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Is it a mistake for me to begin an Architectural Technician College Program?

tommylandrix

Hi everyone,

I am a 26 year old guy and have recently left my work as a video advertiser and personal support worker.

I have recently come to the realization of just how captivating architecture is and reconnected with my natural inclination toward it that I had when I was young. I have just begun looking into the paths available to me and need a little guidance.

I am SUPER excited about beginning the Architectural Technician program, that is available in my city of Ottawa (Canada) at Algonquin College. However, I am not sure if the diploma it offers would be too limiting, since it would obviously not make me a certified architect.

My interest and talent is in creative design. If I really proved myself,  learned voraciously, worked hard, and did incredible work, would I ever have a shot at being an architectural designer? Or is this part of the job reserved for people who are certified architects? (The college programs say that you can get work as a designer with the diploma, but I'm reading conflicting things online)

My dream is to design homes.

Thank you so much for any guidance!

 
Jul 16, 20 1:11 pm
Non Sequitur

Algonquin's tech programme is very good but like plenty of college-level stuff, plenty of people go through it.  Lots of competition for choice spots in architecture offices and once in,  expect to be hired as production staff, not as a designer and certainly not for construction/contract/client type responsibilities.  That's just not what you're training for.

Now, with that said, perhaps you're an exception but keep in mind that every single other person who graduates with a M.Arch (or even decent BAS) will also fight for the same gigs.  These last 2 groups will have significant more design training in addition to the base technical knowledge.  What I'm saying is it's possible, but you're facing a tough battle. 

As for eventually becoming a licensed architect, a college diploma will not suffice, obviously, but in your case, please take a look at the RAIC Syllabus program.  It's a accredited alternative path to licensure which does not require a university degree.  Another option is to take the BCIN exams once you're graduated and have a few years experience.  This will not allow you to become an architect but it will allow you to offer design services (and sign building permits) for exempt part 3 and most part 9 buildings in Ontario.

edit: side note, a good arch-tech is often worth 3 fresh M.arch grads... a great arch-tech is worth their weight in guinness... however, an average or mediocre arch-tech is easily replaceable.

Jul 16, 20 1:23 pm  · 
2  · 
tommylandrix

Thank you so so much for your reply. It was so nice to come home to! I definitely expected to just be hired as production staff for the period after graduating, and realize that I would initially have a lot less going for me in terms of education compared to the university students. I looked into the RAIC Syllabus program earlier, and it seemed daunting due to the time investment, but now looking at it with a bit more knowledge, it seems like a very reasonable pathway. It combines volunteer led design studio sessions with online learning and work experience to qualify you for a license. That's ideal. It would take about the same amount of time as the university route, and I'd be supporting myself off of paid work experience! Seems like a no-brainer, unless I'm misunderstanding something. I think doing the Algonquin course, and the RAIC program makes the most sense for me. I wonder if coop work experience with Algonquin would also count toward RAIC syllabus work hours... Very interesting! Interesting note about the BCIN and I loved your quote at the end. It's exactly what I wanted to hear! As long as I'm on a path to being able to prove myself with my ability, without restriction, I am happy. Thank you so much!

1  · 
Non Sequitur

You're welcome. Algonquin college is in my backyard (almost literally) and I even guest-lectured once last year. I think you have a decent grasp of the syllabus but it's very doable if you're committed to the self-study curriculum. Too many get distracted and never finish. That is the main downside. At least with a uni degree, you still have that. Bail on the syllabus early and you have nothing to show for. Nothing is stopping you from writing the BCIN tests while fulfilling the syllabus as well.

Cheers

 · 
tommylandrix

I live super close to Algonquin too!!! Ahah! It's amazing how I managed to connect with an architect, who lives next to Algonquin, and has lectured there, just from a Google search of "Architect forum".

I will look into the BCIN tests too.

Good to know that the Syllabus program provides you nothing until you've fully completed it. That was going to be my next question.

Thank you so much! Your information has been invaluable to me.

 · 
atelier nobody

"a good arch-tech is often worth 3 fresh M.arch grads... a great arch-tech is worth their weight in guinness... however, an average or mediocre arch-tech is easily replaceable." - Truer words were never spoken.

I followed almost exactly the path you are considering, and ultimately became a licensed architect, but even as a licensed architect my career has mostly been spent on the technical/production side - I can count the number of projects where I was the primary designer on one hand. This is OK with me because I can pour my creative juice into detailing, but not everybody gets excited about flashings and air barriers.

Jul 16, 20 2:15 pm  · 
3  · 
tommylandrix

Ooh! So you went back to university afterward for a BA and an MBA?


I don't think I would be as thrilled as you about air barriers, unfortunately.

Great input! Thank you so much.

 · 
atelier nobody

Nope, I only have an unrelated humanities BA. Where I am (California), I was able to qualify for the exams purely on enough work experience (CA has since added more requirements, but it's still one of the shrinking list of states where one can get licensed without a degree).

1  · 
tommylandrix

Wow!!!

 · 
tommylandrix

Thank you so so much for your reply. It was so nice to come home to!

I definitely expected to just be hired as production staff for the period after graduating, and realize that I would initially have a lot less going for me in terms of education compared to the university students.

I looked into the RAIC Syllabus program earlier, and it seemed daunting due to the time investment, but now looking at it with a bit more knowledge, it seems like a very reasonable pathway. It combines volunteer led design studio sessions with online learning and work experience to qualify you for a license. That's ideal. It would take about the same amount of time as the university route, and I'd be supporting myself off of paid work experience! Seems like a no-brainer, unless I'm misunderstanding something. 

I think doing the Algonquin course, and the RAIC program makes the most sense for me. I wonder if coop work experience with Algonquin would also count toward RAIC syllabus work hours... Very interesting!

Interesting note about the BCIN and I loved your quote at the end. It's exactly what I wanted to hear!

As long as I'm on a path to being able to prove myself with my ability, without restriction, I am happy. 

Thank you so much!

Jul 16, 20 2:40 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

"It combines volunteer led design studio sessions with online learning and work experience to qualify you to write your exams (ExACs) which will allow you to register as an professional architect and apply for a certificate of practice (stamp)."  Fixed it for you.  

BTW, if you ever enter the RAIC syllabus Ottawa chapter... then we'll likely run into each other.


Jul 16, 20 2:44 pm  · 
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tommylandrix

Ah yes, qualifies me to write my exams. Lol. Thank you.

Thanks so much! I hope to see you one day! I'm the tall guy with brown hair and a nice jawline.


 · 
Non Sequitur

nice. I'll be the one at the bar with the glasses a pint of Guinness

 · 
Almosthip

You don't need to be an architect to design homes, but there also really is not a huge market for custom designed home.

I graduated from an ArchTech program and I am currently in the RAIC Syllabus program if you have any specific questions.

Jul 16, 20 4:56 pm  · 
 · 
Almosthip

Oh and Id like to think that I am worth more than a pint of beer....more like all the gold in the world!

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