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How to be an Architect in the Philippines

How to be an Architect in the Philippines

Becoming a licensed architect in the Philippines takes about 7 years. Read on to learn what you have to do to get there.

It’s not an easy path to be an architect in the Philippines. It’s not just a five-year course, in fact, preparation could take up to 7-10 years. 

And it’s not only time-consuming. It also requires a lot of grit and patience to get through. 

If you’re thinking about becoming an architect, it helps to figure out what to expect. Here are the things you need to go through, and how long it can take to get through them.

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How to Become an Architect in the Philippines

To become an architect in the Philippines, you need to take the BS Architecture Course, practice 2 years of apprenticeship, and pass the Architecture Licensure Exam (ALE). 

Taking certain subjects in your senior high can also help. Let’s break down these steps in detail.

Step 1: Know which senior high track to take

You probably don’t need to strictly decide to become an architect by senior high. But it could help you in the long run if you take the right subjects.

When I took up B.S. Architecture, we still didn’t have the K-12 system in the Philippines. And I didn’t take any drafting classes to give me a head start.

Now that senior high tracks are available, here are the benefits you could take from each strand:

Benefits of S.T.E.M.

If you’re starting from senior high school, S.T.E.M. or the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics strand could be a good choice since Architecture is a technical course. 

In this strand, you’ll encounter Earth Science, Pre-calculus and Basic Calculus, and Physics — which are all subjects I’ve encountered as “minors” during my university years. 

This strand is particularly for those who will choose a career involving Science and Mathematics and since Architecture is a Bachelor of Science degree, this is the strand you might want to take.

Benefits of the Art and Design Track

The Arts and Design Track are for those aspiring artists who wish to express their creativity. Since Architecture is both a technical and a creative course, this could also be for you.

In this track, you’ll be taught the general knowledge of the arts such as dance, theatre, media, music, visual arts, and photography — all of which are hobbies of a lot of architecture students I know.

Depending on your subjects, you could also learn computer aided design (CAD) software such as AutoCAD, Google Sketch Up, Photoshop, VRAY, and 3DS Max. These are heavily used in the field.

It’s not certain that you’ll get to learn them in university. It would depend on the school’s curriculum. In my experience, many of us have taught ourselves to learn these architecture software. That means, learning them ahead of time could be extremely helpful.

The real path to architecture begins at university. The next step is to take the 5-year architecture course.

How to be an Architect in the Philippines

Step 2: Take the 5-year BS Architecture course

Unlike most degrees, BS Architecture takes 5 years to finish. This could include summer terms depending on the university you go to. That means there’s not a lot of vacation.

You can expect a heavy workload throughout with the number of courses to study. That’s why sadly, many students develop bad habits to keep up.

What subjects are required to become an architect in the Philippines?

This likely depends on the architecture school you go to. But generally, architecture courses include:

  • Architecture Drafting
  • Theory of Architecture
  • Visual Technique
  • Architectural Design
  • Building Techniques
  • History of Architecture
  • Building Utilities
  • Professional Practice and Professional Ethics
  • Engineering Science
  • Architectural Structures
  • Planning
  • Surveying
  • Specializations

For specializations, you might study:

  • Tropical Design
  • Heritage Conservation
  • Housing
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Environmental Management
  • Architectural Interiors

There are many career paths after getting an architecture degree. But since you want to become an architect, you’ll have to go through 2 years of apprenticeship next.

How to be an Architect in the Philippines

Step 3: Experience 2 years of apprenticeship

You can’t take the ALE without completing a specific number of hours of apprenticeship. During this part of your career, you’re technically still not an architect. However, you could be called a “junior architect”.

They say that the exam is approximately 30% theoretical and 70% based on experience which is why this 2-year apprenticeship is required. That means, you’ll need to experience a lot of learning in the field.

Keep in mind that the type of experience you’ll have will depend on the architecture firm you’ll work in. You’ll also be filling an architectural logbook which will contain all your work experiences. Your supervising architect will need to sign it. It’s another requirement to take the ALE.

How to be an Architect in the Philippines

Step 4: Take the Architecture Licensure Board Exam (ALE)

Once you complete the hours, it’s time to take the architecture board exam. Some people take a break from their work to review for the exam. But that’s up to you. 

The review generally lasts up to 6 months. Personally, I think review schools help especially with the mock exams. You’ll want to schedule your review based on which time of year you’ll be taking the exam.

After your review, it’s all about waiting for your scheduled exam date. After the exam, all you got to do is wait for the results. Obviously, passing means you’ve become an officially licensed architect of the Philippines!

How to be an Architect in the Philippines

What is an Architect?

An architect is a professional who designs spaces and buildings and typically oversees their construction. Through planning, an architect can solve problems to help optimize the use of space. 

Architects with specializations can also serve as consultants. There are architects who’ve mastered landscaping, urban planning, and interior design. In most cases, they work with allied professionals such as engineers and land developers.

Are architects in demand in the Philippines?

There’s a rising demand for architects in the Philippines due to the number of construction opportunities. But keep in mind that Architecture is a competitive industry. There are thousands of architecture graduates yearly.

Many of them also pass the architecture licensure exam to become licensed architects. You can expect 1,000 to 2,000 newly licensed architects every year.

Do architects get paid well in the Philippines?

Your salary depends on the architecture firm you’ll be working for and the level of experience you have. You can expect around Php 20,000 to Php 40,000 for your monthly salary if you’re licensed.

To learn more about how architects earn and how much to expect, you can read our article on architecture salary.

How many years does it take to become an architect in the Philippines?

The BS Architecture course takes at least 5 years to finish. But you’ll have to work as an apprentice for another 2 years after, before taking the board exam. That’s a total of 7 years before becoming a licensed architect.

As an architecture apprentice, you’ll be working the job of an architect with an architect’s assistance. You can work on-site or in an office. You can perform drafting work or design spaces. The experience will vary.

In Summary

To be an architect in the Philippines, you’ll have to take on the 5-year course and 2 years of apprenticeship. But taking certain subjects in senior high can give you a boost in experience.

The last step will be to take the architecture licensure exam (ALE). Passing gets you a license which is required to legally practice architecture in the country.

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