12 ACRED Best Architecture Schools in California|Tuition Details

Architecture Schools in California
Architecture Schools in California

There are architecture Schools in California for established and aspiring architects to obtain a degree in architecture in California.

There are quite a few programs available and this article will give you the basic info on how to find the best option for you.

Architects spend much of their time in offices, where they develop plans, consult with engineers, meet with clients, etc.

That’s not all, they also visit construction sites to prepare initial drawings and review the progress of the project in order to ensure that the client’s objectives are met.

There are typically three steps to becoming a licensed architect, and they are:

  1. completing a bachelor’s degree in architecture
  2. gaining relevant experience through a paid internship, and
  3. passing the Architect Registration Examination

The median annual wage for architects was $82,320 in May 2020 and the employment of architects is projected to grow by 3 per cent from 2020 to 2030, which is slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite the limited employment growth, over the decade, about  9,400 openings for architects are projected each year, on average.

Most of those openings will be a result of the need to replace workers who are retired or who have transferred to a different occupation.

Read on to see the accredited architecture schools in California and tips on becoming an architect in California.

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How to become an architect in California

Just like we mentioned earlier, there are three main steps to becoming a licensed architect.

To become an architect, you typically will be needing a bachelor’s degree in architecture from any of the accredited architecture schools in California or elsewhere in the United States.

Most architects earn their degree through a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree program, which can be obtained in any of the architecture schools in California.

Many earn master’s degrees, which can take 1 to 5 additional years.

 The time required depends on the extent of the student’s previous education and training in architecture.

A typical bachelor’s degree program includes courses in architectural history and theory, building design with an emphasis on computer-aided design and drafting(CADD), structures, construction methods, professional practices, math, physical sciences, and liberal arts.

In the United State, about two-thirds of the states in the country require that architects hold a degree in architecture from one or more than 120  National Architectural Accrediting Board accredited schools of architecture in the country.

That’s not all, to obtain the state license, visit the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards for details.

What is the training required to become an architect in California?

The state architectural registration board for California requires architect graduates to complete a lengthy and paid internship which generally lasts for 3 years, and after that, they will be able to sit for an architecture registration examination.

Most new graduates complete their training period by working at architectural firms through the Architectural Experience Program (AXP), a program run by NCARB that guides students through the internship process.

Architecture students who complete internships while still in school can count some of that time toward the 3-year training period.

Bachelor of Architecture Degree Program in California

California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo: is one of the architecture schools in California that offers a 5-year first professional degree program, which is a prerequisite in most states in order to be licensed as a registered architect.

This program is lab oriented. Above all, the program is sequential and rigorous.

It is a program that reflects a balance between technology and design. Your possible choices for minors will include the following:

  • City and regional planning
  • Sustainable environments
  • Real property development
  • Architectural engineering
  • Integrated project delivery
  • Construction management

It is one of the architecture schools in California where in your fourth year, you would have the opportunity to study off-campus, which can be in the United States or Abroad.

In your fifth year, you would have to choose a yearlong project to display your creativity.

  • 4-year, public
  • 21,098 undergraduate and 915 graduate students
  • Bachelor of Architecture (BArch)
  • Length: 5 years
  • In-State Tuition and Fees: $9,816
  • Out-of-State Tuition and Fees: $21,696 
  • Transfer students must take architecture 101 during their first year

High school students are encouraged to take Advanced Placement Tests to possibly earn credits for physics, calculus and other general education classes.

Bachelor of Arts in Architecture Degree in California

University of California – Berkeley is one of the architecture schools in California that offer a program that provides pre-professional competency for employment in entry-level architecture positions or the basis for graduate work.

However, this program will not prepare you to become a licensed, professional architect. But you can decide to go on to earn your professional degree in architecture or work in construction, industry, architectural practice or government.

  • 4-year, public
  • 30,853 undergraduate and 11,648 graduate students
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Architecture
  • Length: 4 years
  • In State Residents, per full-time academic year: Between $ 24,090.75 to $27,563.50
  • Out-of-State Tuition & Fees: $43,176
  • Transfer students must meet a minimum GPA to be considered

Transcripts, ACT Plus Writing or SAT Reasoning Test scores, social security number and citizenship status, are required during the application.

Master of Architecture Degrees in California

# University of California – Berkeley:

Program Name: Master of Architecture I (M.Arch. I), Master of Architecture II (M.Arch. II)

University of California – Berkeley offers a Master of Architecture program which would provide you with a professional degree.

When you get to your final year in this university, you would have the option of developing an individual thesis, or you might decide to take part in an intensive research studio.

This school also offers a Master of Science in Architecture, which is a non-professional program that includes advanced research and supplements the Master of Architecture degree.

The program name is Master of Architecture and it will take you between 2 to 3 years to complete.

Your college-level (or equivalent) math including analytical geometry and beginning calculus; beginning physics including mechanics are the prerequisites. For your application, you will be needing the following:

  • online application and fee
  • official transcripts
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA (‘B’ or equivalent) and portfolio

It is a 4-year, public university with 30,853 undergraduate and 11,648 graduate students.

Tuition and Fees for architecture in University of California – Berkeley

# University of California – Los Angeles:

University of California – Los Angeles is one of the architecture schools in California that is located in Los Angeles.

This school offers three master’s programs that will meet your needs.

The M.Arch. is a professional program that would give you a comprehensive education in the field of architecture. The program combines practical applications in specialized areas and theoretical studies.

To apply, you will be needing the following:

  • online application and fee
  • statement of purpose
  • official transcripts
  • GRE scores
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • portfolio of creative work from M.Arch. applicants

It is a 4-year public university with 31,577 undergraduate and 12,960 graduate students.

Program Length is 3 years for (M.Arch. I) and 1 year for (M.Arch. II).

Prerequisites:

M.Arch. I applicants should have at least one college course in each of the following areas:

  • Math, including algebra, plus geometry or trigonometry (minimum grade ‘C’), Newtonian physics (minimum ‘C’)
  • Basic design or drawing (minimum ‘B)
  • A survey of the History of Architecture including antiquity to present-day (minimum ‘B’).

M.Arch II applicants should have a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree (or equivalent).

Tuition and Fees for Resident: $24,805.37

Tuition and Fees for Nonresidents: $37,050.37

Tuition fee details.

Master of Arts in Architecture Degree in California

University of California – Los Angeles:

University of California – Los Angeles offers a Master of Arts degree which prepares students for research, teaching or consulting in areas that are related to urban design and architecture.

This program at the University of California – Los Angeles is not designed to prepare you for work as a professional architect, but so many parts of the coursework are similar to the professional coursework available in the Master of Architecture program. 

The duration is 2 years and the applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as required in some other architecture schools in California as well. A sample of written work is a prerequisite.

Architecture Doctoral Degree Program in California

University of California – Los Angeles:

University of California – Los Angeles is one of the architecture schools in California with a PhD program that will prepare you to conduct research on important fields of urbanism and architecture.

Here, you will work closely with a faculty advisor. You will also pursue coursework within the department and write a dissertation.

Furthermore, in this program, you will also take part in project-based activities, such as publications, symposia and exhibitions.

The program lasts between three to six years, depending on your background.

An undergraduate degree or graduate degree in architecture or non-architecture field are prerequisites.

The following are the requirements:

  • biographical resume
  • official academic transcripts
  • examples of written research
  • statement of purpose
  • the proposed program of study
  • 3 letters of recommendation and GRE scores

It is a 4-year public university with 31,577 undergraduate and 12,960 graduate students.

The List of Accredited Best Architecture Schools in California( National Architectural Accrediting Board )

  • Academy of Art University-School of Architecture
  • California at Berkeley, University of-College of Environmental Design
  • California at Los Angeles, University of (UCLA)
  • California Baptist University
  • California College of the Arts-School of Architectural Studies
  • California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
  • California State Polytechnic University – Pomona
  • NewSchool of Architecture & Design San Diego, CA
  • Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARC) Los Angeles, CA
  • Southern California University-School of Architecture Los Angeles, CA
  • Woodbury University
  • University of San Francisco-San Francisco, CA

Academy of Art University


School of Architecture
San Francisco, CA
www.academyart.edu/architecture-school
M. Arch.; B. Arch.

California at Berkeley, University of-College of Environmental Design


Department of Architecture
Berkeley, CA
www.arch.ced.berkeley.edu
M. Arch.


California at Los Angeles, University of (UCLA)


Department of Architecture and Urban Design
Los Angeles, CA
www.aud.ucla.edu
M. Arch.

California Baptist University


College of Architecture, Visual Arts, and Design
Riverside, CA
www.cbucavad.com/wps/
M. Arch.


California College of the Arts-School of Architectural Studies


San Francisco, CA
www.cca.edu/
B. Arch.; M. Arch.

California Polytechnic State University – San Luis
Obispo


College of Architecture & Environmental Design
Architecture Department
San Luis Obispo, CA
www.arch.calpoly.edu/
B. Arch.

California State Polytechnic University – Pomona


College of Environmental Design
Department of Architecture
Pomona, CA
www.csupomona.edu/~arc
B. Arch.; M. Arch.


NewSchool of Architecture & Design
San Diego, CA


www.newschoolarch.edu
B. Arch.; M. Arch.


Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARC)
Los Angeles, CA


www.sciarc.edu
B. Arch.; M. Arch.


Southern California, University of
School of Architecture
Los Angeles, CA


www.arch.usc.edu/
B. Arch.; M. Arch.

Woodbury University


School of Architecture and Design
Burbank and San Diego, CA
www.woodbury.edu
B. Arch.; M. Arch.

Frequently Asked Questions

The BLS projects that the architect field will grow 3% by 2030, with 3,900 jobs added by that time.

Architects who specialize in or use sustainable design are expected to especially be in demand.

Having looked at the architecture schools in California, let us answer some frequently asked questions concerning the architecture schools in California and the steps to obtaining your license for the practice.

How Much Does an Architect Make?

Architects made a median salary of $82,320 in 2020. The best-paid 25 per cent made $106,680 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 per cent made $63,420.

You can be an excellent architect, but it is such that requires you to put enough energy and attention into your business.

A lot of architects are making money through the service business. They sell their skills, expertise and time in exchange for money.

That’s not all, they also run consulting services, which is in high demand at the moment

There are so many other ways architects make money, such as offering to tutor, becoming a mentor, and above all, expanding their services.

Does the University of California have an architecture program?

Yes, they do. Their Department of Architecture has a strong tradition of fostering design and research.

There are numerous undergraduate and graduate programs that are offered in constructed and speculative environments with advanced architectural technologies.

What is required to become an architect? The different pathways

The first pathway

In order to become a licensed architect, students must earn their first professional degree in architecture.

What do we mean by the first professional degree? By first professional degree, we mean a program that is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).

Typical NAAB accredited degrees include:

The second pathway

The second option is for students who wish to start practising in the field as soon as possible, they may choose to complete a 4-year undergraduate degree that is not NAAB accredited. 

This second option allows students to begin working in an architectural firm, but they can’t pursue their architectural licensure. To pursue licensure, they have to go for an additional program.

Similarly, students who graduated with an undergraduate degree unrelated to architecture may choose to complete a 2-year graduate architecture degree that is not NAAB accredited and begin working in the field.

The third pathway

The third option is for highly rigorous students that are searching for the fastest path to pursue their architectural licensure.

There are students who choose to pursue an integrated path to an architectural licensure degree.

This highly intensive degree program allows students to take their Architecture Registration Exams (A.R.E) and begin logging internship hours towards their Architecture Experience Program (AXP) requirements while they are still a student.

There are some architecture schools in California that offer this third option. The goal of pursuing this type of degree in this third option is to allow students to earn their licensure upon graduation.

There are currently just 17 universities offering this type of degree program in the United States. An example is the NewSchool’s IPAL Graduate Architecture program.

Career Path and Licensure Requirements

It doesn’t end in completing a NAAB accredited professional degree in one of the architecture schools in California.

NCARB requires that those seeking licensure complete 3,740 internship hours as part of the Architectural Experience Program (AXP). It was formerly known as Intern Development Program (IDP).

The reason graduates of an architectural program have to go for this internship is for them to obtain the skills and knowledge for independent architecture practice.

This also ensures the protection of the public’s health, safety and welfare, keeping practice parameters current with NCARB’s most recent program implementations that parallel industry regulations.

Examinations

Before you can finally obtain your licensure, there are examinations that you need to take. It is the final step towards obtaining your licensure.

The Architect Registration Examination (ARE) is a test of candidates’ abilities, as well as their overall knowledge of architectural practices and principles, used by all 54 U.S. Member Boards in order to be employed in professional architectural practice. 

The ARE has divisions and candidates must pass all ARE divisions within 5 years of completing their first professional degree. There are firms that even require a smaller time frame to complete the different divisions.

There are a total of 7 divisions that make up the examination, which can be taken in any order.

What are your thoughts about these architecture schools in California? Please share your thoughts below. Find out more about becoming an architect.

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