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Online Architecture Degree: 17 Best Programs in 2022

Male architect hands that earned an online architecture degree making model house

Many urban environments are beautifully designed by architects. With young people flocking to metropolitan areas, it’s no wonder many of them want to become architects themselves to design city squares, skyscrapers, and other buildings with an eye for aesthetics and sustainability. The first step to realizing this career goal is to research what it takes to become an architect. In this article, we will review the top online architecture degree programs.

What Are Architects?

Architects are experts in the planning and design of buildings or surrounding spaces. When a new structure is built, the builders use blueprints and other plans that an architect creates.

Architects develop the overall look and functionality of new structures by combining many smaller fields from geometry to environmental sustainability to graphic design. Architecture is a field that merges both art and science, making it a popular and somewhat multidisciplinary profession.

What Do Architects Do?

Depending on their exact job duties or employer, architects may be responsible for several tasks or projects. All told, architects may:

  • Run small architecture firms akin to a business manager
  • Plan or design buildings through the creation of blueprints or other design elements or files
  • Come up with new building designs
  • Consider how the aesthetic elements of buildings’ interiors and exteriors interact with the functional requirements for the structure
  • Incorporate plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and other aspects into building designs
  • Make sure the building designs fully satisfy zoning regulations, building codes, and other safety rules
  • Prepare detailed structural and material documents for construction companies
  • Work with contractors or constructors during the building construction process

Types of Architects

There are many different types of architects. These types include:

  • Design architects conceive the overall design for a building or broader project. They may also analyze the environment, building site, and unique requirements before beginning the planning process.
  • Technical architects develop the specific details of a building before construction begins. They may have a more significant role in construction administration compared to other architects
  • Interior design architects focus on the interior design and spatial limitations of newly constructed or modified buildings. They may also focus more on arranging movable elements within a building’s interior, such as the placement of power outlets, lighting placements, the arrangements of non-bearing doors and walls, etc.
  • Landscape architects focus on outdoor space design and construction, including gardens, parks, and zoos.
  • Project management architects work more as construction administrators and who oversee various architectural processes. They also observe and manage other types of architects throughout a given project.

How Much Do Architects Make?

Most architects enter this profession because of their love of structural design or because they are inspired by architectural projects like famous buildings or parks. But some are drawn to the work because they can earn a good living being an architect.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, architects can expect an average salary of $82,320 per year. The highest-paid architects can earn well over $130,000 per year, though they only acquire that high salary after several years of experience.

This salary is very competitive in most areas throughout the country.

How to Become an Architect

Whether you want to become an architect because of the salary, the job prospects, or the unique challenges that lie in the intersection of art and science, you’ll need to complete the following steps.

Related Resource: How to Become an Architect

Acquire an Architecture Degree

Firstly, you’ll need to acquire a degree related to architecture. There are two options available: a five-year undergraduate bachelor’s degree commonly called a B.Arch, and a graduate master’s program, an M.Arch. The latter degree choice usually takes between two and three years to finish.

You can find four-year bachelor’s degrees in architecture. But they may not be accredited (see below), and therefore not suitable for professionals who want to become licensed architects.

Do I Need an NAAB Accredited Online Architecture Degree?

The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) is the official and unbiased institution that accredits colleges and their architectural programs. You’ll need to acquire a degree from a NAAB-accredited university if you want to obtain state licensure to be a legally employed architect in your area.

In a nutshell, accreditation means that the program in question has enough rigor and up-to-date information to be valuable for new architects in the field.

Can You Get an Architecture Degree Online?

It’s crucial to acquire a NAAB-accredited degree no matter what, but many of these degrees are available through online programs. Like the options below, online programs are advantageous since many of them feature flexible scheduling requirements and are ideal for working professionals.

They are an excellent choice if you are an employed architect and want to acquire a graduate degree in the field. You can complete an online degree without quitting your job or leaving your architecture firm. And, the advanced degree will help you move up in the firm.

Get Experience

Secondly, you will need experience after you’ve acquired your degree in architecture. You can get experience by interning at a firm or by being hired by an architectural company. However, you won’t be able to work as a full architect until you are licensed.

As you acquire experience, your will work under the supervision of licensed architects. The exact timeframe for your supervised work varies from state to state; you can check your state’s requirements using the Architectural Experience Program Guidelines.

Take a Final Exam

Thirdly, you need to pass the Architectural Registration Examination (ARE), which is required by all city and state jurisdictions. This test, comprised of seven divisions, is used to certify that you are fully educated in architectural concepts and procedures.

Once you pass the test, you’ll receive licensure to operate in your local area. Then you can be hired as a full architect.

Apply for Jobs

After receiving your license, you can start applying to jobs at architecture firms, construction companies, or even create your own architecture company, depending on your experience and funds. The sky’s the limit once you are officially an architect!

17 Best Online Architecture Degree Programs in 2022

While there are many excellent schools with top-tier options to check out, many would-be architects don’t know where to start to find quality online architecture degree programs. With that in mind, let’s take a look at 17 of the best online architect programs available in 2022.

Online Associate Degrees

Nash Community College – AAS in Architectural Technology

  • Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 5 to 11 semesters

Nash Community College offers an affordable AAS in Architectural Technology. It is a good choice if you have a variable schedule or need a flexible degree program. For example, you can complete this program over five semesters to 11 semesters depending on how much time you have to study, whether you have to juggle a part-time job, and so on.

Even better, in-state residents for North Carolina will enjoy low tuition rates. Even if you want to attend this program from out-of-state, you’ll find that non-resident tuition is still reasonable. Application is straightforward and requires scores for standardized tests and a high school diploma with a reasonable minimum GPA.

The program’s material emphasizes construction document preparation, building codes, computer applications for architectural needs, and more.

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Academy of Art University – AA in Interior Architecture & Design

  • Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years

Academy of Art University offers a wide variety of online architectural programs, which is why you’ll see this school pop up in our list multiple times below. Its AA in Interior Architecture & Design is a straightforward and accessible program for students who may want to try out a few architect classes before proceeding into a BFA program.

The online program includes videos, live streams, and other well-designed lecturing elements to guarantee positive learning outcomes. Also, there is a high level of student support and interactive design of the educational curriculum. If you’re a military veteran, your application fee is waived, and there are lots of financial assistance opportunities available regardless, ranging from grants to scholarships.

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Academy of Art University – AA in Landscape Architecture

  • Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years

This university also offers an AA in Landscape Architecture, prioritizing technical and design skills for entry-level jobs in landscape architecture companies. Again, you can also use this degree to transition into a BFA program if you want to become a fully-fledged architect in the future.

Some of the courses focus on ecological design, sustainable architectural practices, drainage, people and how they relate to their environment. The online curriculum is as robust and well-designed as the on-campus counterpart. You’ll have to complete several projects, but you’ll get detailed instructor feedback with each completed course.

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Online Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture

Academy of Art University – Bachelor of Architecture

  • Credits: 162 credits
  • Program Length: 10 semesters

Academy of Art University returns once again with this bachelor’s degree in architecture. As a professional degree, it’s perfect for honing your critical thinking and artistic sensibilities as they relate to architectural design. It takes about ten semesters to complete; you could complete this degree more quickly if you have an associate degree in a related field.

As with all of Academy of Art University’s online programs, you’ll find a well-designed spread of online courses, live streams, and other innovative tools to make your online education engaging. This degree focuses more on architectural design and practical skills, making it great to acquire experience before proceeding into the architectural workforce.

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Academy of Art University – BA in Architectural Design

  • Credits: 132 credits
  • Program Length: 8 semesters

This BA in Architectural Design emphasizes many architectural topics such as core architectural design, urban history, building construction, and architectural sustainability. It’s also great for online students since it doesn’t require as many credits as other online architectural degree programs.

It also includes a variety of liberal arts credits to broaden your educational horizons. The online program offers several excellent aspects, including peer collaboration, feedback from your instructors, and well-made online course modules with videos and interactive elements.

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Academy of Art University – BFA in Interior Architecture & Design

  • Credits: 132 credits
  • Program Length: 8 semesters

This BFA in Interior Architecture & Design is yet another stellar offering from the Academy of Art University. It focuses on online education for designing the interiors of buildings and includes many of the same courses and elements as the above degree program.

More importantly, this program is fully accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. Therefore, graduates will be prepared to take the National Council for Interior Design Exam and acquire additional certifications.

The course material teaches you to combine beauty and functionality. There are also courses focusing on innovative or sustainable architectural technologies, plus various liberal arts courses to provide you with a well-rounded experience. The online materials include video content, instructor feedback modules, and peer interactions and collaboration opportunities.

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Academy of Art University – BFA in Landscape Architecture

  • Credits: 132 credits
  • Program Length: 8 semesters

Academy of Art University’s Landscape Architecture BA is great for students who want to get entry-level jobs in landscape design. It features a solid foundation in liberal arts and offers the opportunity to take multiple electives.

More to its point, the program teaches students about technical processes relating to landscape architecture, historical perspectives that may influence architectural decisions, and the natural environment. It’s perfect for students who want to learn more about visual perception and landscape design fundamentals.

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Athabasca University – Bachelor of Science in Architecture

  • Credits: 120 credits
  • Program Length: 2-6 years

Athabasca University’s BS in Architecture is the first online architectural program in Canada, and it’s available to students around the world. It has flexible scheduling that takes into consideration your needs. The degree can be completed in four years or more or less. You can also transfer credits for prior coursework to accelerate your degree process.

The program can also be taken as a postgraduate certificate if you already have a degree in another subject but want to change your career to fit the architectural industry.

Tuition rates are reasonable, both for in-country and international students.

The program has a robust online curriculum, welcoming professors, an excellent network of peer feedback tools, and much more. The program’s subject material emphasizes community and environmental sustainability practices. Therefore, it’s great for future architects who plan to specialize in urban planning and construction.

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Online Architecture Master’s Degree

Lawrence Technological University – Master of Architecture

  • Credits: 90 credits
  • Program Length: 15-months to 2 years

Lawrence Technological University offers this degree program almost entirely online. However, you’ll have to complete a single course named Critical Practice Studio on-campus during a few weekends over your summer semester. Regardless, the online program overall is synchronous with on-campus lessons. It’s easy to keep track of your schedule and collaborate with your peers or professors.

If you already have an undergraduate degree in architecture or a related field, you could complete this master’s program in about 15 months. It’s an attractive online master’s program due to its small class sizes and reasonable tuition rates. It’s an excellent choice for both international and US students. In most cases, you need a 3.0 GPA to be admitted unless you have professional experience as an architect.

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Chatham University – MS in Interior Architecture

  • Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 1-2 years

Chatham University’s MS in Interior Architecture can be taken either as an online or hybrid degree (the latter of which mixes both in-person and online classes). It’s designed for architectural professionals who already have an undergraduate degree in interior architecture or design.

The resulting program is flexible and can be taken part-time. On top of that, students can acquire supervised teaching experience if they want to become an architectural professor or mentor later in their careers. The program material emphasizes sustainability. Hence, it’s excellent for architects who already prioritize such elements in their work.

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Boston Architectural College – Master of Architecture

  • Credits: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 2.5 years

Boston Architectural College is explicitly designed for architects who are currently working and already have an undergraduate degree in the field. It is a low residency program and requires a single on-campus learning session that lasts eight days each semester.

It’s also a cohort program. You simultaneously progress through the material with your peers, benefiting from the collaborative projects you’ll complete together. On the downside, you won’t be to complete this program at an accelerated rate.

The program offers practical experience and online lectures. It also requires 3000 hours of architectural practice, which can be completed at your current architectural job. The online coursework focuses on more advanced architectural concepts and leverages graphic, audio, and text teaching tools.

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University of Missouri – Columbia – MA in Architectural Studies

  • Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: Variable

The University of Missouri’s Columbia campus offers an online master’s degree in architectural studies. This program’s material emphasizes behavioral studies and environmental sustainability, with many of the courses examining the connection between environments and people. Other courses examine housing and neighborhood design, facility management, and the aesthetics of design.

More importantly, this online program is incredibly flexible and can be completed at your own pace, making it great for working architects. Tuition is affordable. It’s ultimately an outstanding graduate degree program for students who wish to teach architecture or work at environmental design firms.

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Academy of Art University – Master of Architecture

  • Credits: 2 years or less
  • Program Length: 63 or 87 credits

Academy of Art University offers a plethora of online master’s degrees in architecture as well. This generalized master’s degree is available in two tracks. The first is a 63 credit program for architects who already have a pre-professional degree in the field. The second is an 87 credit program for would-be architects who don’t have a pre-professional degree.

Regardless, you can complete the degree in a truncated time if you already have experience in architectural jobs. The program culminates in a thesis project, and the coursework will teach you about the technical and design elements of advanced architectural jobs. The online curriculum is robust and well-designed.

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Academy of Art University – MA in Interior Architecture & Design

  • Credits: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 3 semesters or more

This MA in Interior Architecture & Design is an extension of the Academy of Art University’s bachelor’s degree of the same name. It’s fantastic if you want to qualify for professional architectural practices and features a multifaceted, dynamic online curriculum.

Interaction with your professors and peers is expected, and the courses include interviews with experts, slideshows, and other excellent online learning elements. The classes focus on programming, color and material use, and human social and spatial interaction with spaces.

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Academy of Art University – MFA in Interior Architecture & Design

  • Credits: 63 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years

This program is similar to the above, but it emphasizes more liberal arts courses. The National Council fully accredits it for Interior Design so that students can take that exam. The advanced coursework focuses on global issues, the use of materials, and architectural techniques and how they impact the environment and people. It also requires students to complete and defend a thesis and produce and research documents over their studies.

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Academy of Art University – MFA in Landscape Architecture

  • Credits: 63 or 87 credits
  • Program Length: 6-8 semesters

This Master of Fine Arts in Landscape Architecture program is also available in two tracks: one for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in architecture and the other for those who don’t. In either case, the program requires the completion of a thesis project, and the coursework focuses on architectural design, research, and communication. It is an excellent choice for future leaders in the architectural field.

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Academy of Art University – MA in Landscape Architecture

  • Credits: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters

Academy of Art University’s MA in Landscape Architecture is an excellent graduate program for students who currently work in other fields or industries. It offers courses in the design of public spaces, site engineering, environmental design, and much more.

Remember that this program isn’t meant to be a professional preparation course for future landscape architects. However, it is an excellent choice for multitalented individuals whose careers could benefit from advanced architectural knowledge.

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Start an Online Architecture Degree Today

In the end, any of the above online architecture degree programs could be an excellent pick for your unique professional goals, time requirements, and educational experience. Consider each degree program carefully, then apply – your path to a future in architecture is within reach!

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