Career Information for a Degree in Architectural Engineering Technology

A degree in architectural engineering technology is often a good first step toward graduate school and a number of careers, including architectural engineering, drafting and cost estimation. Read about these career options and degree requirements.

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Cost estimators, drafters, and architectural engineers are all professionals who can prepare for their career with a degree in architectural engineering technology. Cost estimators are typically required to have a bachelor's degree, although experience and an associate's degree may be sufficient in some cases. Drafters need an associate's degree, and architectural engineers must have a bachelor's degree to pursue that profession.

Essential Information

Architectural engineering technology programs prepare people to help architects and engineers, so students learn to study building sites, build models, draw plans and write reports. Programs usually start with a focus on math and physics and expand to include highly specialized topics such as soil mechanics and structural mechanics. The principles of architectural design, including artistic traditions, practical concerns, techniques and materials are also studied intensively.

Career Architectural Engineer Drafter Cost Estimator
Required Education Bachelor's degree Associate's degree Bachelor's degree, though experience and a lesser degree may suffice
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% for all civil engineers -3% 9%
Median Salary (2015)* $82,220 for all civil engineers $50,710 $60,390

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

Graduates of architectural engineering technology degree programs apply the skills of many engineering disciplines to design new technology for the construction, operation, maintenance and renovation of buildings. Holders of a degree in this field may go on to work as architectural engineers, drafters and cost estimators.

Architectural Engineer

The architectural engineer's purpose is to create the essential plans for the buildings that make up our cities. Architectural engineers, also called civil engineers, use their analytical skills to design systems for lighting, ventilation, or heating and cooling, ensuring that the plans designed by the lead architect are as functional as they are aesthetic. It's important to keep in mind that engineers usually need a degree specifically in engineering, rather than engineering technology, so additional education may be required.

The employment of civil engineers is expected to grow due to repairs that need to be made to water systems, bridges, dams and roads. The BLS published the median salary earned by civil engineers as $82,220 in May 2015; the income earned will vary, depending on the experience, education level, and location of the professional.

Drafter

Drafting professionals use their analytical skills and a variety of technological tools to make visual guidelines for building construction, creating the blueprints that instruct and guide construction crews and other workers. A certificate or associate's degree related to drafting is usually needed to work in this career. Coursework in math, engineering and architecture is important.

According to the BLS, the advancement of technology and the computer programs used by drafters has influenced the growth of the field, resulting in a projected decline of job opportunities. This will lead to a lot of competition for graduates. The median annual salary for drafters was $50,710 as of May 2015.

Cost Estimator

Cost estimators compile and examine all the data that influences the cost of projects for businesses. This position is critical in maintaining the integrity of yearly budgets and achieving proper forecasting of needs. Becoming a cost estimator usually requires an engineering or construction bachelor's degree and a mathematics background.

The employment outlook is excellent for these professionals, as the BLS predicts that the employment of cost estimators will continue to grow at a slightly above-average rate. Prospects look the best for professionals with experience and the proper academic credentials. The BLS reported in May 2015 that the median annual salary earned by cost estimators was $60,390.

Cost estimators assess the materials needed to build a structure, while drafters prepare drawings and blueprints for the structures being built. Architectural engineers create designs for buildings and incorporate the building's systems into their design plan. Some of the skills these professionals can acquire from studies for a degree in architectural engineering include how to build models, write reports, and draw plans for structures.

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