What you need to know
Architects plan and design houses, factories, office buildings, and other structures.
Architects spend much of their time in offices, where they develop plans, meet with clients, and consult with engineers and other architects. They also visit construction sites to prepare initial drawings and review the progress of projects to ensure that clients’ objectives are met.
Some of the things an architect might do:
- Meet with clients to determine objectives and requirements for structures
- Give preliminary estimates of cost and construction time
- Prepare structure specifications
- Direct workers who prepare drawings and documents
- Prepare scaled drawings, either with computer software or by hand
- Prepare contract documents for building contractors
- Manage construction contracts
- Visit work sites to ensure that construction adheres to architectural plans
- Seek new work by marketing and giving presentations
- Analytical skills: Architects must understand the content of designs and the context in which they were created. For example, architects must understand the locations of mechanical systems and how those systems affect building operations.
- Communication skills: Architects share their ideas, both in oral presentations and in writing, with clients, other architects, and workers who help prepare drawings. Many also give presentations to explain their ideas and designs.
- Creativity: Architects design the overall look of houses, buildings, and other structures. Therefore, the final product should be attractive and functional.
- Organizational skills: Architects often manage contracts. Therefore, they must keep records related to the details of a project, including total cost, materials used, and progress.
- Technical skills: Architects need to use CADD technology to create plans as part of building information modeling (BIM).
- Visualization skills: Architects must be able to envision how the parts of a structure relate to each other. They also must be able to visualize how the overall building will look once completed.
The average pay for architects in the United States ranges from $47,480 to $134,610.
The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.
Employment of architects is projected to grow 4 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations.
Demand for architects with a knowledge of “green design,” also called sustainable design, is expected to continue. Architects should be needed to design buildings and structures that efficiently use resources, such as energy and water conservation; reduce waste and pollution; and apply environmentally friendly design, specifications, and materials.
In all states, earning a bachelor’s degree in architecture is typically the first step to becoming an architect. Most architects earn their degree through a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree program. Many earn a master’s degree in architecture, which can take 1 to 5 additional years. The time required depends on the extent of the student’s previous education and training in architecture.
A typical bachelor’s degree program includes courses in architectural history and theory, building design with an emphasis on computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), structures, construction methods, professional practices, math, physical sciences, and liberal arts.
Discover some of the courses you will take pursuing a degree in Architecture.