Advancement Opportunities for Architects

Aug 18, 2018

Architects, who design and plan building projects, may wish to grow their careers by focusing on specific areas of architecture, such as architectural history, urban design, or naval architecture, or they may manage others as sustainability directors or architectural managers.

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Career Growth Opportunities for Architects

Architects are building professionals who work on designing, planning, and overseeing the construction of a range of building projects. After working as an architect, some may wish to advance their careers. Some options may be in managing other professionals as a sustainability director or architectural manager, focusing on the design of maritime structures as a naval architect, or focusing on the built environments of cities as an architectural historian or urban designer. Some information about these professions is provided here.

Job Title Median Salary Job Growth (2016-2026)* Education or Experience
Architectural Historian $48,757 (2018)** 12% (museum technicians and conservators) Master's degree and NPS certification
Urban Designer $56,830 (2018)** 13% (urban and regional planners) Master's degree
Naval Architect $90,790 (2017 median salary for naval architects and marine engineers)* 12% (marine engineers and naval architects) Bachelor's degree
Sustainability Director $105,306 (2018)** 8% (top executives) Master's degree
Architectural Manager $137,720 (2017 median salary for architectural and engineering managers)* 6% (architectural and engineering managers) Master's degree

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

Career Information

Architectural Historian

Architects must have a strong understanding of the history of the building environment. Furthering this knowledge may lead to a role as an architectural historian. Architectural historians research the buildings in cities and other areas, and they provide oversight to historic preservation projects. Architectural historians must meet requirements set forth by the Department of the Interior, including a graduate degree in architecture or a related field and substantial scholarly contributions to the field of architectural history.

Urban Designer

Architects must understand the impact of architectural designs on the urban landscape. Those that wish to focus upon this relationship might consider a role as an urban designer. Urban designers are responsible for ensuring appropriate land use within an urban environment. They may survey available land or offer educational programs on responsible land use. They consult with architects and construction engineers to ensure that projects are progressing appropriately. Some focus on environmental issues, such as brownfield remediation, or on infrastructure concerns. Typically, an urban designer will hold a master's degree in a related field.

Naval Architect

Some architects may desire to advance their careers by moving into specific areas of architecture. One option to examine is that of a naval architect. Naval architects are responsible for designing ships, including hulls, superstructures, and interiors. They may also design other marine structures such as offshore drilling rigs and turbines. They are responsible for ensuring that safety standards are followed, and must confer with other professionals and engineers to ensure that designs are properly completed according to budget requirements. A minimum of a bachelor's degree is required; however, a master's degree may help candidates to advance in this field.

Sustainability Director

Architects must have a solid understanding of environmental programming. Those that wish to promote environmental policies within a corporate environment might consider a position as a sustainability director. Sustainability directors are responsible for developing the long-term environmental policy for companies, ensuring that both environmental and business priorities are considered. Specific projects may include any building projects or production improvements. They educate others within the company as to the importance of sustainability initiatives and may interface with government officials. A sustainability director typically has a master's degree and extensive experience working on sustainability initiatives.

Architectural Manager

Some architects may seek advancement in a management role and might consider a position as an architectural manager. These professionals are responsible for directing the work of other architects and may be responsible for the hiring and training of new architects. They ensure that the designs created by junior architects are sound, and that projects progress according to budgetary requirements. A minimum of a master's degree in architecture is required; however, a master's in engineering management or an MBA is helpful in seeking architectural management positions.

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