Building Designer: Career Profile

Sep 14, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a building designer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and state requirements to find out if this is the career for you.

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Building designers help plan the look of a house or building to ensure that it meets a certain asthetic while remaining functionable. You'll need a keen mind for design, strong communication skills and the ability to solve problems in order to be a good building designer. There are no formal education requirements, but training in drafting and other relevant skills might be useful.

Essential Information

Individuals who are interested in architecture may want to consider a career as a building designer. Building designers draw up plans for homes and developments. While there is no set education requirement, an associate's or bachelor's degree in a relevant field might be helpful. These professionals do not require a license in most states, although there are usually some restrictions on what they can do. Experienced building designers may be able to earn professional certification.

Required Education No mandatory degrees, but training in architectural drafting or a related field recommended
Other Requirements State regulations vary
Median Salary (2018) $79,380 for architects
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% growth for architects

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Building Designer Overview

Building designers, also known as home designers, are professionals who specialize in single-family and small, multiple-family home designs. Unlike architects or professional engineers, building designers are not typically required to pass state board exams or obtain special licensing to operate. Prospective building designers may want to research their state's laws and requirements for building designers.

Because their work directly affects the safety, durability and appearance of a structure, building designers must excel in math, physical science and construction engineering. Building designers must be willing to function in extreme or uncomfortable environments. In addition to technical and professional skills, they must possess strong communication skills to work effectively with clients and contractors. Building designers must also keep up with changes in building codes and zoning ordinances.

Education Information

Though a degree isn't required for building designers to operate in every state, an associate or bachelor's degree program in the architectural field may help individuals learn the basics of building design. Prospective building designers may consider degree programs such as architecture, architectural drafting or architectural technology. Courses may include subjects such as construction, residential home design, advanced math, physics, computer-aided design and construction laws. Building designers may continue education with a graduate degree program in architecture.

Certification Information

Certification may help building designers prove their skills and abilities to potential clients and employers. The National Council of Building Designer Certification (NCBDC) offers professional certification for experienced building designers who pass a specialized exam ( According to the NCBDC, eligible building designers must pay a fee, provide samples of their work and submit letters of recommendation to schedule a testing date. NCBDC-certified building designers may have access to exclusive benefits, professional networks and continuing education programs.

Building designers plan homes to meet function and appearance standards. While they have no standard education requirements, a degree in architecture might be helpful. Experienced designers can prove their competency through professional certifications, and some states have requirements for licensing.

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