Architects essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $73,090
- 2012, number of jobs: 82,720
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 24 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Bachelor’s degree
Architects; what they do:
Look around and you’ll see the work of architects at every glance. Architects design the buildings and landscapes we use and enjoy every day — homes, theaters, factories, office buildings, public parks, sports arenas and more.
Architects work in a highly creative and collaborative field, sometimes with others in their profession, such as landscape architects, residential architects or interior architects, depending on their own area of specialization.
An architect career involves assessing a client’s goals, requirements and budget. An architect career may also include providing feasibility and environmental impact studies and working on site selection and cost analyses.
Once an architect has developed design options and the client signs off on one, they draw up final plans that include air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems, communications, plumbing and electricity. A landscaping architect may handle the design of the property outside the proposed building.
Whether it’s a home architect, building architect or landscape architect, a professional in this field may also help clients through the construction bid process, contractor selection and cost negotiations. An architecture career includes following building codes, zoning laws and all other local ordinances.
Architects job duties:
- Marketing and making presentations to win clients.
- Consulting with clients about space function and needs.
- Preparing and designing structures to clients’ specifications.
- Visiting worksites to guarantee the project follows the architectural plans.
- Estimating expenses involving material, equipment and construction time.
- Directing a design or planning team.
- Preparing contracts for builders.
- Ensuring adherence to all governmental ordinances.
Architects job titles:
- Project architect
- Architectural project manager
- Project manager
- Residential architect
- Urban planner
- Landscape architect
- Design architect
- Architecture professor
Architects Education, Certification and License Requirements
Most architects get their training through a five-year bachelor of architecture degree program; some earn a master’s such as a Master of Architecture which can take one to five years depending on previous education and experience.
All states require architects to obtain a license, which can include a professional degree in architecture, practical training and internship. An architect must also pass the Architect Registration Examination. Most states require continuing education to maintain licensure.
In 2011, about one-third of licensed architects also had earned voluntary certification from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, making it easier to qualify for work in other states.
Architects programs cover subjects such as:
- Architectural theory
- Construction methodology
- Computer-aided design
- Structural design
- Environmental design
- Architectural documentation
- Universal design for the disabled
Architects Job Outlook
Forecast: 24 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for architects. Outsourcing of architects’ jobs has slowed considerably in recent years. Circumstances expected to fuel the need for architects include: aging campus buildings, school and university renovation and new construction projects; residential growth in the Sunbelt states, baby boomers’ increased healthcare and retirement community needs.
Architects with knowledge of green (or sustainable) design have good employment opportunities. Architectural work emphasizes efficient use of resources and waste and pollution control, as well as environmentally friendly design and materials.
- 2011 median annual wage: $73,090
- 2011, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $93,010
- 2011, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $56,090
- Architectural firms
- Engineering firms