Foreign Architect


Hi, i'm a young Italian architect (graduated at Politecnico di Milano in Decdember 2006). I would like to know if is possible (and how) with my professional profile to work in the United States (now i'm working in Milan in a good architectural firm).
Are there specific requirements (minimum period of experience, specific degrees, etc)?

Someone can help me?.

Jun 20, 08 9:38 am

nobody can help me?

Jun 20, 08 12:31 pm

hi. well there are requirements as such to work at an office in the US. its the standard format like any place else, just apply to a firm and if they like your work/select you, they will sponsor a work visa.
so it all depends on the job you are applying for.
however, you will not be a licensed architect since you don't have a US degree. i'm not sure of the requirements for foreigners to obtain a US license.

Jun 20, 08 1:07 pm

want to switch jobs? i'll even let you have my dog

Jun 20, 08 1:19 pm

@ allSTAR ==> thx for your suggestions. I'll apply for a junior architect job in a firm in NYC i think. For the licence, here in Italy, i've a regular license but i don't know if in the us mine license is good.

@ ==> i'm not joking...

Jun 20, 08 2:10 pm

I don't think holz is joking either.

Working for an arch firm in the U.S. is easy, getting licensed with a degree from an italian school is night on impossible

Jun 20, 08 2:14 pm
vado retro

yes i will trade you straight up.

Jun 20, 08 2:44 pm

@ Apurimac ==> Could you explain "getting licensed with a degree from an italian school is night on impossible"?

Jun 20, 08 2:59 pm

it depends what kind of job you want, were you want it, there's all kind of profiles needed and wanted, im sure you will be fitting some of its more about where and what, than if u are really "ideal" one for the job, ther's no standard profile of architect anywhere in the world

Jun 20, 08 2:59 pm

and i trade lambrusco for tequila

Jun 20, 08 3:00 pm

Thanks for all the answers.
Probably the real problem is that in italy an architect can do everything (landscape, interior, industrial design, structure, etc...), in us is not like there (it's right?). My original question was... with my italian degree in architecture i can work also in the us or not...?

The other things after...

Jun 20, 08 3:18 pm

yes you can work at the states with your Italian degree, not as a licensed architect, but for sure inside an office, part of a project team, even lead the project, but never as a licensed architect.

Jun 20, 08 3:27 pm


Jun 20, 08 3:31 pm

yes, monsieur holz is not joking.

Jun 20, 08 3:40 pm

@ MADianito ==> ok, now it's clear. Licensed it's like..."i never can pit my signature on a project" right? For that i must rejoin studies in architecture in the us and take a new degree...right?

Thx to all

Jun 20, 08 3:53 pm

no just go to the state board of technical registration and present your experience and education forms and see what they say.

Jun 20, 08 4:02 pm

oh and conform to our superior inches system! muahah

Jun 20, 08 4:03 pm

I hope you are joking about that last comment Anti

Jun 20, 08 4:07 pm

of course.

Jun 20, 08 4:21 pm

Yeah! good! Thx again!

Jun 20, 08 4:41 pm

inches system is a p@in in the arse, really... i mean i think the states is still the only place in the world where is used...and not even that lot of offices in the states have projects outside the states...i wonder if they have 2 sets of dimensions one for internal use, other for client and contractors outside the states.

i prefer metric

Jun 20, 08 4:48 pm

hey we force it on Canda too don't forget

Jun 20, 08 5:10 pm

Something to keep in mind is that while in Italy, you guys get licensed pretty much right after graduation (right?), here, you need a degree, or two, plus a few years of internships and exams before you can call yourself an architect. This means that there are plenty of people working in US arch firms who don't have licenses (yet!), so it's really not a huge issue for you. Good luck!

Jun 20, 08 9:15 pm

Here in Italy to obtain a license you need a degree (or more), after that you have a exam called "state exam". This is 3 projects tests (1 of planning, 1 of structures, 1 of general architectonic culture) plus (if you pass 3 projects) a discussion ( 40/50 min) about architecture. Not so easy.

So, i don't know if this license is accepted in us, sure i'll do some years of experience and internships...


Jun 21, 08 4:55 am

someone states he got a "License in architecture at Politecnico di Milano". This can't be right can it? Schools don't administer licensure exams, right?

there are more exams in north america, to be taken after about 3 years experience, and a 5 year degree...

usually takes 5 years after finishing degree to pass all exams. 8 years is not unusual. content of exams is not so crazy. probably the same as italy, really. but takes time.

ncarb can be pretty protectionist, so maybe easiest thing to do is check with them what you need to do to get licence. libeskind only got his a year or two ago based i think on an interview and proof of his experience in europe...he may have had special attention however....

good luck.

Jun 21, 08 7:37 am

how difficult is it for a north american licensed architect (with EU citizenship) to work in Italy? Is there work? Do you have to be fluent in Italian?

Jun 22, 08 1:05 pm

It's not so easy, but is possible. I'm working in Milan, i think the best place in italy for architecture. There are not many works and the salary is very low (10000-12000 Euro/year). For the language, in some firm is not necessary to be fluent in italian (i must know basic words).

Generally i don't suggest you italy...


Jun 22, 08 1:11 pm

I can't believe the salary is so low. That salary is that for somebody fresh out of school? So which EU country would you say has the highest salary and most opportunities for architects?

Jun 22, 08 1:28 pm

The salary is really this (for minimum 3-4 years after degree)...i'm sorry... :-)
For me the best place for architects now are the nederlands [specially Rotterdam] (OMA, MVRDV, Ben Van Berkel, West 8, etc, etc, and some others not archistar but very interesting...). I don't know the salary on NED surely highest than italy (i think that italy have the lowest salary in eu). Interesting also Berlin and London or Barcelona.

Are u thinking for a period in EU?

Jun 22, 08 6:37 pm

Barcelona bad choice, too many architects already there, not very good pay, but yeah is fun.... Berlin is great city, not sure there's still too much work going on.... London, always good pay and shitty living, hehehehehe

Jun 23, 08 1:45 pm

yes, stay out of Barcelona... 10,000 architects for a population of 7,000,000 is more than enough.. and your chances in front of a Catalan will be very limited (stayin' home we can accept lower pays than people coming from abroad.. unless you want to live under a Calatrava bridge)

Jun 23, 08 4:35 pm

@ Medit ==> In italy there are more architects than in all europe!

Jun 24, 08 3:21 am

what would be in Italy the ratio of architect per citizen...?
here now is like 1 architect per 700 citizens, that means the % of architects mortality (that is, professional mortality) is gettin' higher and higher... someone should launch a competition of ideas for an architects cemetery

I heard once, maybe a couple of years ago, that Catalonia (pop: 7,134,697 - area: 32,114 km² - density: 222.16/km²) had more practicing architects (total number) than the whole state of New York (pop: 18,976,457 - area: 141,299 km² - density: 155.18/km²), which I don't know if it's true or not but I can easily believe it

Jun 24, 08 12:01 pm

Atom, to clarify, I mean nigh on impossible, as in it can't be done.

Jun 24, 08 12:26 pm

What about denmark? Is that a difficult market to get into? Good economy, excellent social services - i believe overtime is typically paid. I would say Netherlands is already over-saturdated with foreign architects.
When people make so little money in architecture in Italy, why do people still go into it?

Jun 24, 08 12:41 pm

ehehe good question pressburg. For Denmark I don't know. Probably is a good choice.

Jun 24, 08 4:29 pm

A_tOm, how's it going with the US job search? Any luck?

Jul 13, 08 5:43 pm

10k-12k per year?! No wonder you want to work in the states. Jeez.

Gotta warn you though, in the states you work 40-45 hours / week and you only get 2 weeks vacation per year...

maybe that 12k ain't so bad if it comes with ACTUAL FREE TIME!

(**disclaimer: yes, i'm posting from the office on a beautiful sunday afternoon)

Jul 13, 08 6:22 pm

@ mantaray ==> I work 45/50 hours/week. Yes i have 5 weeks vacation per year but the salary is very low and the work really hard and intensive.

@pressburg ==> for now i'm learning a little bit more english language. I hope i can start in the us in september 2010. ;-P

Jul 14, 08 3:32 am

hello please help me i am a fresh graduate from the united arab emirates and i currently have the UA green card and i am wondering will i be able to work with my current degree in the states or i should be licensed to be able to work ?  

please help me.

Mar 21, 18 4:43 pm

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