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An architect is able to juggle numbers, lines, angles and creative possibilities. Image: Sutton Suzuki Architects

Can you juggle? You’ll need to juggle a lot of things if you want to be an architect. Architects are not just designers, they are dreamers and doers. There is a unique mind inside the head of an architect that is magically able to juggle numbers, lines and angles, along with creative possibilities that most of us cannot fathom.

We want to help you determine whether you could pull off the same juggling act that an architect can. Should you become one? Here’s what it takes to be an architect.

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Architects need skills in engineering, electrical and interior design, to name a few. Image: Gelotte Hommas

1. You Are Smart

There is a lot that goes into being an architect; in fact, architects tend to wear many different hats, so to speak. They must possess a variety of qualities, most of which they must excel in. Architects need to have a strong understanding of all building disciplines, including structural, electrical and mechanical.

This takes smarts. And while simply being smart does not make you a good architect, it does give you a good foundation. You must able to determine the necessary calculations to make buildings work, understand the properties of the materials you are working with, and create safe and sound structures from start to finish.

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Architects tend to work long hours. Image: Great Neighborhood Homes

2. You Are Willing to Work Hard

Being dedicated to your career is an important factor in any profession, but with architecture, you must be willing to put in a lot of time. This could mean long hours at the office, at the site and even at home working out the details, ensuring perfection until 2 a.m., if necessary.

It is your job to make sure every project is safe and sturdy, and that isn’t something that can be done with little effort.

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Architects need to solve problems, sometimes by ingenious methods. Image: Vanderhorn Architects

3. You Are a Problem Solver

To become an architect, it is imperative that you have the skills needed to solve problems. Whether you are designing a building or trying to meet your client’s needs, you will constantly come across problems. For example, these may involve design or structural issues.

Architects’ ability to solve these problems, sometimes by ingenious methods, is not only necessary, but also moves them forward in their career.

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Architects must be able to communicate with all kinds of people. Image: Fredman Design Group

4. You Have Killer Negotiation Skills

It is very important that architects possess a high level of social skills. You need to have the ability to communicate well with your clients, engineers, interior designers and staff.

In addition, you must be able to share (and sometimes convince others of) your ideas and visions for a particular design. Having excellent communication and negotiation skills will allow you to present your vision in a professional manner that can be understood by all.

You also will need to be able to give presentations comfortably. This is how you will pitch your ideas to clients and bid on prospective jobs.

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Being an architect requires a commitment to continuing education. Image: Berg Design Architecture

5. Learning Is Fun For You

Becoming an architect requires a commitment to continuing education. First, you will have to go through a licensing process in the state in which you want to become an architect. Most often, this process involves three steps: education, experience and examination.

You must choose a school that offers a degree in architecture and that is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. After you complete your coursework, you will be required to take an exam to get your license to work as an architect.

Then comes the fun part: You must continue to stay abreast of new licenses and accreditations as they come out. This is the only way you will stay competitive within the field. If this sounds fun to you, then perhaps you will succeed as an architect.

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Becoming an architect requires using both the left and right sides of the brain. Image: Pyramid Builders

6. You Are a Creative Thinker

One of the most important qualities of being an architect is creativity. While staying within the confines of safety regulations, you want to design buildings and spaces that are awe-inspiring.

The only way to do this is through creative thinking. Architects must use a combination of the left and right sides of their brain to harness both their logical, mathematical thinking and their unique, originative thinking.

If you love to draw, sketch, imagine and create, and you are also a whiz with numbers, then it is highly likely that architecture is the right career path for you.

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Architects should know which materials work together — and which don’t. Image: Space Architects + Planners

7. You Have a Scientific Mind

Architecture is a combination of art and science. While it is important to design buildings with a vision of beauty and elegance, there are some necessary elements of mathematical science that must be applied.

Architects must be able to understand how different materials and components work together. It is also important to know which ones don’t work well together. This is how you create not only a spectacular structure, but one that is safe, sound and lasting.

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Architects are typically obsessed with building and designing. Image: Matthew Neimann

8. You Still Like to Play With Blocks

It’s no surprise that a talent for design is important when deciding to become an architect. In fact, architects should be obsessed with building and designing; much like a child playing with Legos, you can never get enough.

The mere definition of the word architect includes the words “designs buildings.” So whether you find yourself sketching detailed drawings or building dream creations with Legos, you likely have the desire and ability to become an architect.

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Architects need to know something about politics, business, marketing and many other topics. Image: Pad Architects

9. You Are a Fount of Knowledge

Architects must know something about a wide array of topics that are indirectly related to their profession. This can include such things as public speaking and politics.

A knowledge of business, marketing, real estate, sustainable building and construction are also important. What’s more, an architect must have the ability to apply this knowledge to his or her everyday work in the field.

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Architects have a profound love and deep respect for the natural world. Image: Feldman Architecture

10. You Have a Love of Nature

Putting aside all of the math and science for a moment, architects also have a profound love and deep respect for the natural world. Famous architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright lead the way in teaching architects that their designs should not interrupt the natural world, but rather follow the curves of nature and even enhance its beauty.

If you understand that the house is of the hill rather than on the hill, then perhaps a career in architecture is just right for you.

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Being an architect is much more than just drawing and building. Image: Roundhouse Design

The best way for you to know if you have what it takes to become an architect is to actually talk to a few. They can give you in-depth insight into their daily grind, as well as the kind of person you must be and the skills you must have to be successful.

Being an architect is more than just drawing and building. It involves social skills; a knowledge of engineering, math, science, physics and several related topics; dedication and drive; and, most important, the ability to design.

Now that you know what it takes to become an architect, you’ll need to decide if these are the skills, personality traits and characteristics you possess. Do you have what it takes?