Architecture is a challenging, dynamic field that requires creativity and people with strong analytical and communication skills. Before you consider pursuing an architecture degree online, it’s important to learn about the expectations you’ll encounter in the field.

While most people know that architects design homes, buildings, and other structures, these professionals are also typically responsible for managing contracts, observing work at construction sites, and mastering computer software. Additionally, many graduates from online architecture programs provide a variety of preconstruction consulting services, such as environmental impact studies, site analysis, and project budgeting.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics, projects that jobs in architecture will grow by approximately 7% between now and 2024. Experts with an eye for the industry believe that architects will stay in demand, particularly given the need to expand healthcare and educational facilities throughout the country.

Over time, architecture as a field has changed. In recent years, architects have had to be much more conscious of sustainable design practices, which incorporates energy- and water-efficient systems, waste reduction, and environmentally-friendly materials. In turn, these practices and techniques have been integrated into online architecture programs.

Anyone considering an online architecture degree should be aware that it’s a challenging field. It’s very important to be analytical and organized, and strong communication skills are vital. It might go without saying, but you should also be able to creatively visualize how individual components of a building will come together to create a whole structure.

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Online Architecture Degree Overview

Degree Avg Degree Cost Avg Loan Default Rate Time Commitment Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay Unemployment Rate
Associate $10,236 15.14% 2 years N/A N/A 10.3%
Bachelor's $25,079 9% 4 years $40,000 $73,000 7.3%
Master's $22,448 6.17% 2+ years $51,000 $83,000 5.1%
Whether you are new to the field, or looking to advance in your current career, you should weigh the costs and time of getting a new degree against its benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all degree. The best choice for you will depend on your current educational background, financial standing, employment history, and area of interest. For instance, those with no experience may want to consider an associate degree, due to its shorter time commitment and lower cost. If finances are tight for you, then you should prioritize the student loan debt and default categories, as you will want to choose a degree that offers you the best chance of improving your financial standing with minimal risk. If your employer or someone else is paying for your education, then you might want to consider the degree that will offer you the highest salary. All salary information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or PayScale

Most states require licensed architects to earn a bachelor’s degree, and many professionals in the field eventually complete a master’s program as well. In all states, graduates with architecture degrees must complete a paid internship (usually lasting 2-3 years) before they are eligible to take a registration exam and earn their professional license.

Additionally, many architects are certified through the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). This is voluntary, but for many professionals, it’s an important part of advancing their career.

Online Architecture Choose Your Career

Average Architecture Salaries


Interior Designer

Salary: $48,840
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
4% 58,900 Bachelor's N/A

Perhaps surprisingly, an online architecture bachelor’s degree will prepare you for most of the work that interior designers do. These professionals must take clients’ abstract ideas and turn them into functional, healthy, and aesthetically pleasing spaces, accounting for elements like lighting, colors, furniture, and flooring. They must also have strong interpersonal skills and the ability to budget and schedule projects accurately.

Landscape Architects

Salary: $63,810
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
5% 22,500 Bachelor's N/A

Responsible for designing both public and private outdoor spaces, landscape architects develop designs and models, and then oversee sitework on their projects. About one in five are self-employed or run their own businesses. Landscape architects must manage their time well and pay close attention to detail, while being able to think creatively and use math and technical skills to design attractive, useable outdoor spaces.


Salary: $57,720
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
-3% 204,000 Associates N/A

Though drafting is a dynamic job that you may be interested in, it’s worth noting that the demand for drafters is steadily decreasing, partially due to more advanced computer programs becoming common. Honing the skills needed in the field, however, can help your career across the board. Drafters can do everything from designing a microchip to creating architectural renderings for large commercial buildings. This field requires professionals to master computer-aided design (CAD) systems, use engineering and mechanical techniques to design products and structures, and formulate exact specifications for new and redesigned products. Because of the various demands of the field, drafters must have strong math skills, work well with others, and channel their creativity into making effective designs.


Salary: $76,100
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
7% 112,600 Bachelor's State licensure

Architecture degree-holders need to be analytical, creative and adaptable, with strong communication skills, familiarity with complex software, and the ability to work collaboratively with clients. Their primary job duties are designing and planning residential, commercial, industrial, and government structures. They may also design or conduct environmental impact studies, oversee work sites, and prepare budgets and cost analyses. About 20% of architects are self-employed, and many mid-career professionals eventually earn a master’s degree in the field.

Online Architecture Degrees


Online Associate’s Degree in Architecture

An associate online degree in architecture will prepare you to plan and design buildings and structures of all types. These programs typically take two to three years to complete, and the average tuition is approximately $5,000 per academic year. The industry is growing, and online architecture degree graduates can expect to find a variety of employment opportunities available after they finish school.


    Introduction to Architectural Design, Construction Estimating, Sustainable Building for Architecture, Introduction to Surveying


    Architectural Drafting and Design, Architecture Design, Architecture and Building Construction Technology


    Architect Assistant, Estimator, Drafter, Civil Engineering Technician


    $36,200 per year


    For 2014-2024: 3% decline for Drafters and 5% increase for Civil Engineering Technicians

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture

An online bachelor’s in architecture degree will allow you to pursue a career in a variety of fields. In an architecture program, you’ll learn how to work with clients, design sustainable buildings, use design software, and manage design and construction teams. These programs may take four to five years to complete; tuition is approximately $15,500 per year, on average.


    Advanced Building Technology, Environmental Technologies, Principles of Construction Management, Professional Practice, Concepts in Sustainable Design


    Architecture and Design, Sustainable Built Environments, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture


    Architect, Interior Designer, Landscape Architect, Design Architect, Project Manager


    $63,810 per year


    Architect: 7%, Interior Designer: 4%, Landscape Architect: 5%, Project Manager: 5%

Online Master’s Degree in Architecture

With an online master’s in architecture, you can move into advanced roles within the field, taking on more leadership positions and increasing your knowledge of complex issues and concepts in architecture. The average yearly tuition for these programs is about $21,500, and graduates who secure a master of architecture degree online often go on to become urban and regional planners, surveyors, and other highly skilled professionals in a growing field.


    Theories and Analysis of Architecture, History of Architecture, Concepts in Structural Design, Advanced Building Technology, Architecture in Culture and Society


    Architecture, Sustainable Design, Urban and Regional Planning, Historic Preservation and Conservation


    Architect, Building Surveyor, City and Regional Planner


    $68,220 per year


    Architect: 7%, Building Surveyor: 8%, City Planner: 6%

Online Doctorate Degree in Architecture

If you would like to become a university professor of architecture or a researcher in the field, consider seeking a doctoral degree in architecture. The demand for postsecondary educators in the field is on the rise, and you can find doctorate programs both in-person and online. Students in these online architecture programs study highly advanced concepts in the industry, while also working on research and design projects. The average tuition in a Ph.D. program is $30,000 to $40,000 per year; most students graduate in two to four years.


    Theory of Architectural Programming, Advanced Architectural Practice, Special Projects in Urban Design


    DBA and PhD


    Professor of Architecture, Architectural Consultant, Architectural Researcher


    $72,470 per year


    University Professor: 13%, Architectural Consultant: 7%

Online Architecture Professional Requirements

Architect Registration Exam (ARE)

All graduates from traditional and online architecture programs must take the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) before they can become licensed as an architect in any of the 54 U.S. jurisdictions or Canada. The ARE assesses candidates on the skills and knowledge they gained in school and their professional careers. In particular, the exam emphasizes questions and concepts most prudent to ensuring public safety, welfare, and health. Any additional state licensure requirements test your ability to build models, prepare architectural documents, and create construction drawings using CAD software, among other key skills.

Is it required?


How long will it take?

4 to 6 hours

Landscape Architect Registration Exam (LARE)

The Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE) is a standardized four-part exam that determines whether or not graduates with architecture degrees have the proper skills and knowledge to work as licensed landscape architects. The exam is composed of four sections, including project management; inventory and analysis; design; and grading, drainage and construction documentation. Eligibility requirements vary by state, but many require candidates to have completed a traditional or online bachelor’s in architecture or master’s in architecture degree program.

Is it required?


How long will it take?

2.5 to 3 hours