How Much It Costs to Become An Architect in the USA

How can we define an architect? What job does he do? What qualifications are required? How costly is it to become an Architect? There are many other questions that would strike our mind when we heard about an architect or saw them.

In this article, we will try to answer most of the questions. Let’s go one by one. If you have any interest in becoming an architect, this article is a must-read write-up in the field.

The Role of an Architect

The role of an architect is to design buildings by combining art and science and create environments for the people. According to the experts, Architecture degrees are ideal for creative and analytical individuals. Professional architects imagine a structure, put that idea on paper or sometimes directly into a computer and put their marvelous imagination into reality.

If we talk about the USA, it is blessed with many buildings and monuments which attract many tourists every year. And, every significant structure build is constructed in the guidelines of a great architect.

Architect in the USA

Why Pursue Architecture in the USA?

Architecture is a highly rewarding and exciting career path nowadays, not only in the USA but all over the world. Architects perform an enthusiastic job of designing and engineering large structures and buildings and charge a great amount of money for that. The workforce in the industry with BArch gets an average annual package of 56,900 USD whereas, with a MArch degree, the compensation is 110,000 USD per annum in the USA.

Moreover, getting an architect degree from the USA has its own perks either in getting hired in other countries or receiving foreign projects to branch out from just USA developments.

Requirements to Become an Architect

To become an architect, it does take some time. According to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) report, the architect course took an average of 11 years to become a licensed architect if has done independent or contracted practices within the industry

Learning an interior decorator school or interior design program is only two to four years long but to become a professional architect takes a much longer time. Usually, this includes 5 years to acquire a first professional undergraduate architecture degree and the aspiring candidate requires an additional 3 years of professional internships to complete the Architecture Experience Program (AXP) requirements.

The students who have already pursued bachelor’s degrees in pre-architecture can earn MA or MArch. in a two-year program while those with a non-architecture bachelor’s degree will earn this MA or MArch. in three to four years. If we talk in detail then there are two types of Accredited Architecture Programs.

Architect Sketch House

Students who want to achieve an architecture degree in the USA that will facilitate their licensure as an architect have these two options: either a five-year undergraduate degree in architecture known as a B.Arch. or a post-college master’s program known as a MArch, which usually takes two or three years to complete.

There are four-year bachelor of science, bachelor of arts, and bachelor of fine arts courses in architecture but they are not nationally accredited. After that, they need to attend a master’s degree course in architecture if they want to qualify for a state license. But before attending any college or school the student must check the list of accredited architecture programs in the USA list which you can easily find on the NAAB website.

Cost Required to Become an Architect

The cost of pursuing an architecture course at an architecture school varies widely. With in-state students at public schools paying far less than their out-of-state public-school peers and their contemporaries enrolled at private schools.

 If an aspiring student pursues a five-year undergraduate architecture degree, the total tuition fees can range from around $50,000 to about $175,000 depending on the school and whether he or she is an in-state student or outstate student. This estimate is according to a comprehensive cost estimate by the design industry professional education provider Designer Hacks

Obviously, the cost of qualifying in the United States depends on where you study, but a five-year Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) degree is likely to cost in excess of $100,000 to $180,000. For MArch degree, the total fee is:

  1. Georgia Institute: $33,312
  2. Cornell University: $197,925

Before getting a license, American architects require experience using the AXP (Architecture Experience Program) which needs to be documented.

  • Registration cost for each experience: $100
  • Cost to renew experience each year: $85.

The duration of Masters in Architecture (MArch) in the USA or M. Arch is a 2 to 3.5 year-long degree spanning around 4-6 semesters. We are talking about the program that is compulsory to get an architect license in the USA for those students who do not pursue a 5 year BArch degree at the undergraduate level. 

  • The average tuition fees of universities offering Masters in Architecture in the USA are between 53,500 USD to 187,000 USD. 
  • Students with a bachelor’s degree in architecture or related field and GRE/GMAT score apply for MArch in the USA. 
  • The average salary offered to a student with a Masters in Architecture degree from universities in the USA is 110,000 USD per annum.

Some best architecture schools in the USA

  • The University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
  • Columbia University.
  • The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)
  • Cornell University.
  • The University of Pennsylvania.The 
  • University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.
  • Stanford University

There is another condition that the student must also pass all six parts of the ARE (Architect Registration Examination) at a total cost of $1,410, assuming they pass each paper on their first attempt. If he is not able to pass it on the first attempt, he or she has to pay extra money for it. Then after completing this paper there is the cost of the license application itself – between $25 and $85.

In the USA there is some extra fee as well that amounts to $385 and we call it a transmittal fee for the national registration board of America to send the student details to the appropriate jurisdiction. In short, there’s no way to qualify as an architect in the United States without spending well over $100,000. That amount is not so easy for every aspiring person who wants to pursue an architecture course.

If the student does not get a hostel facility and he is an outsider he has to pay extra charges for housing, food, medical, and all that. This extra expenditure is approximately the course fee because everything in the USA is costly.


The costs involved with becoming an architect can seem overwhelming at first, and it’s a sad truth that today many students from poorer backgrounds immediately rule it out. But there is an option that is a student loan. There are various loan and scholarship options available in Universities for deserving candidates.

As the architect’s demand is more than ever in the United States and even the new architects are starting with good income, so, this gives you surety that you’ll be able to pay your students loan quickly without really cutting back on necessities.

Pursuing MCA from the University of Delhi, Saurabh Saha is an experienced blogger and internet marketer. Through his popular technology blogs: TechGYD.COM &, he is helping several brands to gain exposure in front of high-quality web visitors.