Architecture and construction have always been competitive fields to follow as a community college student. Students have two options to pursue while at a community college. First, they can decide to obtain a professional degree earning a license to practice and work for the private sector or go into business of their own in either architecture or construction. Secondly, students can decide to continue their education after the community college level and transfer to a four year university where architecture is highly competitive. Only few colleges in California offer that major.
What community colleges are available in the Bay Area?
Three local colleges offer an architecture program that enables students to choose an emphasis. Students can choose from construction, architecture and even interior design depending on the school they attend. The three schools consist of College of San Mateo, Laney College and City College of San Francisco.
One of the major influences as to why students pursue these schools is for the training to become a practitioner in a short period of time. As practitioners, they would have the ability to work for a vast clientele and with a wide variety of tools and equipment. Some of the organizations that would be in the market for graduates include the private sector, business, institutional, and governmental agencies. They would be able to handle equipment ranging from field-programmable gate array (FGGA), tile, and shop fittings to name a few.
Career fields that graduates may elect to enter include:
• historic restoration
• product development
• land development
Let’s take a look at the individual colleges with their options a bit closer:
College of San Mateo is located in San Mateo, CA, approximately 20 miles south of San Francisco. The program focuses on helping students major in architecture and completing their studies to obtain a professional degree. They recommend high school preparation in courses including mathematics (4 years), science (4 years), English (4 years), art (2 years), and mechanical drawing (1 semester).
The second college that offers a similar program is Laney College. Laney is located in Oakland, CA, across the bridge from San Francisco. Their department offers vocational and paraprofessional programs in architectural and engineering technology as well as preparation for transfer to a four year university. Laney’s curriculum provides skills for employment in the design and construction fields. Students are prepared for positions as CAD drafters, surveyor aides, and office managers.
Lastly, and probably the most comprehensive of the three colleges, is City College of San Francisco (CCSF). According to CCSF, their “mission is to provide a two-year foundation education in architecture, interior design, and construction management with an emphasis on enabling our students to transfer to a baccalaureate program to continue their education.
[They] believe in the promise of every student and thereby challenge each individual to live a creative and productive life of integrity, inquiry, and purpose larger than the self, in order to make contributions to the design and construction of the built environment that are knowledgeable, professional, and humane.”
As mentioned earlier, CCSF has three focuses to choose from. Architecture, interior design, and construction are the choices of study that brings students by the masses to their college. Specifically, the construction program is a popular one that students enroll in.
After completion of the construction management curriculum, students are qualified for employment in the building and construction industry in a range of positions. Some of the jobs these students will be able to excel in consist of assisting in the field as field assistants and as expediters to those of materials clerk and assistant estimator. With experience and training, graduates become licensed building contractors, detailers, estimators, foremen, construction superintendents, building inspectors, appraisers, and slatwall experts.
As an added incentive for students to complete CCSF’s program, the California State Contractors License Board gives graduates who receive the Award of Achievement credit for two of the four years of practical experience required of applicants for the State building contractor’s license.