What (else) to do with this degree?


Recent B.S. grad feeling sooooooo demoralized. It feels like I've been applying for 3-5 jobs every day for the past month and I've gotten 2 rejections and no response from anyone else. Are non-BArch undergrad degrees just totally pointless in the big picture? I suppose it makes me a hypothetically better candidate for grad programs, but it's almost laughable to think of taking out more loans when I can't even use the degree I spent 4+ years working towards to pay down the $30k it cost me. I knew it was a tough job market but I feel totally blindsided by this. Anyone have a similar experience that can offer advice? 

May 9, 22 9:02 pm
Non Sequitur

Put it this way, it's only 30k.  Some spend 4 times this and get the same results but you have to be doing something wrong if you can't get entry-level gigs right now.  There is a serious drought of applicants in my city and all of my colleagues' offices are drowning in work.

May 9, 22 9:09 pm  · 
3  · 

We are busy on the other side of the country too. We could really use a mechanical tech if there are any out there?

May 10, 22 10:36 am  · 
1  · 

I guess the degree probably cost closer to $50-60k, $30k is just the loan burden I have upon graduating, but you still make a good point.

May 11, 22 1:28 pm  · 

I'm sorry you're having issues finding work.  Unfortunately a non accredited degree is pretty much worthless.  You could go back and get your masters.  

May I ask what your portfolio and resume look like?  Maybe you're not selling yourself in the best way possible?   With you applying for 3-5 positions a day makes me think that you're only responding to online job postings from larger firms.  Are you tailoring your CV to each firm you're applying to?

Good luck! 

May 10, 22 10:39 am  · 
1  · 

Haha, thats the answer I think I was afraid of. The program tauts itself as being pretty versatile (ie, suitable for more than just applying to grad programs) but I'm fearing perhaps that not the case. My portfolio is on my archinect profile, but might be easier to view at my website, Not sure what the best way to link my resume here would be?

May 11, 22 1:24 pm  · 

If you haven't yet, check our ongoing feature series, "Working Out of the Box"

Working out of the Box is a series of features presenting architects who have applied their architecture backgrounds to alternative career paths.

May 10, 22 11:26 am  · 

The job market is definitely considered good right now. But I think most firms are looking for candidates with experience to be able to pick up their extra workload right away without too much supervision. It is may, graduation season. There are many fresh out of school candidates. Many of them with Master's degrees or ivy degrees looking for the same entry level job. And most of the jobs located in the same big cities. One entry level job in NYC could easily get 200-300 applications just to give you an idea. I would not say I am surprised to find B.S. degree struggle to compete. It is just the nature of the profession. Too many architecture school starchitect wanna be graduates, too few entry level jobs. Many architecture degree graduates will enter other fields. It is totally normal. I would not even say it is a bad thing considering how low the pay is in this field. My advice is just to try to land one to get yourself in the door. After you have some actual practice experience under your belt, your second job will get a lot easier. The only difference your B.S. has is path to licensure is more difficult. But many people in this field work without ever getting the license. I would not say it is a killer.

May 10, 22 11:42 am  · 

I'd agree.  Most firms are looking for someone with that magical 2-4 years experience range.  

Not being licensed will severely limit your marketability and future career options in commercial architecture. This doesn't mean you can't be a great designer without being licensed though.

I would be interested in seeing the data regarding how many arch grads stay with the profession and how many move to a different or related field.

May 10, 22 12:11 pm  · 

You could also look for a summer "internship" to get your foot in the door. If you can swing not having a legit full time salary (please, do not ever apply for a non paid internship) it's a good way to get your foot in the door, I know because it happened to me, ironically after getting my masters and deciding to take an internship over full time offers. As others stated, can you share your CV or portfolio for us to look at? Maybe we can give some tips and feedback.

May 10, 22 11:22 pm  · 

Thanks for your advice; I've been looking for internships as well with no luck. My portfolio is linked on my archinect page, but the last page is formatted incorrectly by their PDF viewer, so it's also at If you have any tips or critiques I'd be eager to hear them-- thanks for offering!

May 11, 22 1:19 pm  · 

OP, your portfolio might be hurting you. Graphically, it's beautiful and presents well. But there are only two projects - a case study and a group design for a pavilion. None of those projects show your skill at designing buildings, which is the essential work architects do in practice.

For many entry level architects, the work is focused on either resolving floor plans and developing details, or on building study models for elements of a design. This portfolio though elegant would give me no confidence you know how to do that work nor have the basic understanding how buildings are built. There is no demonstration of how you think about fitting a building to a site, organizing a program, or detailing an enclosure. Certainly nothing about detailing or thinking about building systems.

Did your program include any building design projects? You need to find a way to get that work in here, as you are competing for jobs with people who will have 3-5 complete concepts for building designs in their portfolio. Or maybe, what skills do you have that you think can help a design team at work? I would say you do have visual talent, you just need to show how you can use that in a workplace.

May 11, 22 7:39 pm  · 

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