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Architect Career Profile, Duties and Salary Information

Architects require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

A 5-year bachelor's degree program is a common way to gain the knowledge necessary to become an architect. People in this career field combine art and engineering to plan and design all types of building spaces. Job growth in the coming years is expected to be about as fast as average, though architects can increase their marketability by earning a voluntary certification.

Essential Information

Architects plan and design buildings, including office buildings, residential homes and commercial spaces like restaurants or shops. Architects must balance the art of building design with the science of building construction, and they must understand codes and ordinances, safety issues and people management. Most architects have a 5-year professional Bachelor of Architecture degree and complete an internship. Architects must be licensed; voluntary certification is also available.

Required Education Bachelor of Architecture or master's degree in architecture
Other Requirements State licensure, voluntary certification
Projected Job Growth 7% between 2014 and 2024*
Average Salary (2015) $82,850*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Architect Career Profile

A successful career as an architect depends partially on the quality and depth of one's formal training. These professionals must design safe, sturdy buildings that are also aesthetically pleasing.

A number of educational programs are available for those interested in becoming architects. One may, for instance, complete a 5-year bachelor's degree program intended for students with no previous architecture experience. Another option is to complete a master's degree program in architecture, which accepts applicants from almost any bachelor's degree field. These programs can take 1-5 years depending on the students' previous architecture experience. To ensure that architects are able to comply with building safety and fire codes, all states require them to be licensed before practicing.

Duties

Architectural duties can encompass nearly every phase of a building construction project. At the beginning of a project, architects work with clients to determine the project budget and the needs and objectives for the building. They may design building prototypes or models, select building sites, conduct environmental impact studies and even work with community benefit advocacy groups.

During pre-construction, architects create construction plans or blueprints, which not only show the structural systems of a building but the building material plans and possibly the landscape designs. Architects also work with engineers, urban planners, construction workers and interior designers to plan and execute every phase of construction and completion. Plan and budget revisions may be necessary because building projects rarely go according to plan. Architects must remain flexible and adaptable to see a project through to completion.

Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted 7% growth in jobs for architects during the 2014-2024 decade, with architects who have green design knowledge being in highest demand (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that architects earned an average salary of $82,850 in 2015; the highest ten percent earned over $125,520 annually.

Prospective architects should be aware that despite the predicted increase in jobs, those interested in establishing their own architecture firms may require substantial financial resources to offset expenses caused by changing business conditions and real estate market fluctuations.

Pursuing a career as an architect might be the right choice for someone who is creative yet analytical and interested in the prospect of planning and designing buildings. You can become qualified to practice architecture by completing a bachelor's or master's degree program and obtaining the required licenses.

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