What Is An Architect?
An architect is a skilled professional who designs, plans, and oversees the construction of buildings and structures. They are responsible for ensuring that the built environment is functional, aesthetically pleasing, and safe for the people who will use it. Architects work closely with clients, engineers, contractors, and other stakeholders to create spaces that meet the needs of the individuals or organizations that will occupy them.
The primary duties of an architect include:
- Developing design concepts and translating them into detailed architectural plans
- Collaborating with clients to determine their needs and preferences for the project
- Coordinating with engineers, contractors, and other professionals involved in the construction process
- Creating detailed drawings and specifications for building materials, construction techniques, and installations
- Ensuring compliance with building codes, safety regulations, and industry best practices
- Obtaining necessary permits and approvals from local authorities
- Overseeing construction projects to ensure adherence to the design and monitor progress
Architects commonly use computer-aided design (CAD) software, 3D modeling tools, and building information modeling (BIM) systems to create and manage their designs.
Day In The Life of an Architect
A typical day for an architect may involve a variety of tasks, such as:
- Meeting with clients to discuss design ideas and project requirements
- Developing and refining design concepts using CAD software or hand-drawn sketches
- Collaborating with engineers and other professionals to ensure the feasibility of proposed designs
- Reviewing design proposals, specifications, and cost estimates
- Visiting construction sites to monitor progress and address any issues that arise
- Attending meetings with clients, contractors, and government officials
Architect Work Schedule
Architects typically work full-time, with many working more than 40 hours per week to meet project deadlines. The job can be mentally demanding, as architects are responsible for making critical decisions related to design, safety, and compliance. They often work in office settings but also spend time on construction sites, which may expose them to varying weather conditions and potential hazards.
Growth Of The Architect Career
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of architects is projected to grow 1% from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations. However, demand for architects will remain strong as new construction projects and infrastructure improvements continue to be necessary. Those with expertise in sustainable design and energy-efficient technologies may have better job prospects.
Architects can advance in their careers by becoming licensed, pursuing specialized certifications, or moving into managerial roles within architecture firms or construction companies.
Typical Architect Employers
Architects may work for a variety of employers, including:
- Architectural firms
- Engineering companies
- Construction companies
- Government agencies (local, state, and federal)
- Real estate development firms
- Self-employment/freelance opportunities
How To Become An Architect
To become an architect, you typically need:
- A professional degree in architecture, such as a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) or Master of Architecture (M.Arch)
- Completion of the Architectural Experience Program (AXP), which involves several thousand hours of work experience under the supervision of a licensed architect
- Successful completion of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), a series of exams covering various aspects of architectural practice
- Licensure in the state where you plan to work
Some architects may also choose to pursue specialized certifications, such as those offered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) or the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Architect Salary Data
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for architects in May 2020 was $82,320. The lowest 10% earned less than $50,600, while the highest 10% earned more than $137,620.
Popular Colleges for Architect
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- Harvard University
- Columbia University
- University of California, Berkeley
- Cornell University
Job Growth Projections And Forecast for Architect
As mentioned earlier, the employment of architects is projected to grow 1% from 2020 to 2030. This growth is mainly driven by the need for new construction projects and infrastructure improvements. However, competition for jobs may be strong, especially for entry-level positions, as the number of graduates from architecture programs often exceeds the number of available positions.