Is an accreditation from National Architectural Accrediting Board really that important?
The reason that an NAAB stamp-of-approval is important is because majority of the States out there use this as a requirement for someone to qualify for his or her architecture license. There are three breakdowns in degree considerations when it comes to accreditation: pre-professional archictecture degree, professional architecture degree, and post-professional architecture degree. Now, while a University or College may be accredited by their regional standards, the important thing to remember here is that you are looking for an approved NAAB accreditation to qualify for your architecture license. The only degrees that are approved by the NAAB are the programs that fall under the Professional Architecture Degrees category.
So what is the difference between the architecture school degree types?
Many times, architecture schools that only have one professional degree will also offer a pre-professional or post-professional degree. So let’s use one of the schools above as an example. Harvard University’s School of Architecture offers an NAAB accredited architecture program. The program that is accredited by the NAAB is their Master of Architecture degree. Quite possibly, Harvard University offers an undergraduate architecture program that would be considered a pre-professional degree (this might look something like: Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies, Bachelor of Art in Environmental Design, or something similar that pertains to architecture). These programs are usually only four years in length, but they lead to a Master of Architecture if the student wants to pursue that route.
After someone receives their pre-professional architecture degree, they have the opportunity to go on to a professional architecture program that is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. For students that have received a pre-professional degree, this schooling is usually shorter (in most cases, it is about 1 1/2 to 2 years of schooling). After they receive their professional degree, they are ready to move out into the workforce.
Do I have to have a pre-professional architecture degree to get into an NAAB approved architecture program?
No. So long as you have a regionally accredited (meaning that your University is accredited…and is not some “steal-your-money” school) Bachelors degree, majority of architecture schools will allow you to attend their program (provided, you exceed their minimum requirements). This option usually takes three years to complete.
Can I get attend an NAAB accredited architecture school for my Bachelors?
Absolutely! You just have to find a school that offers a Bachelor of Architecture program (here’s a link to a list of Architecture Schools by Degree). There are a lot more schools that offer Master of Architecture programs, but attending a professional degree program for undergraduate studies could possibly be a great path to take. Keep in mind that a Bachelor of Architecture degree usually takes 5 years to complete.
Visit Complete List of All NAAB Accredited Schools of Architecture for a list of all of the schools that offer a professional architecture program.