Opportunities for Architecture?


New Member
Mar 22, 2020
Hey! I'm a senior in HS and was offered an appointment to USNA as well as a Type 1 AFROTC Scholarship.

I'm very grateful and excited for these opportunities to serve, but I am a little hesitant about the career possibilities in both Air Force and Navy. I've always been interested in architecture, and I get the impression that this might not be an option through the military.

Does anybody have any experience with civil engineering/architecture in the military? And would I have any opportunities to travel abroad?



Nov 24, 2015
If you go to USNA, the closest thing you can get to an architecture degree is a major in Naval Architecture. However you’d be better off just pursuing a regular engineering degree - it’s much more useful and applicable to the working world, you’ll learn more, and once you leave the Navy more employment opportunities will be available. Unfortunately USNA doesn’t offer a civil engineering degree (which is surprising since CE is the oldest and broadest field of engineering, and since the SEABEES are a civil engineering unit) but they do offer mechanical and other emphasis that would still be better than architecture.

If you choose AFROTC, you should be able to attend a college with a Civil Engineering major. Again, most colleges offer CE so you shouldn’t have a problem finding one. If you should end up working for a CE squadron in the Air Force, you will be much better prepared for the job if you have a degree in CE rather than architecture.

As we say in engineering, architects are the dreamers and engineers make those dreams happen. Take that for what you will.
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Proud Member Service Academy Bacon Forums (SABF)
Oct 15, 2017
There are many cases in which an Architect can stamp Engineering drawings, and an Engineer can stamp Architecture drawings.
Neither professional has carte blanche to do so in all areas, or all building types or sizes, however. The rules also vary by State.
You could opt to get a degree in Electrical Engineering, and become a registered Architect, later. Either way, you're going to need to have a Master's degree, these days.

Architects will tell you that they design buildings and Engineers make them work.
Civil Engineers however, design targets. :biggrin:
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5-Year Member
Jun 10, 2011
Collegue of mine who's a combat engineer says it best:

"If you don't have it and you need it, we'll build it. If you have it and you don't need it, we'll blow it up."


Super Moderator
5-Year Member
Jul 13, 2011
Also depends what you want to build. If you want to build ships, it’s an amazing program. There aren’t many programs in the country for that. It’s a small major but they are a close group. The labs are also first rate for this. The other item is you are close to DC which has some of the major Navy commands for this, so projects and research are often real world. The Navy often uses USNA’s wave pools for experiments. NSWC Carderock is where most of this work is done in the Navy. I actually have a classmate who developed an auto immune disease our 2/C year and was non-commissionable who majored in this. The professors helped him to land a job with them and has been there for a long time as Navy Civilian.

If this path interests you the way you end up there in the Navy is to either select Navy SWO with Engineering Duty Officer (EDO) path or request to lateral transfer after you earn your qualifications. You would go to a ship and earn your SWO pin first and then have a guaranteed move to EDO if you are selected for this. EDOs will generally get their masters then work in a variety of billets at Navy commands that are designing, selecting, testing and fielding ships, planes and subs. Working with the vendors designing and building your systems. Remember you won’t be the guy doing drawings... you will be a leader managing teams, making decisions, etc. The hands on engineering will be done by your employees. This is very high level but it gets the point across. So if designing ships is what you want... great program.