Architectural technology is a field focused on applying new technological tools and design methods to the construction of buildings. These degrees typically focus on computer-assisted drafting and modern residential construction.
Architectural Technology Certificate
A certificate program in architectural technology explores modern residential construction practices. An emphasis is placed on computer-assisted drafting, and you'll be introduced to AutoCAD software. You'll develop free hand and technical drawing skills. Lessons include construction techniques, building theory and code requirements. Certificate programs can be completed in about one year.
Program coursework incorporates hands-on learning through a number of project assignments that require you to use the drawing board and the computer. Required coursework provides you with an understanding of building forms, environmental concerns and cost estimation. Key topics include:
- Architectural drafting
- Computer-assisted drafting (CAD)
- Model construction
- Construction estimating
- Architectural design
Architectural Technology Diploma
In addition to residential building practices, two-year diploma programs incorporate instruction in industrial and commercial construction practices. You'll gain a broad base of skills including architectural modeling, presentation drawings, model construction and 3-D rendering. The curriculum includes a hands-on practicum that incorporates projects that reflect real-world architectural problems. This program will prepare you to work closely with licensed architects and produce usable construction drawings for working contractors.
Program coursework includes a core curriculum in architectural technology and general education in math and writing. Architectural technology topics include:
- 3-D CAD
- Blueprint reading
- Structural drafting
- Design constraints
- Site planning
- Building systems
Popular Career Options
After graduating, you'll be qualified to pursue employment with facility planning organizations, engineering firms, architectural firms, contractors and government agencies. Job opportunities may include:
- CAD technicians
- Building code inspectors
- Cost estimator
- Field inspector
- Building materials sales associate
Employment and Salary Information
By completing an architectural technology program, you'll be qualified for entry-level positions in architectural design and drafting. Potential employers include architectural offices, interior design firms, landscape architect companies, government offices and commercial development firms. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of architectural and civil drafters was projected to decline 2% between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). The BLS, in May 2018, reported that architectural and civil drafters earned a mean yearly wage of $56,700.
Both certificate and diploma programs offer an introduction to architectural technology, covering a broad range of drafting related topics. The main difference is that diploma programs are longer and can therefore provide more in-depth instruction.