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How to Become a Licensed Architect by 30

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

Welcome back to episode six of Design Create Inspire! It is always a joy to come back, week after week, to discuss topics that are important to me.

Last week I talked about the looming life decision every architect has been presented with, the decision of whether or not to attend architecture school. If you missed it, check out the blog and podcast!

This week I have two exciting things to share:

1. I got a new microphone! Wooh! It is the simple things in life.

2. After 12 years, 7 exams, and countless hours of work I am proud to announce that...


My path to licensure was not linear, rather my path was parallel to all that life threw in the way. I did not go to architecture school straight from high school, nor did I go to grad school straight from undergrad. I took my time, got married, became a mom, did not pass all my exams on the first try, started an award winning design firm, yet I achieved my goal of becoming a licensed architect by 30. I am living proof that if I can be licensed by 30, while maintaining the ebbs and flows life, so can you.

Here are eight tips and tools to get you there:

1. Time Block

For me, time blocking is a life saver, helping me prioritize everything going on in life. This tool became particularly important when I began studying for exams, forcing me to get motivated to study. Although the studying phase of my life is over, this tool has stuck with me as I now use it in my everyday life, including setting aside specific time to respond to emails.

Creating a time block is beneficial in other ways, as it allows me to set aside time for creativity and uninterrupted family time. It helps block out distractions from the task at hand.

Reflecting on my time block calendar from my exam days (I took my first exam when my daughter was 10 months!), I cringe and it gives me anxiety. I am not sure how I managed that schedule!

2. Delegate

Learning how to delegate in life is extremely useful when you have a lot on your plate. This tool is not limited to work, but can be used in home as well. Each individual's life is different, so learning how to delegate responsibilities in life with your family, whether that be cooking, cleaning, driving, etc., is not only going to be a beneficial skill in your home life, but will translate to success in your business life as well. Delegating during exam time is especially important because you can only take on so much. I love cooking, but when it’s a week or two before a big exam I delegate the cooking to my husband or the restaurants. Being open with your family during crunch time is important so they know how they can help.

3. Have a great support group

Filling your life with individuals who support you and your goals is essential. There are a lot of tough moments along the road to licensure and having those who are there to remind you that there is light at the end of the tunnel is important. These people will push you to do better, to challenge yourself, and to keep on going, getting one step closer to achieving your goal.

My husband and my dad have been my biggest support system during this long journey. I am forever grateful for their never ending support and love for me, encouraging me day after day to accomplish my goal.

4. Be okay with saying, “No”

You do not have to say yes to everything that comes your way. Be confident in your decisions and say, “No” when needed, especially when you are protecting yourself, your time, and your mental space. It is perfectly okay to be selective with your time so you can stick to your goals and achieve them. The ones who care about you will respect and support your determination.

5. Create consistent goals

I have always been a goal person, specifically a 10-year goal setter. My key to success is going back to the goals I set for myself and writing what has actually happened, then creating my next set of 10-year goals.

This is great strategy because:

  1. When you write out your goals, you are putting that goal and energy, out into the world as a possibility for yourself.

  2. You get to reflect and compare your goals with your reality, which is very inspiring. Being able to see how your goals evolved, just as you have evolved as a person, is incredible.

If you do not hit a goal, don’t give up, shift the goal to mold your life instead.

6. Do not be afraid to fail!

It is completely normal to fail, it is all part of the process. Rather than being angry with yourself when you do fail, get comfortable with it, as it is a learning lesson.

I am sure you’ve heard the saying, “The biggest failure of all is never trying” or ”the biggest failure of all is giving up.”

I believe being ok with failing is the number one secret to success. If you do not fail, you were probably too afraid to do something that challenged you. My relationship with failing continues to evolve and it’s something I get more and more comfortable with every day. Try using a different word other than “fail” to help you be ok with taking risks.

Some thoughts: learn more, try again.

Practice positive self-talk. Be kind to yourself, be optimistic, you are learning and growing.

7. Do not be a perfectionist

This is so hard, as most architects are stereotypically perfectionists. If you expect everything to be perfect, the finish line will be impossible to cross. Perfectionism comes from a fear of failure and fear of judgement. If you hold onto these fears it is going to be so hard to push through all the requirements that it takes to become a licensed architect.

Working through fears is such an important step in achieving your goals. I have talked about this topic before on my previous episode, LIVE - Fear Setting for the ARE of Design Create Inspire.

8. Believe in yourself

Becoming a licensed architect is a journey, one that will be full of failures, tears, and doubt. If you believe in yourself and know you can achieve your goal, you can do anything.

If you take anything away from this list, this is the most important. Knowing and believing you can do something is powerful, you are your biggest supporter. Never stop believing in yourself!

I hope these tips will help you as much as they did for me.

I would love to share more of my journey with you! Please subscribe to Design Create Inspire, blog and podcast, for weekly topics. You are helping me with the simple click of a button.

See you next week!

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