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High School Classes to Take for Architecture & Design

by Jen Saunders, studioD

If you are in high school and you have a keen eye for design and a dream to become an architect, you can prepare now. A number of high school classes and programs that provide the skills and knowledge needed to become a successful architect and designer are open to students. By investigating your options, you can start immediately so that when you enter college you will already have some knowledge to launch your academic career.

Centers for Applied Technology

Centers for Applied Technology are scattered all over the country, and they all have varying requirements for the admission of high school students. If you meet your local center’s requirements, you can enter the Program Pathways in which students take classes relevant to architecture and design. You could also possibly earn free college credits for course work in high school and potentially find placement in more advanced college classes. Institutions like Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland offer programs in which high school students can take classes like Architecture Design 1 or Architectural Material and Methods 1.


Art classes often include painting, drawing, sculpture and photography -- mediums that develop the ability to conceptualize and visualize while teaching vital skills to an architect. Many high schools offer elective art courses designed especially for high school students who desire to become architects and designers. Schools like Dryden in New York provide these specialized classes, and in Dryden’s case their five-unit Studio in Art class for students in grades nine to 12 offers a foundation in architecture and interior design that focuses on industrial design, fashion design, graphic design and several other areas that present the basics to architecture.


Math is a core skill used by all architects. EduChoices.org states, “Architects need to have highly advanced mathematics and science skills, so interested high school students should take as many classes in the subjects as possible prior to college.” You should try to take as many advanced placement math classes as possible that include advanced algebra, calculus, trigonometry and geometry. These courses will arm you with the knowledge needed to draft blueprints and make structural calculations.

Fine Arts

A skilled architect understands how architecture and design have evolved over time and ushered in new genres and styles. Taking a class in fine arts will introduce you to classical architectural styles still in use today to design homes, sports arenas and office buildings. You will be able to identify the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian order of columns and pinpoint the various components that define them. You will also learn about Gothic, neoclassical, rococo and baroque architecture. Knowing these orders will help you conceptualize designs and possibly inspire you to crossbreed architectural styles into a new design.

About the Author

Jen Saunders is an entrepreneur and veteran journalist who covers a wide range of topics. She made the transition to writing after having spent 12 years in England where she studied and taught English literature.

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