Objectives: This article aims at discussing the relationship between a specific public policy and the professional field of architecture through the analysis of the Portuguese Secondary School Modernization Program (SSMP). Methods: The study was conducted in a set of 13 schools renovated within the SSMP, based on qualitative and quantitative methods, and in this article particular emphasis is given to the content analysis of the interviews conducted with architects. Results: The analysis shows how the SSMP has had an impact on the architects' profession in Portugal, discussing: (i) the extent to which the program calls into question the architects' autonomy in the exercise of their profession; and (ii) how it contributes to the transformation of architectural knowledge and to the (re)configuration of the profession in the domain of school architecture. Conclusions: The research allowed us to conclude that an education policy program such as the SSMP had an impact on the architects' profession in Portugal, providing a series of insights into how public works contribute toward shaping the profession and the labor market. One of the particularities of school architecture central to the discussion is the ability of listening and mapping the needs of such complex users as a school community in order to translate an educational project into an architectural design.