Jobs in Architecture for People Without a Degree

Thinking about an architectural job, but you don't currently have a degree in the field? No sweat! You might be surprised at the opportunities that await you in the architectural field with other possible career options.

Career Options for Architecture Without a Degree

For people fascinated by architecture but lacking a degree, jobs still exist in various areas. Architects and engineers work with a number of supporters, all of whom contain special traits that make them vital to a construction project. Check out this chart and see if one of these careers is a great fit for you!

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Drafter $53,480 -3%
Surveying and Mapping Technician $42,450 -8%
Civil Engineering Technician $49,980 5%
Carpenter $43,600 6%
Construction and Maintenance Painter $37,570 7%
Tile and Marble Setter $40,460 5%

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Architecture Without a Degree


Once an architect has a concept in mind, drafters will use computer-aided design (known in the industry as CAD) software to map out their plans. Architectural drafters might focus on either residential or commercial design, depending on their preference. Furthermore, specific materials used in building design can also be a specialty area. Using the CAD software, schematics can be manipulated into a system known as building information modeling, or BIM. This allows drafters to work with engineers and architects and keep afloat of any changes that need to be made. Drafters can obtain special training and earn a certificate, which can lead to job opportunities in some areas.

Surveying and Mapping Technician

Using specialized instruments, surveying technicians will visit different locations to record data that provides a description of a given site. They might use previous markers to help them in their job, and these markers might be identified with old stones. Mapping technicians, meanwhile, will manipulate images created in the field and keep maps up to date. They can also assist those who take photos in the identification of areas that cannot be seen using aerial photographs. No other requirements aside from high school education are needed for surveying technicians, although mapping technicians will need training with Geographical Information Systems.

Civil Engineering Technician

Civil engineering technicians are in charge of reports and documentation about the data of an in-progress engineering project. They can test materials inside a lab for analysis, and CAD software might also be utilized when working with engineers. While technicians can perform the same tasks as engineers, they cannot supervise a project because of their lack of a license. Cost estimation and specification development also fall under the job description of a civil engineering technician. An associate's degree is common, but not a deal breaker when it comes to securing employment as a technician.


One of the most versatile construction positions, carpenters make use of a number of different tools to construct projects in residential, commercial, or industrial projects. Shopping malls, condominiums, and power plants are just some of the architectural designs that a carpenter might work on during their career. They can also put up scaffolding to grant access to high locations for the rest of a construction crew. A high school education is sufficient for a carpenter, and courses in math and mechanical drawing are a huge boost to career opportunities.

Construction and Maintenance Painter

Architectural projects inevitably require painters, and those in the construction and maintenance field can expect to apply a number of different tools to their trade. Special safety equipment might even be utilized, depending on the nature of the project and what type of atmosphere or setting the painter is working in during their job. Scaffolding can also be erected when painting something like a bridge or a ship. Taking high school classes involving blueprint reading and shop can be important for painters, but no formal educational requirements exist.

Tile and Marble Setter

Another term for 'tile installer,' tile setters use industry-specific tools to cut and place tile into buildings. Spacers are used to keep tile placement consistent and accurate. Those working with marble will also polish the surface afterward with tools or their hands. Anything from an office building to a new restaurant may end up using tile or marble, so the job setting can vary greatly. Typically, tile and marble setters receive their education through an apprenticeship or training that happens on the job as a helper.

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