BS in Architecture in the Philippines

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Program Overview

The Bachelor of Science in Architecture (BSArch) is a 5-year college degree intended for people who wish to pursue a career in Architecture. Architectural education provides students with knowledge and skills in planning, designing and constructing buildings taking into account the principles of utility, strength and aesthetics.

The BS in Architecture curriculum comprises of CHED-mandated general education courses; technical subjects in Math, Science and Basic Engineering; and professional Architecture courses presented thru classroom lectures, laboratory classes and studio design activities.

Keeping abreast with the current trends in Architectural industry, most schools provide technologically upgraded studio facilities for the study of computer aided designs.

The BS in Architecture program in the Philippines is offered in ladder type curriculum:

The first three years put emphasis on providing opportunities for the students to draw and design with a sense of quality and technical expertise; to develop visual perception, and to understand construction as a means of communication of principles. Upon satisfactory completion of the prescribed courses at certain level, students will be granted Certifications for the technical skills acquired, such as Certificate in Drafting Technology; Certificate in Building Technology and Utilities; and Certificate in CADD.

The last two years are used to plan actual projects and explore the more detailed spatial and visual considerations and to gain knowledge in computer science as applied to Architecture. Special emphasis is given on the importance of research as evidenced by the thesis requirement for the course. Additionally, the knowledge and understanding of the ethical guidelines of the profession is a significant component of the program. (source)

Is Architecture a profession?

Architecture is a profession. A graduate of BS in Architecture who passed the Architecture Licensure Examination is called an Architect. An Architect is technically defined as a person professionally and academically qualified, registered and licensed under Republic Act No. 9266 with a Certificate of Registration and Professional Identification Card issued by the Professional Regulatory Board of Architecture and the Professional Regulation Commission.

What are the admission requirements for BSArchi?

Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the common requirements:
  • Must be a high school graduate. Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers admission.
  • Must pass the college entrance examination
  • Must pass the interview conducted by the college / university admission officer
  • Some schools require particular rating in the National Secondary Assessment Test (NSAT)
  • Some schools require particular high school grade or gross point average

What skills will help you succeed in this course?

  • Artistic talent and Drawing skills
  • Technical Skills – the ability to accomplish mathematical, engineering, scientific or computer–related duties
  • Creativity
  • Analytical skills – the ability to visualize, articulate, and solve problems.
  • Basic Mathematical skills – the ability to solve and use different computational methods
  • English skills – the ability to read, write and converse in English as most technical literature is in English.
  • Interpersonal skills – will help you in studying together with classmates, doing group assignments and forming connections with friends and colleges.

How difficult is this course?

BS in Architecture is both interesting and challenging. Natural artistic talent plays a big part into it, as this profession requires a lot of drawing skills and creativity. Students are expected to draw extensively and build chipboard models or building prototypes. The course also requires numerical proficiency used for cost estimation, surveying, structural load and other mathematical computations. Production of the required drawing projects and presentation materials require lots of hard work, patience and careful attention to details. But since Architecture is not just a science but also an art, a passionate student who overcomes these challenges might really enjoy studying Architecture.

How long does it take to complete BS in Architecture in the Philippines?

Normally, the BSArchi takes 5 years to complete (Note: this may change due to the K-12 integration). The program may be completed in a shorter time in schools that follow the trimestral curriculum.

On The Job Training / Internship

CHED Memorandum Order no.61 mandates that Schools of Architecture shall have an active and organized program for on-the-job and diversified training for its students which shall include: assistance in organizing student employer interviews; maintenance of a job-available card file with an index of potential local employers; and if needed, assistance to employers, and fast transfer of students' academic transcripts to speed up the employment process.

The Board Exam

An Architecture graduate needs to take and pass the Architectural Licensure Examination (ALE) before he/she can practice as a Licensed Architect. The examination is conducted by the Board of Architecture under the supervision of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

The licensure examination for Architects shall cover the following subjects: History and Theory of Architecture; Principles of Planning and Architectural Practice; Structural Design, Building Materials, Urban Design and Architectural Interiors; and Architectural Design and Site Planning and Architectural Specifications, and Methods of Construction and Utilities. (source, sec.14)

Most Architecture students who completed the regular 5-year course opt to review for several months before the January licensure exam. However, those who finished the course on irregular time-frame typically choose the March examination date. Review programs are usually provided for by the school. However, some students decide on enrolling at specialized review centers.

Career opportunities for BSArchi graduates

  • Jobs for licensed Architects (board exam passers)

    • Entry Level jobs
      Jobs requiring no prior to minimal level of experience:
      • Junior Architect – works in a construction firm and are involved with designing new buildings, extensions or alterations to existing buildings, or advising on the restoration and conservation of old properties.
      • Junior Design Architect – works under the senior design architect and helps in rendering and building proto-types to demonstrate design concepts
      • Computer-Aided Design (CAD) or Computer-Aided Design and Draft (CADD) Architect – uses CAD systems application to create electronic versions of the technical drawings and design plans for buildings and machinery.
      • Building Surveyors – often work on preventative measures to keep buildings in good condition and look to make buildings sustainable.
    • Advanced Positions
      Require years of extensive experience and practice:
      • Principal Architect – a licensed architect who owns an architecture firm or one who shares an ownership interest with the other architects in the firm.
      • Architectural project manager – work closely with the construction project manager and coordinate the work of the design team and manage communication with the client. The issues of budget, scheduling, and quality-control are the responsibility of the Project Manager in an architect's office.
      • Architectural Technologists are architectural specialists who turn the concept into reality in the completed construction. Concerned with the technical side of design, ensure that an attractive functional building performs successfully by making sure that the right materials are used and that building regulations are met.
      • Building Conservation Officer – advises on and promotes the protection of the historic environment and, in particular, its long-term care, preservation and enhancement of enlisted buildings within conservation areas.
      • Senior Design Architect – have experience in strategic master planning, and is responsible for managing assigned architecture projects, including development of concept drawings and designs, and meeting client expectations, while ensuring work is within project scope, meets the project schedule deadlines and is within budget.
      • Architecture Researcher – researches, designs and develops solutions to highly complex and technical issues, designs system architecture, workflows, data flows and databases; recommends solutions to highly complex problems to provide technical direction on systems analysis, design, development and testing.
      • Academician – architects who are faculty members, instructors, and professors in an institution that offers Architectural course
  • Jobs for Non Board Passers:

    • Intern Architect or architectural intern is a person who has successfully completed a professional degree in architecture and works under the supervision of a licensed architect and preparing for professional registration exams or licensure as an architect.
    • AutoCAD Operator or Technician – uses computer software to help Architects and Engineers to prepare blueprints and drawings. These are very significant in creating a whole lot of products, which include manufactured items, structures and buildings.
    • Industrial Product Designers – create a wide range of items, from everyday products, such as mobile phones, household appliances and cars, to larger items, such as industrial tools, equipment and machinery
  • Jobs not related to architecture that graduates can apply to

    • Call center agent – answers phone calls and inquiries of clients and provides customer support, usually to people from other countries
    • Administrative Staff – personnel responsible for the organization and management of office duties and tasks; positions that include office secretary, personal assistant and office clerk
    • Freelancer working online – doing online jobs for clients abroad, such as data entry, article writing, SEO, customer support, administrative support etc., which mainly depends on your skills
  • Career Opportunities Abroad

    There are plenty of job opportunities overseas for Filipino Architects, Draftsman, AutoCAD Operators and other Architectural related positions are available in East Asia, Australia and the Middle East. (source).
  • Salary Levels

    The salary range of professional architects in the Philippines with 1–4 years experience ranges from php15,000 to php18,000 per month, while those with more experience and in the more advanced positions can earn between php25,000 and php40,000 per month (source).

    Salaries for those who work abroad are generally much higher.

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Reviews of BS in Architecture graduates:

P. H.
◈ Studied BS in Architecture
◈ At University of the Philippines Diliman
◈ Graduated 2010

list bulletAbout my college education: BS Architecture has never been an easy course to take up. Being the marriage of art and science, the course demands some solid knowledge and passion for both fields. An aspiring architect should not only be able to design aesthetically-pleasing structures, but only be knowledgeable on how it would be supported, plus an understanding of how people are going to benefit from it - the approach really is multi-disciplinary. Nevertheless, studying architecture, especially in UP Diliman, is both enjoyable and challenging. The enjoyment comes after challenges are surmounted. One has to have a complete toolkit of skills in order to become a UP Arki. The early stages of the project/plate would involve lots of decision-making, thus, analytical and critical thinking are vital as well as creativity in order to come up with an interesting and relevant concepts. Production of the required drawings and presentation materials would then require lots of hard has to be prepared to lose sleep for several nights, work fast and be meticulous with the details. Once the outputs are prepared, presenting the product is another obstacle to hurdle as this would require great amount of confidence, good communication and presentation skills, and conviction to stand by the principles you based your project/plate upon. As I have said, it is only after surmounting all these challenges that one realizes that studying architecture is really enjoyable - that is, if you have a passion for it.

list bulletMy current job: I am currently an Architect at a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) handling projects for potential implementation by the national government. This is my second job as I used to work as a junior project coordinator, and later junior architect after taking the licensure examinations, at a design and build firm.

list bulletAm I using what I learned in college: Everything that I learned at the university can be considered as 'practical' as they are implementable with the current building technologies. I could say, though, that they really become 'useful' at certain opportunities. Not only were the lessons inside the classrooms informative and beneficial, but the ones learned outside the classroom are also of the same value. The desire to be creatively innovative and create meaningful places for people cannot all be read in textbooks but through exposure to various elements influential to one's design preferences. Filtering them with the values we acquired results to our own approach to the design process and our 'signature' emerges.

Of course, in professional practice, we do not use those long formulas for determining the size of a beam, because experts are doing it for us and tools are already available for our consumption. It is the lesson on maintaining competitiveness and integrity in our work that is more important and are actually applicable in our everyday lives as professionals.

Now, to be more specific, I benefited from the computer lessons given us - gaining basic know-how on the software and other tools available, construction standards taught to us still have not changed and so are applicable. Building technologies are constantly being improved, so what we were taught before are realities today and are starting to become mainstream in the construction industry. While mastery of the things being taught to us will give us good grades, mastering the art of flexibility and being fearless to try out new things will give us an interesting career, to say the least.

list bulletHow long did it take to find a job: Even before graduation, I participated in a job fair held at the college and submitted my resume hoping that one of the companies present would hire me. It was barely a month after my graduation that I found myself hired under a design and build firm.

list bulletDo I recommend studying Architecture: Yes, I would recommend BS Architecture to anyone who is passionate about it. It is not for everyone, but having the right qualities for an aspiring architect, the course would be enjoyable and even surprisingly refreshing!

In terms of employment opportunities, there is an uptrend in the construction industry worldwide and architects and other design professionals will be in demand. There are also a number of roles an architect could assume should he/she prefer to stay here in the Philippines.

The work of an architect is very much fulfilling, especially upon seeing what was only in paper before now stands as a three-dimensional object before your eyes and is enjoyed by people. The profession also demands that an architect be updated with the current trends in the industry especially the tools, materials, and technologies available in order to keep his/her projects interesting.

Salary levels vary greatly depending on the company you are with. Try to land on a good company for maximal benefits of course. But, that does not mean small and medium-scale companies are no good. They may still offer good compensation packages especially for those with good tenure. Salary levels outside the country are of an entirely different league, though.

In general, being an architect is really a rewarding's how one uses his/her profession that still defines success.
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