Like I went from like a designer, one to a designer three in that period. So yeah, you’re just developing your skills as an architect and getting licensed. It’s kind of almost like a formalized blast step that you can choose to do or choose not to do, depending on your goals.


Why did you choose. Because I ultimately wanted to like, be responsible for like my own future. I guess the benefit of being a licensed architect is you could work on your own pretty much eventually if you want to like stamp your own drawings and you don’t need a licensed architect to stamp your drawings for you.


So that’s what the benefit of affirm is that you can work as a designer, but then someone else stamps. But if you become licensed, you could do all of that yourself and it can offer you more flexibility and definitely a pay raise. If you do decide to stay in a firm. And yeah, it’s just kind of like the next promotion almost.


What about you, Maria? What did your path look like and why did you make the decision to. I was not 100% aware of the difference between the Fort and five-year program. You were that you would say, well, that’s great conversations. Yeah, it was partially because I was not from the U S so I was obviously applying into a different set of requirements and obviously like the licensing boards and all that stuff was so different that it was all over my head at the time.


Cause it was so far in the future. Future Maria we’ll deal with that. It’s actually interesting because when I started, I applied for Georgia tech and obviously it starts in August, but in Brazil, the school year starts in January. So I did not know that I had gotten into tech. I had applied to a Brazilian college.


And I got in and I started architecture in Brazil first semester before I knew I was into Georgia tech. So when I got into Georgia tech, I had already done like half a semester of architecture and it made me even more sure that I had picked the right major because I was really enjoying architecture in Brazil.


But then all of a sudden it’s like, oh my gosh, I get to do architecture, like in the U S set or detect where I wanted to go. And I did pick the school mostly based on the quality. Of the degree and where people were working after getting that degree and location. So I think in my head, I was always planning on doing the four plus two or the five, like I was going to become a full architect either way.


So it didn’t make a huge difference for me to do a four plus two or. I was also interested in the flexibility of a longer time, because I was moving to a different country. I was going to a school I had never been into. I, I didn’t even do like a visit or anything. I didn’t see Georgia tech before I came here for school.


So, I mean, it was hard. I was in a different country. It was complicated. So the flexibility that I was looking for was beneficial in the end. I was able to take my time to build relationships and build my network. I did go to the same school, which is basically a six-year program at that point. Right. So it’s like five, six, like, it doesn’t really matter.


I built a lot of relationships and a network in Atlanta. Gave me so many options, both for internships during school and after school. I think that was essential. Like if I had gone to a different grad school or if I had gone to school for a shorter period of time, I wouldn’t have had that kind of relationship with professors and other professionals in this.


We were talking earlier, before we came on the record, just about, I wonder how, and none of us really know, but how many of the programs are a four plus two or the five? And you even said Georgia, Tech’s made a change. Yeah, I think it’s something like 10 years ago, they still had a five-year program. They had a four and a five and they got rid of it.


And I think temple too. So I don’t know if there’s a movement towards a four year program. Four plus two grad schools are very special. Every school was very different to like your architecture education in a school in New York will be different than when in California then want to Atlanta. And I think that grad school is even more like that where you really need to know what you’re looking for and where you’re trying to get out of grad school to then pick the school that is going to give that to.


That makes me really curious, like, what are some of the different, let’s do an example, like in New York, what might you get more of than what, like you guys got at tech for just one example, because I think sometimes somebody could go, I’m interested in architecture, but I don’t even know what those specializations would be.


Are those emphasis with. It’s all over the place. To be honest, there’s like some sort of standard, obviously, because it’s an accredited program, but depending on the school, they will value and put more money and time into specific things like Georgia tech you would think was, would be very technical and engineering base.


And. Oh, yeah, you’re going to learn structure and all that stuff. You’re going to do a lot of math at Georgia tech, but that wasn’t really the case. There was a pretty good balance of technical and learning software and learning all that stuff. Versus the more theory based research and writing and research kind of thing.


So. At other schools, especially in grad school, I mentioned New York just because we have some friends in like Columbia and NYU and stuff. I think that some of those schools are more experimental with their design, where if you’re a very practical person, like I am. You could never build that in real life.


Why are you doing that in school? Some grad schools see value in that and the research and thought process that goes behind, behind it. It’s more futuristic. It’s like what it versus more practical versus, I don’t know. My, I don’t know if you want to add to no, that’s really interesting. And it also something you just made me think of, and maybe Emily, you could speak into this.


Maria says something about, you would have thought at Georgia tech that we would have been doing lots of math. And that was not the case. If a high school student is thinking ahead to what would architecture be, what type of math and science aptitudes do they really need to have in strengths? We already ruled out that you have to be a great artist.


So let’s talk into the math science piece of this. I’m pretty sure in most cases you do not go past calc one. For me, I only had to take one bath class and then a physics class. So you do have to do physics. I think that’s pretty much it as far as traditional math and Maria, let me know if you did anything more but structures, but that’s.


Yeah. I mean it is, but it’s more relevant to your profession. You’re not literally just doing math problems as you would in calc and physics and the way that classes do it. It’s like you’re building models. It’s not like a traditional sense of what you think I’m asking slide. Yeah. You see this, the columns and the beams and you calculate loads and things like that.


But like you’re doing math. At tech, we did have to take calc two, which sucked. I was good at math in high school. And it was still a struggle in undergrad. You had to. Wow, painful period. Yeah. And maybe that’s to the point of you are at a tech school, so the kids can investigate by polling up curriculum.


And they’ll know, you’re really saying it’s not like engineering where we’re going to go for. More math classes. So don’t rule it out based on that and get a tutor for the math if you need it, right? Yeah. Yeah. The math and architecture, like you learn it in school and structures and systems like calculating environmental impact of your building and all that stuff.


But a lot of times you’re just learning. And the profession, you will be coordinating with someone else. That’s their job. So you’re going to be coordinating with engineers, but you’re not doing the structural calculations yourself. So you need to learn how it works and what goes into it so that you can understand what the engineer’s giving you and check it and make sure it makes sense and collaborate on that.


But you’re not doing that stuff yourself on the day-to-day. Very good. Well let’s before we wrap it up and we’re going to direct people to your guys’ open plan podcast, which is we’ll have it in the show notes, but you are on all the places, right? As open plan podcast, and you’re active on Instagram. I want to touch on.


A little bit on the licensure process for an architect. So you come out of school and whether you’re a five year or a four to program, what is that process like to be licensed? So we actually just did an episode on this, on our podcast as you had plugged for us. So we’ve covered pretty much all the steps to sit for your exam and establish like a end carb record, which is pretty much like something that lives online that you hold on to for years, you could start it in school.


There’s three parts to license. So first being education, which we talked about. So you need to be either in the four plus two or five-year credit program, and you have to upload your transcripts to this online record. And then the second part is ours. So now they’re called AXP. Which I’m not actually sure.


What they XP stands for architecture experience. Oh, why is it a mix? I don’t know. It’s pretty much experience hours. It’s been named several things over the years, but experience hours that as you’re working in a firm or you’re doing internships, you gather these hours and they actually want you to record it and have like a licensed architect to supervise, even signed off on.


These kinds of submissions of ours, you do. And then you kind of gather that. I think you have to do like upwards of like 3000 hours. So there’s like this while you’re still a student


and have to get them off. No, it starts after you graduated high school. So a lot of kids, like I’ve seen undergrads that even did an internship between high school and college. At an architecture firm and that counts you just have to, but you have to log those hours within eight months to get full credit for them.


That’s such great advice. So you start doing that stuff in high school, like you’ve gotta be logging, right. Violence, fresh. Yeah, fantastic. We’ll send people over to whatever episode number that is. We’ll put it in the show notes so they can get, do the deep dive. So I want to thank you for enlightening us, teaching us.


It’s going to be such valuable information. So thank you so much. Both of you, Maria and Emily. Thank you. Thank you hope it was helpful.


I cannot believe how much I learned today on a field. I already know quite a bit about, I think that drives home that we will all always have something we can learn from having conversations with others. One thing that continues to amaze me is how much teens overestimate the level of math aptitude required.


So many jobs, Emily only had to take calculus one in college while Maria did have to go through calculus two. So here’s my call to action. I encourage your family to do by the end of this weekend, have your student choose one major they’ve considered studying in college and then visit three different college websites going to the academics area and then finding that college.


Once there find the program of study or they might call it the curriculum and then print it out. Sit down, talk about as a family, the required courses at three different campuses for the same major. What surprises are there? How similar or dissimilar are they on different campuses? This is a really good practice for any future major.


Your student is considering. If your teen is interested in architecture or a related field to architecture, be sure to follow Maria and Emily’s open plan podcast where you listen to college and career clarity. If today’s episode was helpful to you, please share it with a friend who needs this too.


They’ll thank you. Sharing. Following the podcast rating and reviewing helps me resource more students to launch into the successful future. Thank you for listening to the college and career clarity podcast, where I help your family move from overwhelmed and confused to motivated, clear and confident about your teen’s future.