The Voice for Texas Architecture

TxA High School Certificate Program

The Texas Society of Architects has created a dual credit architecture certificate program for implementation at various high schools across the state of Texas.

TxA High School Certificate Program

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, and for high school students thinking about entering the profession.

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.

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. On the High School Certificate Program section of their website, TxA provides information for community college and high school administrators interested in establishing the certificate program in their community, and for high school students thinking about entering the profession.

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 a template and resource toolkit found here.
  3. Register the college and high school program with TxA and providing contact information by completing the HSCP Registration Form. 

For more information on developing and/or participating in this program go to the community colleges page of the High School Certificate Program.

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.

How to Develop a Dual Credit Certificate Program

Full Course Catalogue (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board)

Program Registration Form

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.

Steps to Becoming an Architect

Architecture Pathway (Texas House Bill 5)

Certificate Program Requirements

Dual Credit Curriculum Template

Sample Schedule

Course Catalogue

Participating Schools

This page 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.