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Building Designer: Job Description & Career Requirements

A majority of building design ventures are residential or light commercial building projects that do not require the official credentials of an architect. Find out the necessary training and skills, in addition to the salary and job outlook, to decide about pursuing this career.

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Career Definition for a Building Designer

Because many building designers specialize in residential design or residential remodeling, they often are known as residential designers. Like architects, they create designs for new buildings or remodeling projects that comply with building codes and meet the specifications and vision of their clients.

Education Associate degree or bachelor's degree in architecture
Job Skills Problem-solving, excellent communication, working under a budget
Average Salary (2015)* $53,470 (for architectural and civil drafters)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* -3% (for architectural and civil drafters)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Building designers need to complete a 2-year associate degree or a 4-year bachelor's degree in architecture. Coursework covers subjects like construction, math, physical sciences and residential and commercial design with an emphasis on CADD (Computer Aided Design and Drafting). Aspiring designers also are encouraged to sit for a certification exam by an established agency or association.

Skills Required

A building designer is able to solve complex problems and work under the parameters and limitations of a budget while translating the vision and ideas of a client into a physical product. Building designers should also be adept at communicating effectively with various groups of people.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not keep statistics on building designers specifically. It does provide data for the related career of architectural drafting; architectural drafters are not licensed architects, but they use computer technology to prepare plans for buildings. Architectural drafters, combined with all other types of technical drafters, could expect to see job decline of three percent from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, the average annual salary for an architectural or civil drafter was $53,470.

Alternate Career Options

Individuals pursuing employment as a building designer may be interested in opportunities in architecture and interior design.

Architect

Architects, unlike building designers, must graduate from an architecture school accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board, pass the Architecture Registration Examination and be licensed. They can expect better job growth than architectural drafters from 2014-2024 of about 7%, which is faster than the average for all occupations, according to the BLS. The average annual salary for architects as of May 2015 was $82,850.

Interior Designer

Those more interested in the interiors of buildings and homes might consider a career in interior design. These designers choose colors, fabrics, furniture and even lighting to create functional and attractive interior areas. A bachelor's degree is the most common entry education for this career, and the field expected a lower than average growth level of 4% from 2014-2024, according to the BLS. The average annual salary reported by the BLS in 2015 was $55,510.

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