Education and Training: 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree or a 2-year Master of Architecture degree
Average Salary: $50,000 to $70,000 annually
Job Outlook: Good
Architects are the ones responsible for brainstorming, designing, consulting, and supervising the construction of buildings and real estate developments. Similar to engineers, they have to ensure that the design of the building is more than just aesthetically pleasant, because it is important that the space for building, the costs expended on construction, and the utility of each aspect of the building has a specific contribution to the function, economy, and integrity of the building.
This is why architects usually consult with engineers, contractors, and landscapers in order to examine every aspect of the construction. Architects are also responsible for communicating their designs to the clients. This would require an effective set of communication skills, because not only do they have to explain the necessity of each part of the design, but they would also have to sell the idea to the client in order to get the project.
The more experienced architects can even opt to go with being self-employed as long as they have the particular set of skills, educational and experiential background, and the credentials to make it in the architecture industry.
Education and Training Requirements
There are several levels by which aspiring architects can get a good education for their career. The most basic education that one can get on architecture is a Bachelor of Architecture. For better chances of landing a job as an architect, getting into a program that has been approved by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) would be a good start.
One of these programs is a Master’s degree in Architecture. Generally, schools offering this program will accept students who have already graduated with a bachelor’s degree in any field. However, some universities will require a Bachelor of Science degree to get in. For architects who want to get an NAAB-approved Master’s program, be prepared to take one to five years of studies before completing the program.
The Master’s program in architecture can allow one to get professional work in the field, which can then be counted as experience that is valuable in the job market.
Those who may want to take on teaching positions in architecture may want to dabble in getting a doctorate for Architecture. But this is not a requirement for practicing architects.
Getting the Job
License is one of the issues that one has to deal with in trying to get the job. In at least 50 states, it is required for architects to carry a license, while for other states, one may have to deal with varying licensing requirements.
Getting an architecture license would require a professional degree, a practical internship, and the Architect Registration Examination by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.
Once an architect becomes licensed, gaining experience will be easier and the architect can then take on more jobs. Another way to move forward with one’s architectural job is to pursue a part-time job while pursuing an education. This would count as part of experience. In some cases, this can allow one to enter internships, a helpful feat in attaining a job.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development
Because of the various degrees, programs, and internships that one can get in order to advance one’s level of knowledge and experience in architecture, more aspiring architects are trying to get the best education in the industry. This is why the job market is continually experiencing a rise in competition among architects.
Even so, job opportunities are still growing, especially with the trend of high-rise condominiums and other buildings. With the continuous rise of real estate development, housing and urban planning, and construction, the job opportunities for architects will only thrive in the coming years.
Working Conditions and Environment
Most of the time, architects can expect to work in a comfortable office environment. They work on projects, reports, and drawings, meeting with clients or fixing requirements for deadlines. However, during outdoor visits and field work, architects would have to work outdoors at construction sites. Ideally, architects only have to work 40 hours a week. But in the event of many projects, they can extend overtime during weekdays or even weekends in order to meet deadlines.
There are also self-employed architects. Usually, they would have to devote more hours, especially if the firm is smaller and has more manual labor than other corporations.
Salary and Benefits
One advantage with becoming an architect is the stability of the salary and benefits that come with the job. Despite the fluctuating economy, an architect’s income remains steady. In fact, those who have prior education and solid experience in architecture may even experience a rise in their income.
Those who have graduated with a degree in architecture can earn as much as $47,000 a year. The more experience an architect has, the higher the salary. As of 2009, the highest salary that one can have in architecture reached to almost $100,000.
Architects who want to establish their own firms would be able to do so, but they should expect a particular period of time wherein the expenses that they will have would be much greater than their income.
Where to Go for More Information
National Architectural Accrediting Board
1735 New York Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20006
The American Institute of Architects
1735 New York Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20006-5292