Alternative Careers for Architects

There are a number of different paths that architects can consider if they want to make a career change. Career alternatives are discussed in detail along with educational requirements.

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Alternative Careers for Architects

Individuals who have worked as architects may be interested in exploring a different career. There are a number of alternative jobs for which architects may be well-suited and qualified. Below, we will look at five of these job possibilities and discuss why they could be a good fit for architects as well as what type of responsibilities each job entails.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Construction Manager $89,300 11%
Architectural and Engineering Manager $134,730 6%
Cost Estimator $61,790 11%
Urban and Regional Planner $70,020 13%
Craft/Fine Artist $48,780 8%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Information About Alternative Careers for Architects

Construction Manager

As an architect, you may be interested in pursuing a more construction-oriented job as a construction manager, which entails overseeing the entire construction process from creating budgets, plans, and timelines to the completion of the project. Architects may have experience in working with construction managers, as they often work closely with them to ensure that their designs are being constructed properly, so they may have a familiarity with the details of this job. To become a construction manager, you typically need to have a bachelor's degree in a field like construction management or architecture.

Architectural and Engineering Manager

Individuals who are still interested in staying within the architectural field but want to pursue a more administrative role may want to consider a job as an architectural and engineering manager. This job involves overseeing the work of other architects and engineers, helping develop plans for new projects and products, and taking care of various administrative tasks like budgeting, hiring, training, and scheduling. These professionals generally have a master's degree in architecture along with a significant amount of prior work experience in the architecture field.

Cost Estimator

Some architects may be interested in transitioning to a job as a cost estimator, which involves determining the overall cost of a project. These professionals often work with people like construction managers or architects in order to figure out what types of materials are needed to bring a design into reality. They typically need to be able to read blueprints, use computer-aided design (CAD) software, and have an understanding of the overall design and construction process, skills that architects have likely already developed. To become a cost estimator, you typically need a bachelor's degree along with several years of work experience in a field relevant to construction.

Urban and Regional Planner

A career as an urban and regional planner may also be of interest to architects, as these professionals are also involved in the design process though they focus on how to use and develop public lands to accommodate the needs of a community. They likely collaborate with a number of other professionals--like government officials, construction managers and workers, architects, and engineers--in order to create plans to develop or revitalize a city. They also need to be aware of the various city and state laws that dictate how land is zoned and specify how structures should be built. Architects may have to return to school to make this career transition, as most urban and regional planners have a master's degree in the field, though an architect's work experience will likely help them be successful in this role.

Craft/Fine Artist

Individuals who are primarily interested in the design and creation process of architecture and who want to further express their artistic abilities may want to become craft or fine artists. There are many different types of craft and fine artists, from painters and sculptors to jewelry makers and glass artists. Architects could apply the creative power they put into their building designs to the creation of different types of works of art. To become a craft or fine artist, there are no specific prerequisites though many fine artists have pursued a relevant bachelor's degree.

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