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Associate Degree in Architecture: Requirements, Tuition and Universities


Associate Degree in Architecture

An associate’s degree in architecture is a two-year program offered by community colleges, vocational schools and technical colleges.

  • An associate’s degree in architecture is an undergraduate degree.
  • It is offered by community colleges, vocational schools and technical colleges.
  • It takes two years to complete.

It’s a two-year program that will allow you to work as an architectural technician or drafter, while also giving you a solid foundation if you want to transfer into a university architecture program later (and most students do).

The architecture program prepares students to become drafters, also called architectural aides, who work under the supervision of licensed architects on real-world design projects.

What is an Architectural Aide?

Architectural aides, also known as architectural draftsmen or drafters, are technical experts who assist licensed architects in designing building projects. Aides may make sketches and drawings from their architects’ verbal instructions, prepare blueprints for construction companies or create computer-assisted design (CAD) files that are used to manufacture certain types of parts for buildings. These specialists generally work under the supervision of a licensed architect who reviews their designs and ensures they meet regulations established by local building codes.

Responsibilities of an Architectural Aide

You can expect to spend a great deal of time creating highly technical illustrations as you learn how to become an architectural aide. The following are a few specific tasks you may be assigned:

  • Create specifications and estimates for building projects
  • Assist engineers with developing mechanical systems such as ventilation units, heating units and elevators
  • Develop detailed blueprints that describe how the construction process should proceed
  • Research the requirements and restrictions imposed by local government agencies

Qualifications for Becoming an Architectural Aide

Associate’s degree in architecture or related field required; bachelor’s degree preferred

Experience with CAD software preferred

Ability to read blueprints helpful

Strong attention to detail required

Ability to use drafting tools such as rulers, triangles and compasses required

The Associate of Applied Science in Architecture degree program provides students with basic training in drafting and design.

The Associate of Applied Science in Architecture (AAS in Architecture) degree program provides students with a foundation in drafting, design and construction methods. Students learn how to read architectural blueprints, develop floor plans and understand scale. They also learn about interior design and the legal aspects of an architect’s job. Students who graduate from this program are prepared to take the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) exam administered by The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). Passing this exam is a requirement for getting an architectural license.

Students enrolled in the AAS in Architecture degree program must complete general education courses as well as major-specific courses that teach them about sketching techniques, architectural rendering and basic computer applications for architecture. These programs also include a variety of studio art classes that provide students with practice in drawing structures and measuring rooms from different angles.

This course of study involves computer-aided design and drafting, architectural history and theory, architectural graphics and construction methods.

  • Learn how to use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software. This is a program some architects use to create maps and schematics of structures.
  • Study architectural history and theory. These are the classes that will teach you about the background of architecture, including many different styles throughout the world’s history.
  • Take courses that cover architectural graphics. You may be instructed on how to draw blueprints, or you may have to learn how to draw by hand as part of your coursework.
  • Master construction methods courses. In these classes, you’ll learn about many different aspects of building a structure, from estimating costs to selecting materials for the job at hand.
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Students typically begin coursework in general education subjects.

Although you’ll begin taking core classes in architecture in the first semester, most associate degree programs require that you complete a general education curriculum of English, math and science requirements, as well as the completion of your core classes.

Some schools allow students to transfer some credits from another institution if those classes are similar enough to those offered at their school. In other cases, you may be able to receive advanced placement (AP) credit for certain courses taken during high school with good scores on AP exams. These tests are administered by the College Board and can often fulfill gen ed or core course requirements for architecture degrees.

Once they transition into their major courses, they learn how to use computer software to create a blueprint, which is a detailed map that includes the building’s structural supports.

Once students transition into courses that are specific to their major, they learn more about what their future career will entail. For example, if you’re pursuing an associate degree in architecture, you’ll likely take classes that teach you how to use computer software to create a blueprint, which is a detailed map containing all of the structural supports for a building. Visualizing and understanding these aspects of a building’s design help architects meet the needs and expectations of their clients. There are many different types of software used to create blueprints, but some popular options include AutoCAD (short for Computer Aided Design) and ArchiCAD. These programs allow designers to digitally outline each element that goes into the final structure. In addition to providing information on support structures like columns and beams, blueprints also indicate where electric wiring should be placed so it won’t interfere with any other components within the structure.

Architectural aides assist architects at all steps of the design process.

Architectural aides assist architects at all steps of the design process. They often work with architects on design projects but also may work with building inspectors, contractors and suppliers. Architectural aides also might be involved in the development of commercial, industrial, institutional or residential structures.

The BLS reported that architectural aides earned a median annual salary of $43,000 as of May 2016.

Some graduates use their associate’s degree as a stepping stone to pursue a bachelor’s degree program in architecture.

Some graduates use their associate’s degree as a stepping stone to pursue a bachelor’s degree program in architecture. The BArch program is typically offered by schools of architecture, and classes usually include architectural design studios, architectural history, building materials and methods, construction methods, environmental systems and theory. Some programs also require students to complete an internship with an architect or other design professional before graduation.

Associate degrees in architecture are also available at the bachelor’s level as an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Architectural Drafting and Estimating Technology. This type of program prepares students for jobs as drafters or CAD technicians in the field of architecture. Students learn how to create complex technical drawings using computer-aided drafting software and may also study carpentry fundamentals or receive training in blueprint reading.

An associate’s degree in architecture can prepare you for an entry-level position as an architectural aide!

An Associate’s degree in Architecture is a two-year program offered by community colleges, vocational schools and technical colleges. Getting an Associate’s degree in Architecture prepares students to become drafters. As a drafter you will have the responsibility of creating building plans for new construction and remodeling projects. You will use computer software to create blueprints or technical drawings that include all the details needed by contractors to begin construction. You may also sketch designs and discuss them with engineers and clients.

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Universities offering Associate Degree in Architecture



Stark State College of Technology, located in North Canton, Ohio, offers an associate degree in architecture. You will learn about the fundamental principles of architecture. Coursework includes architectural history, design and drawing, geometrical constructions and residential building systems.

The program also provides you with field experience through internship opportunities.


You can apply for the Associate in Applied Science (AAS) at Mohawk Valley Community College. The institute also offers a three-year program in Civil Engineering Technology or Architecture, which is accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC) of ABET.

The civil engineering technology program focuses on both design and construction of buildings and other structures, while the architecture course introduces you to various aspects such as architectural history and theory, representation, building systems, construction methods, professional practices and development of architectural projects. The AAS degree prepares you for an entry-level job in the field or further studies at a four-year college.


Located in Hampton, Virginia, Thomas Nelson Community College is a two-year public school offering an Associate of Science in Architecture. This program is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) and provides students with the coursework necessary for certification as an architect. In their second year of study, you may have the opportunity to complete an internship that could lead to job offers from firms that employ interns.

Thomas Nelson Community College has a student population around 10,000. The college also offers online courses for individuals unable to attend classes on campus.


> Location: Alexander City, Alabama

> Cost: $5,160 – $9,480 per academic year; Additional fees may apply

> Program length: 2 years

> Program availability: Daytime (Traditional Schedules)

> Admission requirements: High school diploma or its equivalent with a minimum GPA of 2.0

In the Associate Degree in Architecture program at Alexander City State Junior College, you’ll learn about the fundamentals of building design and construction. You’ll practice translating ideas from the conceptual stage to blueprint drawings, as well as physical models. The program consists of two years’ worth of study and training on campus. In addition to coursework in architecture, you’ll be required to take general education courses in English composition, business math and humanities. Upon graduation from this program, you’ll be prepared for entry-level employment as an architectural drafter or technician. You can also earn credit hours after graduation which can then be applied toward a bachelor’s degree in architecture or related field of study at a four-year institution.


Rutgers University is a public research university in New Jersey, the state’s oldest and largest university. It is one of only nine colonial colleges established before the American Revolution and was designated a Land-Grant College in 1896. Rutgers is a member of the Association of American Universities, an organization comprised of 62 public and private universities that are considered to be leading research institutions in the US. As an AAU member, Rutgers demonstrates its dedication to excellence through its comprehensive undergraduate education, ongoing faculty development and research advances.


UNF is located in the city of Jacksonville, on a campus that operates out of 1,300 acres. It is part of the State University System of Florida and has over 16,000 students. It was founded in 1965 and its teams are known as the Ospreys.

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The university also has campuses throughout northern Florida where it offers study abroad programs, online education, Navy-Marine Corps ROTC programs, and a student-run radio station. UNF is also a member of the Sunshine State Conference for intercollegiate athletics.

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA – Grand Forks, North Dakota

  • Tuition: $7145 (in-state); $16,445 (out-of-state)
  • Enrollment: 15,000
  • Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota
  • Notable alumni include: Ed Helms, actor; Kim Cattrall, actress; and Mike McFeely, radio host.

UND’s School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture offers undergraduate degrees in architectural studies and landscape architecture. The school also offers graduate programs in architecture. Students in the Bachelor of Science degree program with an emphasis on architectural studies learn from experienced faculty who help them develop skills that prepare them for a career as an architect or to pursue graduate study. The curriculum blends art and science by combining traditional studio work with courses in engineering and construction management to provide students with a strong foundation in the artistic and technical aspects of design.


The PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY-MAIN CAMPUS is located in University Park, Pennsylvania. The university is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 45,445 students and an admission rate of 62%. The Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus has bachelor’s degree and post bachelor certificate programs in Architecture which graduated twenty-five and zero students respectively in 2008.

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus is a very large four year public college offering many disciplines along with the architecture major and located in University Park, Pennsylvania. This college was opened in 1855 and is presently offering bachelor’s degrees in General Architecture.

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus offers 1 Architecture Degree program. It’s a very large public university in a small city. In 2015, 39 students graduated in the study area of Architecture with students earning 26 Bachelor’s degrees, 10 Master’s degrees, 3 Doctoral degrees

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Location: California State Polytechnic University Pomona is located in Pomona, California. The school has a city setting.

Size: The school has 26,801 students.

Tuition & Fees: Total annual cost of attendance is $12,871 for in-state students and $22,969 for out-of-state students. Students can expect to pay the following costs at this school each year: $3,342 in tuition and $634 in fees.

Programs Offered: Architecture programs are offered at the associate’s level by this school. These include an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in Architecture and Architectural Drafting Technology/Technician with approximately 4 graduates completing this coursework every academic year.

These universities will provide you with an Associate Degree in Architecture.

There is no need to fret! We know that if you are reading this article, it probably means that architecture is your passion and you’re eager to get started as a student. So we put together a list of universities that offer an Associate Degree in Architecture for you. If you want to learn more about the specifics of their courses, simply click on the link in each university’s name.

One thing worth noting is that only one of these universities (University of North Dakota) offers an entry-level course which qualifies students for employment after graduation. However, all of these schools are reputable and respected institutions, so we strongly encourage you to click on as many links as possible and investigate each school’s unique offerings. Best of luck!

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