Building a career in architecture has many benefits. With an aptitude for design and skill in mathematics, architects plan and develop physical structures including but not limited to homes, bridges, factories, firms, etc. In this article, we shall explore the requirements to be an architect and the current job prospects.
Education and training requirements of a career in architecture
All architects need to complete a bachelor’s degree in architecture. There are five-year undergraduate programs in architecture which most architects choose to complete. A master’s degree is optional, with architects completing these programs anywhere between one and five years. The time needed to study a master’s program varies depending on former education received by the architect and any practical experience in the field.
The bachelor’s degree in architecture has courses in architectural theory and history, designing buildings, geometrical structures, physics, construction procedures, and many others. Studying a diverse range of courses in their undergraduate years prepares architects to deal with the advantages and challenges posed by the profession. Some schools also emphasize on gaining hands-on experience simultaneously with studying.
Presently, it is a requirement in 35 states to have a degree in architecture from among 122 accredited schools of architecture. The website of the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) has more details on which schools have this accreditation.
In addition, every state requires architecture graduates to do a three-year internship before they can appear for the Architect Registration Examination. You can complete your training requirement by interning at an architectural firm that is included within the Architectural Experience Program (AXP).
In certain states, future architects can work in the offices of related professionals such as civil engineers, urban planners, and landscape architects. Interns may be involved in designing sections of a project or with researching information for a building project. Work produced by interns is compiled by licensed architects, signed and sealed to form final plans.
License and registration requirements
Licensing requirements vary by state and can be located at the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) website. Architects in every state require a license to practise. To qualify for a license, an architect needs to complete a program of study, gain the three year work experience, and pass the Architect Registration Examination.
In some states, architects may be required to go through continuing education programs in order to retain their license. These education programs may include workshops, additional classes, training programs, etc.
Duties of an architect
The job description of an architect is fairly broad but typically includes producing design frameworks, performing or directing other workers with creating designs, providing cost and time estimates for finishing a project. Other responsibilities include interacting with clients to understand their vision and requirement for a structure, write contracts for construction personnel, and visit locations to measure progress and provide guidance to workers.
Architects work on designing both public and private spaces that enable people to live, walk, eat, learn, and play. An architect can be asked to design almost anything from a single room to an intricate building structure. Building spaces is sometimes also associated with consideration of factors like environment safety and impact to the neighborhood. Architects often provide reports on the feasibility, site selection, and design requirements of a construction project.
Architects must have analytical skills, technical abilities, organizational talent, creativity, and communication skills. Drawing skills by hand are necessary especially during the conceptual phase of a project. Popular careers for architects are building architects, architectural designers for buildings, designers of buildings, planners, and structural architects.
Current employment statistics
In the year 2019, architects had almost 129,900 jobs. About 68% architects worked in engineering, architectural, and connected services. 20% of workers were self-employed while 3% worked in government services. 2% were employed in construction activities.
Most architects work in full-time positions among which many put in additional time especially during tight deadlines. Architects who are self-employed have better flexibility with their work schedules.
Salary of an architect
The Occupational Outlook Handbook states that the median income of an architect in 2019 was $80,750 or $38.82 per hour annually.
Employment outlook and job prospects
In terms of job outlook, the employment rate of architects is predicted to increase 1% from 2019 to 2029. This rate is slower than the average rate for all professions. Because of advancement in technology, the productivity of architects is expected to rise thereby reducing the availability of employment positions for architects.
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