Will an associates degree help Architectural Draftjng for B.arch?

How easy is it for a drafter to transfer into a B.arch program? Will my two years at technical school leap me 1 or 2 years into the program? Also, will the things I learn in school for drafting help me be a good architect/designer?
Aug 13, 20 9:59 pm
Non Sequitur


Aug 13, 20 10:11 pm  · 

Hi belackcuf,

I'm currently in a 2 year arc program and I've wondered the same. Planning to use my 2 years to help build my portfolio, so I can transfer into an accredited school. 

Side note, do you feel your tech school fully prepared you for the drafting world?

Aug 14, 20 12:21 am  · 

If you want to transfer to a University offering BArch you should check out their requirements for curriculum - that would both include general education courses and major-specific courses.

Make sure that both general and major-specific courses at whatever community college/program you're attending are transferable to whatever University you are planning to go. Counselor at community college (or tech school) should be able to help you, also it helps to know if other students are commonly able to transfer to university. Double check everything they tell you with the actual school you are planning to transfer to...

Also keep in mind that design/studio courses at university are sequential so if you haven't done 1st year stuff, can't really go into the 2nd year, etc. Quarter/semester situation may be interesting as well.. And it generally helps to do all of the checking before starting a program - otherwise you might go through the entirety of the program without ability to transfer...

In terms of being a better designer - it's kind of a crapshoot...

Also, keep in mind that architecture school is a lot of work (and money) and once you're done, pay is still silly money for the most part, especially compared to other professions - that's the world we've created... but it feels really good to design something (if anyone ever lets you do design).

Aug 14, 20 1:26 am  · 
1  · 

Kaleksan is really on point with this. 

Doing credits without intent will get you very little. You have to take credits that you know will transfer. And honestly, a lot of drafting credits probably wont. 

I did a year at a community college. I did 32 credits, and got 25. However, I picked every class knowing how it would work with other classes to transfer, so this was expected. This included only 1 drafting class, with a mix of basic level art, design, and gen ed classes. I basically did 3/4 of an associates of the specifics in a associates of art degree... 

I was unable to get into the one design II class offered, and thus got stuck doing 4 years at Uni, because as mentioned, the design classes are sequential. So unless you cover both of the first year classes, you will not save any time. I did save money, because I was able to take 25 less credits at a school that costed 10x as much per credit. 

It's unlikely your experience will make you a better designer, in fact, sometimes having a jump on the drafting part messes people up because they focus on what they are better at, drawing, and now what school is really focused on, design. That said, it can help you if you don't let it get in the way :) 

Aug 14, 20 1:47 am  · 
2  · 

1. The drafting (or CAD/BIM) skills will help you later on in work and to an extent it can help in the B.Arch but not as much as it will help later on in your career.

2. The B.Arch education is more design then drafting. Drafting is the technical preparation. It used to be part of the education of architecture a century ago but these days, the educational curriculum in architecture school is not on drafting but design thinking and the art of architectural design. There is a whole process to designing that happens before you make technical drawings. This is what architects do not draftsmen. Draftsmen tends to prepare technical drawings that the architect has designed or is designing and is directing. In modern practice, after arch school, you would be involved in the designing but not so much in making the design decisions until you're licensed but "drafting" is part of the work skills you need to have. 

Bottom line: It can help you but as natematt said, knowing how to draft or draw can also get in the way because you are too focused on the technical aspect of making a good technical drawing that you may neglect the designing and the value of the "scribble" can have in designing and design thinking. The rapid iterations you need to make like the coffee table napkin sketches that you later translate into pristine technical drawings. If you can marry the design thinking process, the scribble, and your technical drawing/drafting skills in a good methodical manner. 

I disagree with some that says it won't help to have the drafting skills but I agree that it can hinder if you don't apply it appropriately and that drawing is only a small part of what you will need to learn. Scribble before pristine technical drawings. Let the "scribbly" drawings inform and inspire the design. What you will need to learn and understand is the orderly process from the scribbly parti sketches (like your notepad sketches) and diagrams to intermediate refined conceptual drawings and sketches to the final construction document/technical drawings. There is a vast body of knowledge and skills in this that has nothing to do with the actual drawing part but the designing part. After all, you are designing a building not just drawing a picture of a building. The drawing or drafting part is just how you communicate the design. Doing drafting good takes time to learn. Architecture programs (B.Arch/M.Arch/etc.) these days often does not have much instruction on drafting in the curriculum. You will have a leg up on how to draw technical drawings but you will be starting like everyone else from scratch when it comes to architectural designing. 

Sure, you can learn 'architectural designing' outside of architecture school but architectural designing isn't part of your architectural drafting education especially from an associate degree program. I have personally studied architectural designing beyond the drafting education. You would end up doing that with the B.Arch but I did that a bit through self-directed study because I was working as a building design professional for some years before going to the university. It can be learned outside of the formal architectural school environment but if you do get into arch school, you will learn about architectural DESIGNING. It may even be easier for you to learn this in the architecture school environment.

What natematt said is pretty spot on. It won't make your path shorter. You shouldn't expect it. Try thinking the architectural drafting + architecture degree education as maybe a more complete education where you get the benefits of both the architecture degree's curriculum and how to prepare drafting. I would likely hire someone with architectural drafting education and architecture school education over someone with just an architecture degree or just a drafting education. If the person is good, that person may start off with a better hourly pay (or salary), too. I would be looking at the whole package of what the person brings to the table.

Aug 14, 20 8:01 am  · 
1  · 
Drawn in

Become an engineer instead. You'll make good money right out of school (as compared to an architects pay), and engineers are always in more demand than architect it seems.  

Even better, go to welding school, and you'll never be out of work the rest of your life.

Aug 14, 20 8:14 am  · 
2  · 

I will give you some advise that i wish others would've given me while i was a student. You need to know that the field is VERY VERY competitive and the pay is not that bright. So if you really really have the passion for architecture, you should go for it with a proper accredited school. Your technical drafting skill actually will help you in the design program during university. As far as credit, it all depends whether that university accepts it. First i want to talk about the end goal of school work besides good grades. The end goal is not superior project designs that will WOW all the critics and review. It is the ultimate portfolio that you want to aim for that will set you apart from your competition against your graduating peer. Your technical drawing skill will definitely help you illustrate your complicated design ideas into 2D drawings. Honestly designs by students are always useless and more like a fun exercise, but the complex drawings and diagram you left behind is the true legacy and goal. Employers will always look for those who can speak the graphical language. So just sacrifice your life during the program and master the art of Rendering, 3D modeling, 2D presentation drawings, diagrams. Don't get too carried away with those out of world "studio" design ideas, spend more time on production. Of course, that is based on if your goal is employment and pursue a position in architecture firms doing real design projects. If your goal is to have fun, just do whatever.

And those talking about too technical interfering with your design skill makes me laugh. Unless you get into Starchitect or design firms and be their design architect/director, you won't touch the "design" much, you are more of their modeler and sketch pad. And you have to secure that entry position in those prestige firms before even talking about climbing. If you are stuck in small office doing bathroom renovation, i seriously doubt your fancy "design skill" learned in school will help you much.

Aug 14, 20 9:35 am  · 
2  · 
Drawn in

This ^^^^^^, employers are looking for people who can draft, and know how big a 2 x 4 actually is.

Aug 14, 20 10:12 am  · 

nah, that is the bathroom renovation firm. You go work for those firm because you don't really care about "Architecture" / cannot get into the competitive one. If you aim for big name design firms like Perkins will, SOM, snohetta, etc. You will know they are not just looking for drafting monkey, but rather someone with potential and dedication. A good portfolio shows you put in the work during that 5 year school period and they can ride you hard until you burn out. Of course these only applies to out of school recent grads. Professional with experience is a different story as your previous employment and skills matter. If all you did is small residential renovation, i doubt you can suddenly work for big firms doing large commercials.

Aug 14, 20 12:30 pm  · 
1  · 

At the end of it all, it is just about competition. There are only a certain numbers of high end design firms doing magazine level architecture, each firm only takes a few entry level. There are ivy league grads massively in debt competing your job with 40K+ start salary in major city. Portfolio is the only place you can show your effort and beat them out before you build your work experience and professional knowledge. But if you don't get into those firms doing large buildings, your future professional portfolio will only consist of small boring projects, and your career path starts to narrow. So if you are not really into architecture, don't bother. Working on those 2x4 house is probably the same as working in finance except with less pay.

Aug 14, 20 12:47 pm  · 

The point about drafting can interfere with designing isn't originally my own. While it can, it does not mean that it will happen. What to look out for is the state of mind. Drafting tends to set a person in a technical/mechanical frame of mind and thinking. This may interfere with the open and freely creative mindset that needs to be demonstrated in course work.

Point being to be mindful of it and not get too caught up in the technical details from the mechanical mind set when you should be in an open and freely creative mindset. Both can work together if you orchestrate it well. It's like going between artistic and logic oriented mindset. It kind of is, to think of it. 

It is that balance that I am talking about that others have talked about as well. 

Aug 14, 20 1:28 pm  · 

I understand you, which i gave out the dose of reality on that you have to be in a rather competitive position in order for you to use that creative mind set. The current office i work at doing urban infill ground up public school is always a solid rectangular box with absolute tight program planning, government wouldn't even deviate away from the use of VCT floor. I wish i can be in some fancy firm designing those zig zag up and down architecture with custom details man.

Aug 14, 20 2:12 pm  · 

Mostly agree with you Jay.

Aug 18, 20 1:48 am  · 

I don't know if that technical jab was pointed at me, but I said drawing not technical. I don't think technical skills are a negative, even in school. Drafting is a mindset though, and people who I saw in school with drafting backgrounds tended to nosedive after a bit. 

Much like Architecture degrees, I don't think most drafting degrees give a really good education on the technical part of design...

Aug 18, 20 1:55 am  · 
atelier nobody

Some arch schools have articulation agreements with some JCs; the only way to answer your question is to do the research on the particular schools involved.

Aug 18, 20 1:00 pm  · 

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