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A rigorous combination of engineering and artistry, architects have the unique task of shaping our skylines and our spaces. Architects design buildings, houses, churches, schools, and airports. Their task is to design spaces to suit a client’s needs, ensure these spaces are safe and properly-engineered.

Architects Job Description

Architects are involved in building projects from the design phases to final construction. They are typically contracted or hired by a client, wherein they will discuss the client’s needs, objectives, and budget. They will then create drawings for the client to review, and may even be involved in all stages of construction. The architect’s plans are detailed blueprints with measurements of how the building will look, its materials, and how to build it. These drafts will show beams, placements of air-conditioners, furnaces,  rooms, and more details.

In drafting their designs, architects have to follow strict building codes, zoning laws, fire regulations, and more. They must offer access for disabled people. Typically, computer-aided design and drafting modeling (CADD) is used instead of pen to paper methods. This new technology makes it easier to revise plans and modify according to any budget constraints that may come up.

In some cases, the architect will offer predesign services such as conducting environmentally impact studies, selecting a site, and preparing land-use studies. The architect often collaborate with engineers, urban planners, interior designers, and other professionals. They must spend a great deal of their time coordinating information with others – in this way, negotiation and people skills are highly important in this role.

Architects Training and Degree Programs

The most direct route into the field of architecture is to enroll and complete a five-year bachelor degree program in architecture. The typical program includes courses in architectural history and theory, building design with an emphasis on CADD, construction methods, math, physics, and liberal arts. The design studio portion of the program emphasis drawing and the execution of the skills learned in the classroom. There are approximately 117 schools of architecture accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). There are also many schools that offer postprofessional degrees for those who already have a bachelor’s  or master’s degree in architecture or other areas. It’s not a requirement to have a graduate education in the field, it may be essential for research, teaching, and certain specialty areas.

Additionally, the architectural registration board requires architecture graduates to complete a three year training period before they can sit for the architecture board licensing exam.

Architects Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Median annual wages of wage-and-salary architects were $70,320 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $53,480 and $91,870. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,320, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $119,220.”