The Voice for Texas Architecture

TxA High School Certificate Program

Allowing students to begin their architectural education while still in high school.

TxA High School Certificate Program

Allowing students to begin their architectural education while still in high school.

The Texas Society of Architects has created a dual credit architecture certificate program for implementation at various high schools across the state of Texas. Through this program, students have an opportunity to begin their foundational architectural education for college credit while they are still in high school, and then transfer into either an associate degree program at a local community college or an accredited architecture program at a university. These pages provide information for:

  • Community college and high school administrators interested in establishing the certificate program in their community
  • High school students thinking about entering the profession.
  • Local AIA components interested in supporting the creation of a program in their area.

For the TxA High School Certificate Program, the community college is responsible for developing and reporting on the certificate award, as well as ensuring that the program meets standards for higher education in the state of Texas, such as requirements for instructor credentialing and measurement of course learning outcomes. This page contains resources to assist the program coordinator of an architectural/drafting technology program at community college in developing an architecture certificate program in the local community.

Checklist for Developing a Dual Credit Architecture Certificate Program

  • Identify the higher education institution with an Architecture/Drafting Technology program in the area. Determine if this institution wishes to engage in this program. If so, identify the Program Coordinator from the community college that will oversee this dual credit program.
  • Identify high schools and/or independent school districts that already have early college architecture programs that do not earn college credit, or that are good candidates to accommodate the program.
  • Identify if there is a Memorandum of Understanding in place already for other academic courses between the two institutions. If so, the college only needs to be concerned with the architecture program portion. If not, contact the college’s designated early college programs director to establish one. See Sample Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Conduct an initial planning meeting with all parties involved. See “Topics to Consider During Initial Planning Meeting” section below.
  • Develop an appropriate Dual Credit Architecture Certificate curriculum which fulfills the requirements of the Texas Society of Architects (TxA) curriculum template. See Program Requirements: Template.
  • TSI Testing: If one of the introductory architecture courses is listed as an approved General Education Core course, such as ARCH 1311 Introduction to Architecture or ARCH 1301 Architectural History I, then these courses will require TSI Testing to determine college ready placement levels for Reading, English, and Math skills.  Currently, all Level I Certificates in Texas are TSI level exempt.  Therefore, any certificate program that contains a General Education Core course at their institution must develop their dual credit program along with a Level II Certificate program containing 30 minimum to 51 maximum semester credit hours.
  • Certificates that Support a Field of Study Architecture Transfer Associates Degree: If the certificate program being developed supports a transfer degree that follows the THECB Field of Study in Architecture, then that certificate can only include courses from the Field of Study curriculum list.
  • Register your dual credit program with TxA. See “Registering Your Program” section below.
  • Implement the program. Keep records of the list of students enrolled and graduates of the program. Keep assessment documentation.
  • The program coordinator shall send an annual update to TxA to maintain the certificate endorsement.


Topics to Consider During Initial Planning Meeting

  • How will the course content be delivered? Options include: On campus (traditional method), online, or hybrid led by an Instructor of Record – OR – On the high school campus led by a facilitator or Instructor of Record. If more than 50% of the courses offered in the degree plan are taught on a separate campus, such as a high school, then a Sub C application must be filed. The list of courses includes general academic courses such as English and History if in the degree plan. This duty is the responsibility of the director of early college programs at the college institution.
  • What courses should be included in this certificate? Is this an existing certificate that is already listed with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), or does this certificate need to go through the institution’s curriculum approval process? Get with the cooperating community college to determine appropriate curriculum.
  • If the courses are taught on the high school campus, do the courses needed to be aligned with courses listed in in the high school’s course catalogue? If so, which courses?  See High School/College Course Alignment Structures.
  • How will the program be assessed to ensure that its level of quality remains high?

Full Course Catalogue (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board)

Registering Your Program

To register your program with TxA and have it appear on our Community Colleges page, email us.

The success of the dual credit architecture certificate program depends on relationships with educators at the high schools, as well as resources at this level to implement the program. The following links delineate guided pathways into the architectural profession and briefly describe the various components of this program. These resources are intended to help high school counselors better understand and be able to assist students in navigating these guided pathways into the architectural profession.


Architecture Pathway

Lear about high school endorsement options for students interested in architecture.


Certificate Program Requirements


Participating Schools [Coming Soon]

A list of community colleges and high schools in Texas participating in the TxA High School Dual Credit Architecture Certificate Program.

This section answers frequently asked questions about the TxA High School Certificate Program, which allows you to begin working on your architectural studies while you are still in high school. It also describes the different paths you can take to become a licensed architect.

I am interested in architecture as a career. Can I really begin architecture studies in high school?

Yes! One such pathway would be to complete a dual credit certificate program in architecture. A dual credit program allows a junior or senior in high school to earn college credit while completing a high school degree.

Courses specified in the dual credit certificate program developed by the Texas Society of Architects (TxA) align with some of the course requirements for Associate degrees at two-year technical or community colleges. Similarly, some of the course credits for the Associate degree will align with some of the degree requirements for Bachelor degrees in architecture at Texas universities.

Where required courses align, it may be possible to obtain the dual credit certification while satisfying an endorsement in Architecture and Construction (a part of Business and Industry endorsement as established by Texas House Bill 5 in 2013).

What advantage will the dual credit certificate in architecture give me?

The dual credit certificate allows for the transfer of credits from successfully completed courses to be applied to foundation coursework required for a college Associates degree. Additional transfer credits may be achieved depending on the curriculum agreements established by your high school and their community college partner.

You will have greater access to instructors with expertise in architecture since the courses will either be taught by college faculty or by high school instructors meeting the equivalent educational credentials.

Are there additional ways to prepare for university architectural studies?

After high school graduation, some students enter a university school of architecture, but many students enter architecture studies at the community college level. Attending a community or technical college will allow students to acclimate to college studies while earning a two-year Associates degree. Completion of core curriculum courses such as English, History, Mathematics, and Government will transfer to four-year institutions provided course grades and course content meet the transfer requirements of the receiving university.

Maximizing the credits taken at the community college level will help to lower the cost of your college education. Tuition for community college varies across the state; however, community college costs may be 3 to 10 times less expensive than that of a four-year institution.

Some of the community colleges with established transfer procedures to university schools of architecture are listed on this site.

I am ready to pursue an architecture degree at the university level. The programs in architecture seem to vary greatly across the state. What are the main differences?

There are many pathways to become a licensed architect but most require a professional accredited degree in architecture. The titles of the various degrees differ from university to university but typically, six years of study are required to obtain the professional Master of Architecture degree.

Academic advisors may reference the 4 + 2 programs, which means that a four-year Bachelor’s degree, either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, followed by a two-year Master of Architecture degree would comprise the first professional degree in architecture.

Similarly, some universities offer a five-year Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arch) which is also considered a professional degree. Many students pursue an additional year of graduate studies following a B.Arch, in order to complete the Master of Architecture degree. For those interested in teaching at a university level, a Master of Architecture is required and preferably a Ph.D.

What is an accredited degree?

Eight universities in Texas with schools/colleges of architecture have been accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). One must obtain a degree from a NAAB approved program in order to take the architecture licensing exam in Texas.

After obtaining a professional degree, are there any additional requirements to become a licensed architect?

In addition to the professional degree requirements, you must also document your hours of experience working under a licensed architect through the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) and pass the Architect Registration Exam (ARE). Both of these requirements are administered through the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and are required in most jurisdictions in order to apply for a state architecture license.

Who should I contact if I have questions about dual credit programs in architecture available in my school district?

First contact your high school counselor to direct you to the affiliated community or technical college partnering with your high school to offer dual credit certification programs.

The success of this dual credit architecture certificate program depends on two important parties: the community college, which creates and assesses the award, and the high school or independent school district that will implement the program.

Benefits of the High School Certificate Program

  • Recruit future architects.
  • Educate future clients and city planners on the importance of architects to the community.
  • Promote architectural design and the profession.

How can AIA components/chapters bring this program to their communities?

  1. Identify a community college or university offering a degree in the architectural field and a high school willing to offer architecture courses to their students.
  2. Develop and implement curriculum based on the template and resource toolkit found in the section  “Resources for Community College Administrators” above.
  3. Register the college and high school program with TxA; email us for the Program Registration Form.