Building Your Career: How to Land Architecture Apprenticeships

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Oct 22, 2018

Oct 22, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Are you looking for a lucrative, high-growth career? Is your math game strong? How about your creative, artistic side?

If you're wondering what to major in or thinking of going back to school, you might want to consider getting a degree in architecture.

The field is growing at a steady rate, and most architects earn more than $75,000 per year. In order to become an architect, you'll have to get a Bachelor's degree, complete an internship or architecture apprenticeship, and pass your state's licensing test.

We'll give you some tips on landing architecture apprenticeships. If you're still in college, you should aim to find an apprenticeship that you can work at during summer breaks - and after you graduate.

1. Polish Your Portfolio

Even if you've never had a job before, you can still make a portfolio. You can put down your high school and college accomplishments and write a resume that will get you architecture apprenticeships.

The days of printed resumes are long gone. Nowadays, job seekers make online portfolios that are part resume and part showcases for their art. If you've got undergraduate experience designing buildings or landscapes, you should definitely include your class projects in your portfolio.

If you're still in college, you can list the classes you've taken and your overall GPA. You can give examples of the writing you've done for class and list the organizations you were a part of in high school.

In order to stand out, include two or three examples of your writing. You might want to feature several drawings or blueprints that you've done, but limit yourself to three to five art pieces. Submitting a clean, high-quality resume allows the quality of your work to shine through.

2. Monitor Your Application Status

Once you've got your portfolio looking great, it's time to go ahead and apply to architecture apprenticeships. If you're wondering how to get an apprenticeship, it's a combination of your portfolio and your professionalism. Being professional in an application means that you follow all directions and respect all deadlines.

After you apply, you might want to follow up with a phone call or an email. But keep your follow up to a minimum. You might undermine your chances for an apprenticeship if you contact the office too many times. If you're going to send an email, wait about one week after you apply.

You should make sure to apply to more than one architectural firm. Even if you're planning on designing bridges, for example, you can still learn from a company that focuses on landscape architecture.

The point of an apprenticeship is to gain valuable experience and to deliver forward momentum for your career. Being flexible is one way to positively impact your future.

3. Ace the Interview

When it's time to meet your potential employer face-to-face, you should always bring some printed examples of your work. Even if you have used the computer to design a blueprint or mock-up of a project, you should print them out to show your interviewer.

Internships and apprenticeships are slightly different. Typically, an internship is a short-term commitment, while an apprenticeship can go on for years. Apprentices have extensive on-the-job training and may be invited to join the firm after several years as an apprentice.

During an interview, you should always discuss the terms of your apprenticeship. How much will you be paid? What is the time commitment per week? If you're looking for a full-time position, make sure that you communicate clearly with your interviewer.

Are you thinking about moving to a new city for an apprenticeship? Before your interview, read more about the latest construction projects and research local architecture firms. You'll have more to talk about with the interviewer, and you'll stand out among candidates if you're up on local news.

4. Maintain a Solid Work Ethic

Once you're hired, you should focus on absorbing as much information as possible. Make sure that you're always on time and that you attend every meeting.

The thing to remember about apprenticeships is that they are the foundation of your career in architecture. When you're given a task to do, try to complete it on time. If you need more time, talk to your supervisor well in advance. You might need some flexibility until you get used to your workload.

Don't be afraid to make suggestions about workflow either. If you see a way that your company can be more eco-friendly, for example, you should mention it to your supervisor. Write down your ideas in a memo and submit them to the right department.

Above all, remember that you have a lot to learn. Even if you have a Bachelor's degree in architecture, you might need to develop managerial skills.

An apprenticeship will help you develop the hard skills that you need to have long-term success. You'll need to be great at time management, team-building, and project management. Be patient with yourself and focus on leveling up your skill sets.

Am I Ready for Architecture Apprenticeships?

If you're a natural communicator with excellent math and art skills, you should consider becoming an architect. Once you've finished your bachelor's degree, you can focus on finding long-term architecture apprenticeships.

If you're still in college, talk to your professors about finding the right internships and apprenticeships. They might be able to match you with a firm that will train you and invest in your future.

Go to your college's career office and ask about apprenticeships delivered by alumni. You may have a career network available to you but not even realize it.

You may be nervous about working at first, but everyone has to adjust to life after college. It's important to know a few things before you accept an internship. Do you want to work full-time or part-time? Is there a particular city or state you'd like to live in? Where do you see your career going in the next five years?

Drop us a line and let us know about your apprenticeship experiences. We're looking forward to hearing from you!