Con: It doesn't pay super well. We jump through similar hoops as other really well-paid professions, like nursing, medicine, and law, but we don't make near what they make out of school or even five years out of school. With 8.5 years of experience and my license, I make $57,000 before taxes (U.S. dollars). My husband makes $77,000; he has one more year of experience, is licensed, and most importantly for architects, he changed firms a couple of years ago, which is the best way to get a raise (other than getting licensed). I encourage interns to get good with their money (learn to save, prioritize what they spend where) and sometimes to get a second job. I had and still have one, teaching communication classes at a nearby adult ed center.
Pro: It's a creative and challenging job. There is some actual design involved, like making a building look nice, but there are so many other challenges, such as meeting a client's needs and wishes while also meeting building and accessibility codes and their budget and schedule. It's making all the required rooms fit into an existing building or area of a building. It's looking at two-dimensional drawings and understanding what the 3D space will look like. It's looking for ways to get everything done on time and under budget and looking nice and working right.... I'm constantly learning. I've built four radiology departments, and I've never built the same one twice. That's refreshing.
Con: It's on the bleeding front line of the economy. When the economy reeks like day-old diapers, we're the first to feel it. Money spent on design and construction changes hands five times, so when the economy sinks, we sink, and it brings down the economy even more. Always keep your resume in shape in case you get laid off.
Pro: You meet some really cool people. Your clients and engineers are really interesting people. I've learned so much about healthcare from my clients over the years that being in a hospital doesn't frighten me in the least. You learn how different businesses work as well as some unexpected things: one of my clients climbed to the base camp of Everest last year, and another client used to investigate airplane crashes. Interesting people in your life make for an interesting life.
Con: You meet some really annoying as hell people. Clients change their minds. They don't understand your drawings. They can't make a decision. Then, they don't understand why you're not ready when they snap their fingers. You meet rude people, self-important people, and ignorant people, and you can't really put them in their place because sometimes they're the ones footing the bill. Along with your drawing skills, learn some good communication skills and learn how to deal with difficult people.
Pro: There's actually very little math involved. I cannot tell you how many folks have said to me that they wanted to be an architect but they weren't good at math. News flash: you'll never use anything above grade 9 math, maybe even less. If it involves calculus, you need an engineer and you're not qualified to do it anyway. What architecture requires is that you be generally intelligent and inquisitive, a good listener, and be able to draw and explain things such that anyone can understand what you're trying to do.
Con: It does take a lot of school and then internship to get somewhere. In the US, you'll spend at least 5 years if you get a B.Arch, the first professional degree. You'll spend 4 + 2 years to get an M.Arch, a Master of Architecture. My husband has a B.Arch and I have an M.Arch, and professionally, there's not a noticeable difference. After all that schooling, though, you'll have to work for at least 3 years before you can sit for the exam. While at times those three years may get tedious, remember that you're working towards the long view. Internship is temporary; architect is forever.
Pro: What you do really matters. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to see a bunch of nurses' faces light up with they walk into the building I designed and get all excited about their new work stations and the lobby and the light coming in and look how big the exam rooms are now! It's beyond gratifying to see the citizens of a little 4,000-person town ooh and ahh and take picture after picture of THEIR new facility and to have them walk up to you and say, "Oh, it's BEAUTIFUL!!" It's incredible--even after almost 9 years--to watch the lines you draw become wood and stone and carpet and drywall and reality. it's like a miracle unfolds on every project.
Con: What you do really matters. You cannot half-ass things. You cannot sorta know stuff. You have to know. you have to be sure. You have to be on time and under budget and clear with everyone about what's goin on and how this building is made and what's expected of everyone at each deadline. You cannot procrastinate. that's another piece of advice I give folks considering my career--give up procrastination. Prioritizing is one thing, but procrastination? Forget it. Your drawings have to be well thought out and coordinated with the engineers' drawings and with the drawings of the existing site or building. There is very little fudge factor.