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Architectural Technologist: Job Duties, Outlook & Career Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an architectural technologist. Get an overview of the requirements as well as details about education, certification and job responsibilities to find out if this is the career for you.

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Architectural technologists coordinate with architects, designers, and engineers to design architecture for construction projects. Responsibilities may include creating sketches, reviewing blueprints, and visiting construction sites. They typically have an associate's degree or certificate in a related field.

Essential Information

Architectural technologists assist architects and engineers in designing construction projects. Technologists typically have acquired technical skills in both producing architectural drawings and researching building codes. Accordingly, these professionals typically work for architecture, construction or engineering companies. Candidates should complete a bachelor's degree in construction engineering technology, architecture, or a related field. Optional certification as a Certified Drafter is available from the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA).

Required Education Associate's degree or certificate in architectural technology, drafting or related field
Certification Optional ADDA certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) -3% (decline) for architectural and civil drafters*
Median Annual Salary (2016) $52,702 for architectural technologists**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Architectural Technologist Job Duties

Architectural technologists may begin work on a new project by listening to a client's vision. During this phase, technologists typically work with architects, designers and engineers to ascertain material and structural requirements for a given project. For example, these professionals may analyze the specifications of a subcontractor's space, evaluate environmental issues or work with building inspectors while finalizing documents for approval.

Architectural technologists may also have drafting duties, such as creating 2- or 3-dimensional sketches and designs. Other drafting tasks may include reviewing blueprint layouts of electrical and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVAC). Additionally, technologists may visit construction sites and review work to make sure it has been done according to plans.

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Salary and Job Outlook

According to PayScale.com in January 2016, most architectural technologists earned between $34,255 and $121,251 annually, with a median income of $52,702. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't provide specific information for architectural technologists, the Bureau does state that increasing construction work will result in a demand for architectural and civil drafters, who perform similar work as architectural technologists, however, the increasing technology will taper the need for more workers. Therefore, the BLS predicts employment of architectural and civil drafters will decline by three percent between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). This projected growth was slower than the average for all occupations. The Bureau also notes that applicants who have completed at least two years of postsecondary education in coursework including CAD may have better opportunities than those who have not.

Career Advancement Info

Architectural technologists looking to increase their career opportunities may consider voluntary certification through an organization like the American Design Drafting Association (www.adda.org). The ADDA certifies qualified candidates who have successfully completed a certification exam as Certified Drafters. Certifications last three years and require submitting an application with documented work experience and completing 30 continuing education contact hours.

CAD software vendors, such as Autodesk, also offer certifications for software (usa.autodesk.com). Architectural technologists wishing to show their proficiency in a product may consider earning the respective certification by successfully completing the appropriate qualifying exam.

Architectural technologists may become project managers, engineers or architects by enrolling in a bachelor's degree program in construction engineering technology, an engineering discipline or architecture. While specific requirements for these majors vary, most include coursework in advanced mathematics, building structures and design. Advanced topics may range from cost estimating to steel structure analysis.

Architectural technologists can work in a variety of capacities, such as project manager, engineer, or architect. Some architectural technologists obtain certification from the American Design Drafting Association, which may assist with career advancement. This field is currently experiencing a slight decline in job growth.

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