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AIAS Financial Survey of Architectural Students Results

The view in the trenches of Architectural Education

Press Contact:
Joshua Caulfield, IOM
Chief Executive Officer
P: 202.626.7472

For immediate release:
Washington, D.C., April 25, 2012 - This past weekend, the Board of Directors of The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) held their spring meeting. Most importantly on the agenda was the discussion of a recent survey of students of architecture and the needs of current and future graduates in preparing to enter the profession.

“The current trends in the pursuit of Architecture as a career, and the realities of the current economy and the anticipated progression of the recovery, demanded that the AIAS look at our members’ perception and expectations for the future,” said Nick Mancusi, Assoc. AIA, the President of the AIAS. “In order to remain relevant, our organization and the profession as a whole needs to be aware of the next generation’s concerns and offer information and resources to support those capable and willing citizens as they graduate and engage with their community.”

The survey results confirm and supplement many other recently published and private reports from various sources. Specifically targeted at students in architectural programs, the primary findings of the report indicate a number of challenges to the next generation of the profession, but these are challenges that can be addressed through discussion and collective effort.

The survey indicates that the primary concerns of architecture students are focused on the job market and the debt load that students are taking on to pursue this career choice. The research results indicate that architecture students have a higher than average amount of student debt: Anticipating an average amount of $40,000 in debt upon graduation from their program. This amount ranges dramatically based both on the institution and the degree program being completed.

Students also face a large amount of “Hidden Costs” that are not part of the listed tuition and fees of a program. Specifically, Students spend $1,000+ annually on materials for models and project submissions. Additionally textbooks, required and “optional” amount to another $800 per year, and technology spending accounts for an additional $1,500 per year. Thus over the course of a 4 year Bachelor’s program, most students will spend an additional $13,200 in related school costs, with a 6 year Master’s course of study leading to $19,800 in these types of expenses.

Interestingly half of our respondents expect to be able to find a job within 3 months of graduation and 77% anticipate being employed within a year. This expression of confidence in the recovery is offset by the salary expectations these graduating students have. In terms of starting salary 62% of the surveyed students anticipate having a salary below $40,000 (which is less than the amount of educational debt they expect to take on.) The majority of the additional respondents were unsure of their salary numbers.

Finally, specifically related to pursuing architecture, 84% of our participants are currently pursuing their degree with the express intention of becoming an architect and nearly a third (31%) have already begun their NCARB record to list IDP hours. However, more than half (54%) indicated that if they are not in an architecturally related career within 2 years of graduation they do not anticipate seeking a license and will not pursue the profession further.

AIAS Financial Survey of Architectureal Students Results

(Click on image to download)

 About the American Institute of Architecture Students
The AIAS is a nonprofit educational organization created to support the needs of students of architecture. An independent student run and led organization with over 7000 members worldwide, the AIAS advocates, educates and creates opportunities for students pursing architecture and architecturally related degrees. The AIAS runs two international educational events, publishes an academic journal named Crit, and offers AIAS Freedom by Design, a philanthropic design and build program for individuals in need in local communities. With many additional educational, career and profession related resources for members, the AIAS is not only the largest student run organization in the world related to architecture, but is also recognized as the most representative of architectural students’ views and comprehensive in its programming.

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