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Architecture is both and art and a science. Not only must all of your homes and buildings be beautiful and impressive, but they must also be able to stand on their own and endure the wear and tear of regular use. Thus, you need both a creative eye and a good understanding of mechanics, engineering, and math.

Architecture school as a first step

Because proficiency in creativity and mechanics are sometimes hard to achieve, you'll definitely want to attend architecture school first. Even if you are quite adept, you'll need to complete formal training as it is required by law. Thereafter, you'll need to complete your licensing before you can call yourself an architect, from which point on, you will be legally responsible for your work. If a building collapses, you're the one to blame.

A career with plenty of room for growth

The learning curve in architecture is tremendous. And with the arrival of computer aided design (CAD), you can help create more buildings in less time. If the average median salary for architects was $56,000 in 2002, it will only be higher if you can produce more output, more quickly. And because you are often your own boss, you get to call the shots. Reject or accept projects as you feel fit. Work from your home studio (in a home you created) or from an office downtown (hopefully a building you created). Frequently, you will make onsite inspections to ensure that the builders are remaining faithful to your carefully drafted blueprints and instructions. And thanks to urban sprawl and renewal, there will be plenty of work for you in the years to come.

Publish date: February 10, 2011