Building Technology Career Options and Requirements

Degrees in building technology typically cover architecture, design and engineering topics. Find out about the requirements of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for building technology graduates.

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A career in building technology as a construction worker can be learned through obtaining certificates from community colleges or trade schools and on-the-job training or an apprenticeship. Architects and civil engineers also work in the building technology industry, and are required to have a bachelor's degree in their field. Architects and civil engineers must also be licensed.

Essential Information

Building technology is a vast industry that offers an assortment of career opportunities with varying degrees of training and education requirements. These careers are best suited for people who have an interest in construction, architecture, design and engineering.

Career Construction Worker Architect Civil Engineer
Education Requirements Certification and vocational programs are available Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements On-the-job training; apprenticeships are available Training program, an apprenticeship and licensure Licensure typically required
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 13% 7% 8%
Average Salary (2015)* $36,550 $82,850 $87,940

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

Career Options

There are various career options to choose from in the field of building technology. Many professionals with training are employed as construction workers, while others with more advanced education in this fieldwork as architects and engineers.

Construction Workers

The construction industry offers a variety of occupational options. Most employees in this industry are construction trade workers, such as carpet installers, cement pavers, stonemasons and drywall installers. Other construction employees include mechanical and installation workers, such as elevator, heating and air-conditioning professionals. Managerial positions of varying levels of responsibility are also available in this industry. Project managers, for example, oversee other supervisors and consult with architects' plans to ensure that every phase of a project is completed on schedule and to specifications.

Construction Worker Requirements

Prospective construction workers can begin their careers by earning certificates in building technology through trade schools or community colleges. Such certificate programs typically take one year to complete and train students in the technical aspects of the construction process. Curricula may focus on electricity, blueprint reading, flooring, roofing and carpentry. Construction workers who specialize in a particular aspect of construction usually obtain more advanced training through apprenticeships or similar training programs.

With experience and undergraduate education, construction workers can advance to managerial positions. Bachelor's degree programs in construction science prepare students for the construction, architecture and business aspects of construction supervising. Courses may include building materials, construction equipment, project planning, cost estimating and management.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted construction laborers would see employment opportunities increase from 2014 until 2024 at a rate of 13%. The average annual salary for these workers was $36,550 as of May 2015, the BLS said.

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Architects

Architects use engineering skills, construction knowledge and artistry to design building structures. During the design process, they must take into account a variety of factors, such as building codes, construction costs and the practical functionally of structures. They participate in the entire building development process and coordinate with numerous professionals, such as construction workers, engineers, urban planners and clients.

Architect Requirements

Architect requirements vary by state; however, there are three general steps for entering the architectural occupation. First, candidates must earn at least a bachelor's degree in architecture from an educational program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. Bachelor of Architecture programs usually take five years to complete and are offered by universities, colleges and architecture schools. Courses may include building systems, structural design, site planning, architectural theory and a design project.

Next, graduates of architectural degree programs complete internships or training programs established by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. These programs, which are required for architects in all states, usually take three years to complete. Lastly, candidates who complete this extensive training can sit for the Architect Registration Examination and acquire the necessary licensure to serve as an architect.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Architects could see employment growth rates of 7% during the 2014 to 2024 decade, the BLS reported. Their average salary was $82,850, the BLS reported in May 2015.

Civil Engineers

Civil engineers design, coordinate and supervise the construction of buildings and other structures. They must consider a variety of factors in the design and building process, such as construction costs, government regulations and safety hazards. While some engineers spend most of their time in offices, others travel to construction sites to oversee the building process. Many civil engineers work as supervisors or administrators of construction sites.

Civil Engineer Requirements

Civil engineers usually enter the field with bachelor's degrees. Bachelor's degree programs in civil engineering instruct students in theory and methods of construction and building design. The curricula may focus on fluid mechanics, structural design, construction materials, transportation engineering and systems design. Prospective civil engineers should seek degree programs approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Along with formal education, civil engineers are required to obtain licensure to provide the public with architectural services. Candidates can earn licensure through state-approved licensing boards. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying provides candidates with licensure in all 50 states. Specific requirements vary in each state; however, licensure applicants are usually required to hold bachelor's degrees from ABET-accredited degree programs and pass an initial Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. They must also serve as engineer interns or engineers in training for four years and take a final Principles and Practices of Engineering (PE) exam to obtain licensure.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Civil engineers were expected to see an increase in employment opportunities of 8% from 2014 until 2024. These professionals earned an average of $87,940 in May 2015, the BLS found.

Advanced Education in Building Technology

Architects and engineers can continue their educations with advanced degrees in building technology. Some colleges and universities offer master's and doctorate degree programs in building technology. These programs may be in conjunction with architecture or engineering departments and are intended for students with formal degrees in one of these fields. Building technology graduate degree programs are generally research-oriented and focus on a specialization of the discipline, such as structural systems or lighting and daylighting design.

There are many career options in the building technology industry that vary from focusing on building design to building construction. Construction workers include stonemasons, drywall installers and carpet installers, and these professionals perform the hands-on tasks involved in constructing a building. Architects create the building's design, while civil engineers focus on the building materials and process of construction as the project develops.

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