Careers in Architecture
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The average value of the Bachelor degree needed to become a Architects, except landscape and naval is $1,460,160.00.
Architects design homes, office building, hospitals, shopping malls, restaurants and many other types of buildings. An architect comes up with a concept and creates a design and plans for the project. The look of the building along with the function, safety, and cost must all be integrated into the design.
Points of Interest
- Architects must complete several years of training including a 5-year degree, a 3-year internship and then they must pass a licensing exam in order to be a practicing architect.
- There is heavy competition for entry-level positions in the most respected firms.
- One-fifth of architects have their own practices. This is about three times the rate compared to other occupations.
Nature of the Work
Architects may not only design the structure but also follow it through all the steps of its completion. The first step is to meet with clients and determine their needs, and then the structure is designed. Next, drawings and models to show to the client using computer-aided design software. Next plans are drawn up for the various systems in the structure such as electrical, plumbing, heat and air systems, ventilation systems, and landscaping. The building materials must be specified and the architect must be sure that the design will meet building codes, fire laws, and zoning restrictions. The plans may need to be revised based on factors including client needs and budget limitations, availability of materials and local ordinances. If the client wishes, the architect may get construction bids, and help negotiate the contracts. Architects may go to the construction site to manage or supervise the construction of their vision in conjunction with builders, engineer, interior designers and landscape architects.
Some architects specialize in one type of building such as schools, restaurants or private homes. Others specialize in a certain phase of the design process such as planning or management of the construction project and don’t do the actual creative design work.
The work environment is usually an office where an architect meets with clients, completes drawing, or meets with other professionals to plan projects. Some architects do visit construction sites however. 80% of architects work 50 hours per week or less according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although the work schedule may vary, long hours may be required to meet project deadlines.
Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
A person must go through stages to become an architect; obtaining an architecture degree, complete an on-the-job internship, and Architect Registration exam to get their license.
Architects must complete a degree in architecture from a school that is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. Each state has their own standards so a non-accredited degree may be accepted in a few states. The degree program is for 5 years. A master’s degree, which takes from 1 to 5 years, may be obtained if one holds a bachelor’s degree in a different field. A master’s degree may be required for teaching or research jobs.
The courses studied in an architectural degree program usually include architectural history, theory of architecture, structural design, computer-aided design, construction, and mathematics. Students complete design projects including the accompanying drawings and models.
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The internship period is usually a minimum of three years before the licensing exam can be administered. The training must be under the supervision of a licensed architect. Some students begin their internships before completing their degree. Interns may be used to do research, write materials specifications, and make drawings or models.
In order to obtain a state license for architecture a person must pass all nine sections of the Architect Registration Examination. Once a license is granted continuing education is usually required to maintain the license.
Architects should have a good special aptitude, be creative, able to cooperative and communicate with others and have good computer skills.
A voluntary certification can be awarded to an applicant by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. The certification is given after the applicant’s transcripts, employment history and references are reviewed. About one-third of architects have this certification.
Advancement in architecture is had by working on increasingly difficult projects or managing large projects. An architect in a large firm might be promoted to supervisor or management positions. The top position in most firms is to become a partner. Others decide to start their own firms.
Some architects work in interior or industrial design, construction, real estate development, or urban planning. Employment In 2008 there were about 141,000 architects in the United States. Two-thirds of architects work in architecture, engineering or closely related fields. Some worked for construction companies, government housing agencies, and city planning. One-fifth of architects are self-employed.
Jobs are expected to grow faster than average compared to other occupations. Competition can be stiff especially for the most respected architectural firms.
The number of architects employed is expected to rise by 16 percent by 2018. As people continue to live longer there will be growth the healthcare and retirement community fields, increasing the need for more of these facilities. Those enrolling in secondary education continues to rise, so then does the need for schools and colleges to renovate or building new structures. Some lower-level jobs such as drafting drawings and documents continues to be outsourced to overseas firms. This may lessen the amount of jobs available for lower-level and intern architects.
Opportunities in the field will come from those who stop working or change to another field. Recent graduates may find competition for entry-level positions. Architects will also find that joining a prestigious firm is competitive. Green design is a growing field. Architects who special in sustainable designs, energy- efficient use of resources, and the use of environmentally friendly materials, will find a growing customer base for these services. A smaller percentage of architects work in residential home design but they too are affected by regional economic influences and the funding available for new home loans and the amount of existing homes available for sale.
Jobs will also depend on the health of the construction industry as a whole. When funding is reduced for new office or retail projects there are fewer opportunities for architects. Architects who specialize in healthcare or educational facilities are not as affected by these economic downturns. The geographic location also affects the number of projects available.
Employment for architects is expected to grow from 141,200 jobs to 164,200 jobs from 2008 to 2018 with a gain of 16%.
Earnings and Wages
The average wage for an architect in 2008 was $70,320. Pay for interns is much less in comparison. An architectural firm partner’s wages will vary depending on the income of the firm as a whole. During a slow period a self-employed architect may not show a profit. Firms may cover the expenses of continuing education for those they employ.
- Construction and building maintenance
- Interior Designers
- Landscape architects
- Civil Engineers
- Construction Managers
- Urban Planners
- Industrial Designers
- Commercial Designers
- Graphic Designers
Sources of Additional Information
- The American Institute of Architects, www.aia.org
- The National Architectural Accrediting Board, www.naab.org
- The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, www.ncarb.org
- The American Institute of Architects and the American Institute of Architecture Students, www.archcareers.org