Do you have a resume? Do you have a resume that is likely to get you an interview at a design firm? Many things go into a successful design job search; creating job search documents that effectively highlight your skills and/or experience may be the first step. Whether you are just starting out or are transitioning from one job to the next, the information below will help you move into or forward in your design career.
- Getting Started in Practice (PDF)
- General Info on Job Search Documents (PDF)
- Functional Resume (PDF)
- Chronological Resume (PDF)
- Hybrid Resume (PDF)
- Cover Letter (PDF)
- References Page (PDF)
- Work Samples (PDF)
Sending out resumes that do not properly highlight your skills and/or experience - or ones that have even a single typo on them - is the equivalent of sending out none. Review the material above and create one, some, or all of the job search documents described above. Then make an appointment with the Learning Resource Center and/or Practice Department to have them reviewed prior to sending out or posting online.
Once your job search documents have been created, reviewed, and perfected, it's time to begin your job search. At any given moment, there are roughly 300 Boston-area design offices employing BAC students. As in any industry, getting that first job is never easy, but whether it's through PracticeLab, the BSA website, or active networking, students who conduct a diligent, intelligent, and persistent job search campaign eventually do find work. Here's how.
- Job Search Strategies (PDF)
- The Job Application (PDF)
- Interviewing (PDF...coming soon)
- Receiving, Negotiating, Accepting/Rejecting an Offer (PDF...coming soon)
If you'd like a single PDF of all above documents, click here.
Many students want to work in a design firm right away, and are frustrated by not being able to get that kind of work right away. We encourage students to look beyond traditional firm employment to the wide array of design-related professions that not only prepare students for work in a design firm, they often become assets to a student's unique development as a designer. Many students find that their work in "related" settings is what sets them apart from other applicants when they later apply for work in a design firm.
As is the case in any Practice employment setting, hours will be granted on the basis of a student's ability to document and articulate both graphically and through supporting narrative the value and meaning of the work in terms of lessons learned and skills acquired that inform and increase understanding and abilities. If students are unsure of whether a particular job or setting will meet the requirements for approved Practice hours, they should contact Practice prior to accepting the position and commencing work. Failure to do so may result in denial of a student's petition for Practice hours.
Related settings include, but are not limited to:
Related design fields
- Graphic and web design
- Urban Planning and Design
- Site and traffic planning and design
- Production and set design
- Lighting design
- Industrial/product design
- Exhibition design
- Upholstery/textile design
- Environmental Engineering Civil Engineering
- MEP/Mechanical Engineering
- Structural Engineering
- General contracting
- Plumbing/Electrical/HVAC subcontracting
- Cabinet building
- General construction
- Landscape contracting
- Construction project management
- Cost estimating
- Home inspection firms
Development and Real Estate
- Property appraisal
- Real estate development
- Project financing
- Community development corporations
- Real estate "staging"
- Real estate agencies
- City and regional planning agencies
- Public officials' offices [municipal, state, federal]
- Economic and urban development agencies
- Housing authorities
- Transit authorities
- Port authorities
- Municipal planning and zoning
- Apartment/property management
- Facilities and asset management
- Nursuries/garden centers
- High-end furniture
- Design centers
- Lumber yards/building supply centers
The BAC's Practice Department is staffed with design professionals capable of guiding you through every aspect of the job search. For more information or to set up an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Practice Department website. To each meeting, students should bring an up-to-date resume, work samples/portfolio in any state of completion/readiness, and something to take notes with and on.
The Learning Resource Center provides one-on-one assistance with resume and cover letter writing, software skills, or support for any class you're taking at the BAC. For more infomation or to set up an appointment, email email@example.com or visit the LRC website.
The BAC Mentoring Program connects current BAC studentswith alumni, staff, academic and Practice faculty, advanced students, board members, and overseers. These relationships help students adjust academically, personally, and in professional practice. For more information or to set up an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the BAC Mentoring Program's website.
Academic Advisors are available to meet with students to assist them with academic related issues, such as course load, course scheduling, time management, currciculum guidance, and/or other things related to students' experience here at the BAC. For more information or to set up an appointment, email email@example.com or visit the Advising Department website.
Why become a licensed architect? From NCARB's website: "To be an architect, you need to be licensed. Architects are responsible for protecting the public health, safety, and welfare, so the demanding academics, years of internship, and professional exam are designed to prepare you for meeting the great responsibilities of the profession. In both good and bad economic times, licensure gives you a competitive edge. With a license you're positioned to take on a greater role with clients and projects, which increases your value to a firm. More architects on staff can enhance a firm's marketability with prospective clients and may even lower its liability insurance costs-two more reasons to hire you, if you're licensed. Licensure can also be a ticket to higher earnings, especially as you progress in your career.With a license, you are legally empowered to practice architecture. You can start your own firm; seal, stamp, or sign your own drawings; and turn your ideas into reality. As an architect, you'll have a seat at the table and more power over your career. Without a license, you'll nearly always have to seek out the services of an architect to complete a building project."
To become a licensed Architect, a candidate must have earned an accredited professional degree of architecture, completed the Internship Development Program [IDP], and passed the seven parts of the Architecture Record Examination [ARE]. As a student in the B. Arch or M. Arch program, you're on your way to earning a professional degree. Additionally, as a student of the BAC, you are eligible to register with IDP as soon as you enroll. The IDP requires that participants complete about three years of work in architecture firms and related settings - which can be the same hours you earn as a student here at the BAC to satisfy your Practice requirements. When both your degree and your IDP requirements are complete, you are eligible to sit for the ARE to become licensed.
This means that if you carefully manage your time here at the BAC, you can graduate completely ready to take your licensing exams - which is a significant advantage of going to the BAC!
There are many rules about when and what kind of hours you can submit for IDP, and they are all outlined here in this guide from NCARB. Additionally, NCARB's website is a helpful resource for learning more about licensure and IDP. Read through these carefully!
PLEASE NOTE: Though we provide support to students pursuing IDP, the BAC and the Practice Department DO NOT administer IDP, and are not responsible for students' successful completion of all IDP requirements. We're happy to help direct you toward resources available from NCARB, but it's up to you to make sure you're fulfilling all of IDP's requirements.
ALSO NOTE: It is illegal and unethical to call yourself an "architect" before you are licensed, or to use the letters RA or AIA after your name before you are licensed.
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As in other regulated professions, licensure in Interior Design is based on fulfilling specific requirements in three steps: Education, Experience, and Examination. Certification and licensure are meaningful distinctions in the interior design profession, and are the end result of this three-step process. There are several ways to meet the Education requirement, but the most prevalent route is a bachelor's or first-professional master's degree from a CIDA-accredited institution.
The Experience required to take the examination administered by the NCIDQ [National Council for Interior Design Qualification] depends on which degree the student has earned. NCIDQ has identified several paths to exam eligibility.
All Examination candidates are encouraged to participate in IDEP [Interior Design Experience Program]. IDEP is a monitored, documented experience program administered by the NCIDQ to help entry-level professionals obtain a broad range of quality professional experience. IDEP requires 3520 hours of qualified work experience, of which 1760 hours must be earned after the completion of your education. The details of qualifying work experience can be found here: Qualified Work Experience
Successful completion of the Examination results in NCIDQ Certification. The NCIDQ Certificate is the desired credential in the interior design profession. In order to become licensed in any of the 27 states that have laws regulating the practice of interior design, you must first earn the NCIDQ Certificate.
As of Spring 2013 you can you can apply to take one of three sections of the NCIDQ exam, the Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX) as soon as you have completed your education, regardless of how much experience you have. Once you have completed the IDFX and the necessary work experience, you can come back to NCIDQ and apply to take the remaining two sections of the exam to earn your NCIDQ Certificate.
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What is licensure, and why is it important? As stated by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB), licensure is a formal indication that one has demonstrated "sufficient knowledge, skills and ability to practice the profession [of landscape architecture] without endangering the health, safety and welfare of the public." Licensure is currently required in all 50 states and in Puerto Rico. There are two kinds of state licensure laws: Title Act (3 states, including Massachusetts) and Practice Act (all other states and Puerto Rico). The title act allows anyone to perform landscape architectural services so long as s/he does not identify her/himself as a "landscape architect." The practice act is important because it establishes the landscape architect as an equal in the professional world to those design professionals with whom we work: architects and engineers.
There are three components to licensure: education, experience and examination. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) supports this triad as being complementary to and representative of "a continuum of development of professional skills necessary to practice." The Landscape Architect Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.) is created and scored by CLARB in order to maintain professional standards for competency and conduct in the profession of landscape architecture. In order to sit for the exam, individuals are required to have been employed in the practice of landscape architecture under the direct supervision of a licensed landscape architect. As well, they need to participate in continuing education (CE) opportunities approved by the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) as part of ongoing professional development (CE's are not a Massachusetts requirement). Students should be aware that licensure is regulated on a state-by-state basis, and should contact the state licensing board to obtain specific information about eligibility requirements for the state in which one wants to practice.How the BAC and the School of Landscape Architecture prepares and supports students for licensure: As part of Professional and Continuing Education (PC&E), the Landscape Institute has offered Landscape Architecture Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.) preparatory courses over the last few years: SEM900, LARE Section E Preparation Workshop: Grading, Drainage and Storm-water Management, spring 2011; and SEM901, LARE Section C Preparation Workshop: Site Design, spring 2012. These courses are open to students, faculty, emerging professionals and to the public.
Students are exposed to advanced educational opportunities by the nature of the College and its various educational programs, including bachelor and master degrees, interdisciplinary concentrations within the School of Design Studies, and through the individual and certificate courses offered through the Landscape Institute and the Sustainable Design Institute within PC&E. These offerings allow students to cross-breed or add on courses and certificates to the required curriculum of the professional degrees in landscape architecture.
Note that the BAC has been approved by the American Society of Landscape Architects' (ASLA) LA CES to offer Professional Development Hours (PDH) through various courses and programmatic events.
BAC students make great employees! If you are looking for part-time or full-time help at your firm, in any design or related discipline, we invite you to post on our online job posting board, PracticeLab. Here, BAC students will see your job posting and can respond directly to you. If you have any questions about how to set up your posting, please contact the Practice Department.
Keep in mind that you as an employer are a crucial piece of a BAC's student's education. Over the 125 years of the BAC's existence, BAC students have worked in hundreds of firms in the Boston area, often becoming valued members of their firms beyond their years as a student.
If you're a non-profit, neighborhood group, or government agency, and interested in having a group of students work on a project for you in a volunteer capacity, please see our Gateway Program, which has served over 80 non-profits in the Boston area with pre-design, design, and build services.
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