Architectural technicians earned a median annual salary of $45,781 as of October 2016, according to PayScale.com. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that architectural and civil drafters could earn significantly higher annual salaries depending on their work location. Those who worked in Alaska, Texas, Connecticut and California earned annual average salaries exceeding $58,000.
Architectural technicians are structural designers that work with engineers and general architects to create construction blueprints. Most technicians are not involved with the actual designing of the building, but focus on creating the guidelines for how it's constructed. Architectural technicians can choose to specialize in a specific type of building, such as residential, industrial, or commercial projects. This position typically requires two years at a technical school or community college.
|Required Education||Associate's degree or technical school certificate|
|Other Requirements||Experience with CADD programs|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||-3% (for all drafters)|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$45,781|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
Architectural Technician Job Description
When architects design a building, they might require additional knowledge or resources to create a functional blueprint that contains all of the technical aspects necessary for the design. Engineers might have technical essentials covered, but might need structural and architectural formatting applied to their designs. Architectural technicians fill the gap for both of these professions.
Architectural technicians are construction drafters that make sure that both the designs of general architects and the calculations of building engineers are combined into an effective building guideline. Since the guideline is often a visual blueprint of these ideas, the technician is responsible for including technical data, such as material lengths, amounts, and weights within a completed design. These variables are often made available by surveyors and other scientists.
Technical designers typically meet with members of the construction team, such as contractors, materials representatives, and project managers, to evaluate and thoroughly understand the processes going into a construction project. The technician uses the information garnered from other professionals to create the technical plans for a structure's blueprints. In some cases, technicians might have to make changes to accommodate mechanical, engineering, architectural, or client revisions. A single construction project might require an architectural technician to create several copies of a building's design plan, each outlining a different aspect of the project, such as electrical, landscaping, and plumbing, for each revision.
To accomplish this endeavor, architectural technicians often use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software to help with construction, costs, measurements, and other necessary technical data. CADD programs, such as Autodesk's multipurpose design program AutoCAD, allow technicians to quickly draft the appropriate documents, allowing for changes to be made, as necessary.
Many designers use CADD software for drafting and design, though traditional hand-drawn technical sketches are still used to quickly understand building designs and features. In some cases, an architect might design an entire project using pencil and paper drawings, requiring the technician to digitize the prints and turn them into workable guidelines.
Salary Information for Architectural Technicians
According to PayScale.com, architectural technicians made a median annual salary of $45,781 in 2016. Salaries often depended on the industry and location of workers. According to the BLS, architectural and civil drafters working in Alaska, Texas, Connecticut, California, and Massachusetts earned more per year than their peers in other states.
When an engineer or architect needs blueprints for a building design, an architectural technician will create those blueprints. Their primary concern is developing the guidelines for how to construct the project. Architectural technicians are required to have a certificate or associate's degree to prepare for their career in this field, and must be experienced using computer-aided design and drafting software.