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Architectural Engineer: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an architectural engineer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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An architectural engineer evaluates the prototypes developed by architects for buildings or systems construction and makes recommendations on how to comply with codes and safety standards, boost efficiency, and cut costs. The minimum education required for this career is the completion of a bachelor's degree in a program approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

Essential Information

Architectural engineers evaluate and test building systems and construction designs. Engineers may also specialize in a particular field in construction, such as lighting or HVAC systems. A bachelor's degree is required to work in this field and some employers may require architectural engineers to become a licensed professional engineer. Career paths include project consultant, manager or engineer.

Required Education At least a bachelor's degree
Licensure Required by some employers
Projected Job Growth* 8% (2014-2024) for civil engineers, which includes architectural engineers
Median Annual Salary* $82,220 (2015) for civil engineers, which includes architectural engineers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Architectural engineers analyze building or system prototypes submitted by architects in order to increase efficiency, decrease costs, and enforce adherence of building codes and compliance issues. These engineers must also evaluate proposed electrical systems to ensure occupational safety and assess window costs. Professionals in this field typically work in an office setting reviewing blueprints and may travel to a construction site in order to inspect foundations, support systems and layouts.

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  • Architectural Engineering Technology

Duties

Architectural engineers may begin a project by meeting with architects to discuss structural designs. During this stage, engineers may ascertain load, power and structural requirements. These professionals also analyze sketches, blueprints and models for environmental, acoustic and safety issues. For example, engineers may assess HVAC system noise and deem whether it is appropriate for the respective facility. If engineers find a potential structural issue, they may consult with architects and civil engineers in order to find a solution.

Architectural engineers may also act as consultants and find employment with firms who specialize in a specific part of construction, such as safety compliance or acoustics. In these roles, engineers may be responsible for ensuring building compliance with government regulations and acts, such as water consumption limits or the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Requirements

High school graduates should enroll in an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology approved bachelor's degree program in architectural engineering. Bachelor's degree programs generally last 4-5 years and include courses in seismology, structural analysis and thermodynamics. Additionally, these programs typically include aspects of architecture and construction management that may be absent in other engineering fields.

Licensure

Some employers or positions may require college graduates to become licensed professional engineers (PEs). Although requirements may vary by state, licensure typically includes earning a bachelor's degree in an engineering field, four years of work experience and passing a state examination. PEs may be required to complete continuing education coursework. Because approved credit may vary by state, PEs should contact their respective state licensing board.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipated employment of civil engineers, including architectural engineers, to increase 8% between 2014 and 2024, which is as fast as average for all occupations. In May 2015, the BLS noted that civil engineers, including architectural engineers, earned a median annual income of $82,220.

Architectural engineering professionals often look at when evaluating designs can include acoustics, environment, load, and power. Some architectural engineer positions require candidates to be licensed as professional engineers; although requirements for obtaining a license vary by state, eligible candidates for licensure generally need a bachelor's degree and four years of related work experience.

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