Architecture Degree

Architects typically work with other members of the planning and construction team from the beginning. They consult with the client to determine exactly what the client desires as an end result. They also communicate with general contractors and specialty construction tradesmen as the project is built.

Formal education is essential to become a successful architect. To meet most state standards, professional degrees must be earned from schools accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Some states allow degrees from other schools if they meet the accreditation standards. Required and recommended degrees for architects include:

  • Bachelor’s degree in architecture, which is typically a specialized five-year program
  • Master’s degree in architecture, which ranges from one to five years depending on area of specialty

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, every state requires that, after earning a professional degree, an architect work through an internship of at least three years before sitting for the required licensing exam. The Intern Development Program, designed by the American Institute of Architects and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), established the training standards utilized by every state. Architects are also required to earn continuing education credits to maintain licensure.

Architect Job Description

Architects work with the art and science of designing buildings. They develop and layout structural concepts and transform those concepts into blue prints and images. The art of architectural design involves what a structure looks like, while the science of the design relates to the structure’s safety, functionality and suitability for its purpose.

Effective communication skills are essential for architects as they must clearly articulate their ideas to their clients and other professionals. They need to fully understand the construction codes and laws for the area in which they’re designing the building.

Some of the tasks commonly performed by architects include:

  • Communicating with clients and other professionals
  • Conducting feasibility and environmental impact studies
  • Advising clients on site selection
  • Developing a cost analysis
  • Creating requirement specifications for a particular design
  • Developing construction plans
  • Utilizing computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) and building information modeling (BIM) technology

Architects may specialize in designing certain structures such as homes, offices or hospitals. They might also concentrate on a particular part of the process like specific planning and designing, avoiding the construction aspect or construction management without much design work.

Architect Salary

Growth in the architectural field is expected to grow at least 16% over the next decade, as indicated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth rate is higher than many other professions. The greatest need for architects is anticipated to be those with higher levels of education. Lower level architect work is commonly outsourced to foreign countries since technology allows easier communication across the world. Sustainable design architects or those who focus on environmentally friendly architecture will have an advantage in the future job market.

As of May, 2008, the average annual salary for architects was around $70,000, according to Federal government reports. The annual salary range was from $41,000 to $119,000 with interns earning less. Self-employed architects make up about 1/5 of the profession. They often struggle initially with upfront costs of technology and materials before making a profit, but may ultimately acquire a significantly high salary. Architects who work with firms may find that they’re expected to pay a fee upfront to buy into the firm or pay their portion of continuing education as developed by the firm.



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