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Become An Architectural Consultant

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Working As An Architectural Consultant

  • Thinking Creatively
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $94,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Architectural Consultant Do

Architects plan and design houses, factories, office buildings, and other structures.

Duties

Architects typically do the following:

  • Meet with clients to determine objectives and requirements for structures
  • Give preliminary estimates on 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 worksites to ensure that construction adheres to architectural plans
  • Seek new work by marketing and giving presentations

People need places to live, work, play, learn, shop, and eat. Architects are responsible for designing these places. They work on public or private projects and design both indoor and outdoor spaces. Architects can be commissioned to design anything from a single room to an entire complex of buildings.

Architects discuss the objectives, requirements, and budget of a project with clients. In some cases, architects provide various predesign services, such as feasibility and environmental impact studies, site selection, cost analyses, and design requirements.

Architects develop final construction plans after discussing and agreeing on the initial proposal with clients. These plans show the building’s appearance and details of its construction. Accompanying these plans are drawings of the structural system; air-conditioning, heating, and ventilating systems; electrical systems; communications systems; and plumbing. Sometimes, landscape plans are included as well. In developing designs, architects must follow state and local building codes, zoning laws, fire regulations, and other ordinances, such as those requiring easy access to buildings for people who are disabled.

Computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) and building information modeling (BIM) have replaced traditional drafting paper and pencil as the most common methods for creating designs and construction drawings. However, hand-drawing skills are still required, especially during the conceptual stages of a project and when an architect is at a construction site.

As construction continues, architects may visit building sites to ensure that contractors follow the design, adhere to the schedule, use the specified materials, and meet work-quality standards. The job is not complete until all construction is finished, required tests are conducted, and construction costs are paid.

Architects may also help clients get construction bids, select contractors, and negotiate construction contracts.

Architects often collaborate with workers in related occupations, such as civil engineers, urban and regional planners, drafters, interior designers, and landscape architects.

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How To Become An Architectural Consultant

There are typically three main steps to becoming a licensed architect: completing a professional degree in architecture, gaining relevant experience through a paid internship, and passing the Architect Registration Examination.

Education

In all states, earning a professional degree in architecture is typically the first step to becoming an architect. Most architects earn their professional degree through a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree program, intended for students with no previous architectural training. Many earn a master’s degree in architecture, which can take 1 to 5 years in addition to the time spent earning a bachelor’s degree. The amount of 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. Central to most architectural programs is the design studio, where students apply the skills and concepts learned in the classroom to create drawings and three-dimensional models of their designs.

Currently, 34 states require that architects hold a professional degree in architecture from one of the 123 schools of architecture accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). State licensing requirements can be found at the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). In the states that do not have that requirement, applicants can become licensed with 8 to 13 years of related work experience in addition to a high school diploma. However, most architects in these states still obtain a professional degree in architecture.

Training

All state architectural registration boards require architecture graduates to complete a lengthy paid internship—generally 3 years of experience—before they may sit for the Architect Registration Examination. Most new graduates complete their training period by working at architectural firms through the Intern Development Program (IDP), a program run by NCARB that guides students through the internship process. Some states allow a portion of the training to occur in the offices of employers in related careers, such as engineers and general contractors. Architecture students who complete internships while still in school can count some of that time toward the 3-year training period.

Interns in architectural firms may help design part of a project. They may help prepare architectural documents and drawings, build models, and prepare construction drawings on CADD. Interns may also research building codes and write specifications for building materials, installation criteria, the quality of finishes, and other related details. Licensed architects will take the documents that interns produce, make edits to them, finalize plans, and then sign and seal the documents.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states and the District of Columbia require architects to be licensed. Licensing requirements typically include completing a professional degree in architecture, gaining relevant experience through a paid internship, and passing the Architect Registration Examination.

Most states also require some form of continuing education to keep a license, and some additional states are expected to adopt mandatory continuing education. Requirements vary by state but usually involve additional education through workshops, university classes, conferences, self-study courses, or other sources.

A growing number of architects voluntarily seek certification from NCARB. This certification makes it easier to become licensed across states, because it is the primary requirement for reciprocity of licensing among state boards that are NCARB members. In 2014, approximately one-third of all licensed architects had the certification.

Advancement

After many years of work experience, some architects advance to become architectural and engineering managers. These managers typically coordinate the activities of employees and may work on larger construction projects.

Important Qualities

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 see 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.

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Architectural Consultant Career Paths

Architectural Consultant
Consultant Information Technology Manager Information Technology Director
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
Consultant Senior Software Engineer
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Consultant Owner/Operator Construction Manager
Senior Project Manager Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Architect Project Manager Development Manager
Senior Development Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Architect Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director Information Technology Infrastructure
13 Yearsyrs
Architect Project Manager Senior Manager
Practice Leader
11 Yearsyrs
Architectural Designer Project Architect
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Architectural Designer Senior Designer Founder
Chief Technology Officer & Founder
9 Yearsyrs
Architectural Designer Computer Aided Design Designer Information Technology Manager
Director, Applications
12 Yearsyrs
Job Captain Senior Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Infrastructure Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Job Captain Senior Project Manager Business Development Director
Solutions Director
13 Yearsyrs
Job Captain Senior Project Manager Technical Director
Director Of Enterprise Architecture
14 Yearsyrs
Data Architect Senior Programmer Analyst Senior Analyst
Manager, Strategy
8 Yearsyrs
Data Architect Project Leader Delivery Manager
Senior Delivery Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Data Architect Senior Software Engineer Solutions Architect
Solutions Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Designer Project Architect Senior Technical Architect
Principal Technologist
10 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Information Technology Project Manager Enterprise Project Manager
Enterprise Program Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Information Technology Consultant Information Technology Operations Manager
Senior Manager Infrastructure
12 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Architectural Consultant?

Architectural Consultant Demographics

Gender

Male

69.4%

Female

20.4%

Unknown

10.3%
Ethnicity

White

56.0%

Hispanic or Latino

14.7%

Asian

13.5%

Black or African American

10.7%

Unknown

5.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

28.0%

Italian

16.0%

French

14.0%

German

6.0%

Mandarin

6.0%

Chinese

4.0%

Polish

4.0%

Russian

2.0%

Portuguese

2.0%

Telugu

2.0%

Vietnamese

2.0%

Welsh

2.0%

Cantonese

2.0%

Amharic

2.0%

Tigrinya

2.0%

Arabic

2.0%

Shan

2.0%

Korean

2.0%
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Architectural Consultant Education

Schools

University of Illinois at Chicago

13.0%

Columbia University

8.1%

Pratt Institute-Main

7.3%

University of Texas at Austin

6.5%

University of Kansas

5.7%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

4.9%

Wentworth Institute of Technology

4.9%

Washington University in Saint Louis

4.1%

New York University

4.1%

New York Institute of Technology - Old Westbury

4.1%

University of Southern California

4.1%

Purdue University

4.1%

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

4.1%

University of Pennsylvania

4.1%

Cornell University

4.1%

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

4.1%

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

3.3%

University of Idaho

3.3%

University of Phoenix

3.3%

Florida International University

3.3%
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Majors

Architecture

33.8%

Business

13.3%

Computer Science

10.8%

Computer Information Systems

3.8%

Electrical Engineering

3.4%

Drafting And Design

3.2%

Management

3.0%

Environmental Design

3.0%

Urban Planning

2.7%

Project Management

2.7%

Finance

2.7%

Management Information Systems

2.5%

Civil Engineering

2.3%

Marketing

2.3%

Landscape Architecture

2.1%

Construction Management

1.9%

Education

1.7%

Computer Engineering

1.7%

Architectural Technology

1.7%

Interior Design

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.9%

Masters

33.9%

Other

14.5%

Associate

6.5%

Certificate

3.0%

Doctorate

1.6%

License

0.3%

Diploma

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$94,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$63,000
Min 10%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$141,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
ZS
Highest Paying City
Plymouth, MN
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
2.4 years
How much does an Architectural Consultant make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Architectural Consultant in the United States is $94,566 per year or $45 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $63,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $141,000.

Real Architectural Consultant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Solutions Architecture Consultant Dell Marketing LP Seattle, WA Apr 15, 2013 $165,000
Solutions Architecture Consultant Dell Marketing LP Waxhaw, NC Apr 29, 2013 $165,000
Architectural Consultant Onebeacon Insurance Group Farmington, CT Jul 19, 2010 $150,000
Architectural Consultant Onebeacon Insurance Group Farmington, CT Jan 07, 2011 $150,000
Solution Architecture Consultant ZS Associates, Inc. Foster City, CA Dec 02, 2016 $148,100
Solution Architecture Consultant ZS Associates, Inc. Evanston, IL Dec 28, 2015 $148,100
Strategy and Architecture Consultant ZS Associates, Inc. Princeton, NJ Dec 16, 2015 $148,000
Application Technology Architecture Consultant/Expert Epitec, Inc. Dearborn, MI Nov 14, 2016 $147,264
Application Technology Architecture Consultant/Expert Epitec, Inc. Dearborn, MI Nov 14, 2016 $141,728
Solution Architecture Consultant Dell Marketing LP Round Rock, TX Oct 15, 2014 $137,695
Internet Network Architecture Consultant Fiserv Global Services, Inc. Brookfield, WI Nov 05, 2010 $135,000
Solution Architecture Consultant ZS Associates, Inc. New York, NY Nov 15, 2016 $133,000
Senior Enterprise Architecture Consultant Optum Services, Inc. Plymouth, MN Jun 10, 2016 $129,688 -
$151,800
Solutions Architecture Consultant Dell Marketing L.P. Lansing, MI Aug 30, 2015 $112,480
Application Technology Architecture Consultant Advantage Technical Services, Inc. Dearborn, MI Sep 09, 2015 $110,361
Technology Architecture Consultant Accenture LLP Jacksonville, FL Dec 27, 2016 $110,000
Solutions Architecture Consultant Dell Marketing, LP Austin, TX Oct 01, 2012 $110,000
Technology Architecture Consultant Accenture LLP Pittsburgh, PA Dec 27, 2016 $110,000
Architecture Consultant State Street Bank and Trust Company Quincy, MA Nov 16, 2015 $110,000 -
$135,000
Architecture Consultant State Street Bank and Trust Company Quincy, MA Jun 06, 2016 $110,000 -
$160,000
Solution Architecture Consultant ZS Associates, Inc. Evanston, IL Aug 25, 2014 $95,000 -
$105,000
Architectural Consultant Odeveloper Inc. Weston, FL Jul 27, 2016 $93,000
Architectural Consultant Sacred Family Investments, Inc. Doral, FL Aug 29, 2016 $92,000
Solution Architecture Consultant Millennium Software, Inc. Allen Park, MI Jun 15, 2016 $90,000
Principal: Architectural Expert Consultant CSC Consulting, Inc. Saint Louis, MO Jun 27, 2014 $89,440
Technical Architecture Consultant QAD Inc. NJ Sep 15, 2010 $88,687
Technical Architecture Consultant QAD Inc. Cypress, CA Mar 20, 2010 $87,894 -
$109,969

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Top Skills for An Architectural Consultant

  1. Architecture
  2. Web Application
  3. New Construction
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Unify architecture/framework/pattern between the internal organizations.
  • Designed domain model data layers for .NET MVC web application integrated with supply chain management subsystem.
  • Created and managed of architectural/CAD during all phases of design and construction documents development.
  • Hired as a consultant to audit and document the current access and privileges to all production and QA SQL Server database.
  • Created business technology strategy, solutions and developed architectures for applications and infrastructure to support the County of San Diego.

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Top 10 Best States for Architectural Consultants

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Virginia
  3. Colorado
  4. New Jersey
  5. Maryland
  6. Texas
  7. Connecticut
  8. New Hampshire
  9. North Carolina
  10. California
  • (437 jobs)
  • (1,433 jobs)
  • (806 jobs)
  • (1,091 jobs)
  • (552 jobs)
  • (2,310 jobs)
  • (397 jobs)
  • (130 jobs)
  • (1,097 jobs)
  • (4,195 jobs)

Top Architectural Consultant Employers

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