Job Description of a Deck Designer

Sep 26, 2019

Learn about the education and training needed to become a deck designer. Get a quick overview of the requirements as well as details about education and job responsibilities to find out if this is the career for you.

Architects design structures, taking into account the client's needs, budget, available space and style preferences. They may be hired to design a deck for clients and work with them to determine the specifications before completing plans.

Essential Information

When a customer wants to have a deck or other outdoor structure designed, he or she might consult a deck designer, who is a type of architect. A designer communicates with the client to make design and engineering decisions that meet the client's needs. Designers typically need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in architecture and must complete training and licensing requirements.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in architecture (typically a 5-year program)
Additional Requirements 3 years of training or internship
Licensure Required; candidates must pass state-mandated testing after completion of degree and 3 years training; continuing education is required to maintain licensure
Optional Certification National Council of Architectural Registration Boards certification is recommended (required for state licensing reciprocity)
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 8% for architects, except naval and landscape
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $79,380 for architects, except naval and landscape

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Deck Designer Job Description

Deck designers plan the layout of a deck and decide what materials to use in its construction, in addition to estimating the cost and length of the project. They determine how much space there is to work with and communicate with clients to determine the size of the final product. Deck designers then draw out plans, create scale drawings and make visits to the construction site to monitor progress.

Duties of a Deck Designer

Today's designers use a variety of tools and computer software programs to develop plans and building contracts. They need strong skills in design, engineering, sales, marketing, communication and public safety.

The ultimate goal of a deck designer is developing and producing a finished product that meets the customers' needs. Oftentimes, designers help customers with pre-construction tasks, such as finding contractors and negotiating the cost of construction. Deck designers usually work in close quarters with other professionals, including landscape architects and engineers.

Deck Designer Requirements

Aspiring deck designers should pursue a bachelor's degree in architecture from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 123 schools that offered programs recognized by the NAAB as of 2012 ( Most Bachelor of Architecture programs take students five years to complete and offer core courses like the following:

  • Architectural design
  • The history of architecture
  • Visual communications and digital media
  • Methods and materials
  • Small and large scale buildings
  • Physics
  • Structures and structure systems

Training Requirements

Before entering the workforce, prospective architects must complete at least three years of training. Some states count internships completed during a formal education program as part of the 3-year training period.

Licensing and Certification Requirements

In every state, architects must be licensed, a process that typically involves earning a degree from an accredited program, completing a 3-year internship or specialized training and passing a 9-part examination. Most states require designers to take continuing education courses to keep their licenses valid.

Certification by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards is strongly suggested. Nearly one third of all architects hold this certification, and it is the primary requirement for state licensing reciprocity.

Career Prospects and Salary Information

The BLS predicts that architect jobs will increase faster than average for all occupations from 2018-2028. The agency also reports that architects earned an mean salary of $88,860 in 2018. These figures do not include naval and landscape architects.

Deck designers are architects who have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in architecture. They must also complete an internship and be licensed by their state.

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