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Become An Architectural Designer

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Working As An Architectural Designer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $62,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Architectural Designer Do

Drafters use software to convert the designs of architects and engineers into technical drawings. Most workers specialize in architectural, civil, electrical, or mechanical drafting and use technical drawings to help design everything from microchips to skyscrapers.

Duties

Drafters typically do the following:

  • Design plans using computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • Work from rough sketches and specifications created by engineers and architects
  • Design products with engineering and manufacturing techniques
  • Add details to architectural plans from their knowledge of building techniques
  • Specify dimensions, materials, and procedures for new products
  • Work under the supervision of engineers or architects

Many drafters are referred to as CAD operators. Using CAD systems, drafters create and store technical drawings digitally. These drawings contain information on how to build a structure or machine, the dimensions of the project, and what materials are needed to complete the project.

Drafters work with CAD so they can create schematics that can be viewed, printed, or programmed directly into building information modeling (BIM) systems. These systems allow drafters, architects, construction managers, and engineers to create and collaborate on digital models of physical buildings and machines. Through three-dimensional rendering, BIM software allows designers and engineers to see how different elements in their projects work together.

Architectural drafters draw architectural and structural features of buildings for construction projects. These workers may specialize in a type of building, such as residential or commercial. They may also specialize by the materials used, such as steel, wood, or reinforced concrete.

Civil drafters prepare topographical maps used in construction and civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, and flood-control projects.

Electrical drafters prepare wiring diagrams that other construction workers use to install and repair electrical equipment and wiring in power plants, electrical distribution systems, and residential and commercial buildings.

Electronics drafters produce wiring diagrams, assembly diagrams for circuit boards, and layout drawings used in manufacturing and in installing and repairing electronic devices and components.

Mechanical drafters prepare layouts that show the details for a wide variety of machinery and mechanical tools and devices, such as medical equipment. These layouts indicate dimensions, fastening methods, and other requirements needed for assembly. Mechanical drafters sometimes create production molds.

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How To Become An Architectural Designer

Drafters typically need specialized training, which can be accomplished through a technical program that leads to a certificate or an associate’s degree in drafting.

Education

Drafters generally need to complete postsecondary education in drafting. This is typically done through a 2-year associate’s degree from a technical institute or community college.

Technical institutes offer instruction in design fundamentals, sketching, and CAD (computer-aided design) software and award certificates or diplomas upon completion. Programs vary in length but are generally 2 years of full-time education. The types of courses offered will also vary by institution. Some institutions may specialize in only one type of drafting, such as mechanical or architectural drafting.

Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes that lead to an associate of applied science in drafting or related degree. After completing an associate’s degree program, graduates may get jobs as drafters or continue their education in a related field at a 4-year college. Most 4-year colleges do not offer training in drafting, but they do offer classes in engineering, architecture, and mathematics.

To prepare for postsecondary education, high school students who take courses in mathematics, science, computer technology, design, computer graphics, and where available, drafting, may find such classes useful.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) offers certification for drafters. Although not mandatory, certification demonstrates competence and knowledge of nationally recognized practices. Certifications are offered for several specialties, including architectural, civil, and mechanical drafting.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Drafters must be able to turn plans and ideas into technical drawings that will guide the creation of real buildings, tools, and systems.

Detail oriented. Drafters must pay close attention to details so that the plans they convert are technically accurate according to the outlined specifications.

Interpersonal skills. Drafters work closely with architects, engineers, and other designers to make sure that final plans are accurate. This requires the ability to take advice and constructive criticism, as well as to offer it.

Math skills. Drafters work on technical drawings. They may be required to solve mathematical calculations involving factors such as angles, weights, and costs.

Technical skills. Drafters in all specialties must be able to use computer software, such as CAD, and work with database tools, such as BIM (building information modeling).

Time-management skills. Drafters often work under strict deadlines. As a result, they must work efficiently in order to produce the required output according to set schedules.

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Architectural Designer Career Paths

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Average Length of Employment
Draftsman/Designer 4.3 years
Facility Designer 4.1 years
Draftsperson 3.9 years
Home Designer 3.9 years
Job Captain 3.9 years
Staff Architect 3.9 years
Design Architect 3.2 years
Project Designer 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Architectural Designer
Architect 10.0%
Internship 6.9%
Designer 6.6%
Draftsman 4.4%
Drafter 2.4%
Top Careers After Architectural Designer
Architect 9.7%
Designer 6.8%
Owner 3.2%

Do you work as an Architectural Designer?

Architectural Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

60.8%

Female

27.2%

Unknown

12.0%
Ethnicity

White

53.3%

Hispanic or Latino

19.2%

Asian

12.6%

Black or African American

9.8%

Unknown

5.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.6%

French

8.7%

Italian

7.1%

Chinese

6.7%

Portuguese

4.3%

German

4.3%

Arabic

4.3%

Mandarin

4.0%

Japanese

2.8%

Russian

2.0%

Persian

2.0%

Turkish

1.2%

Cantonese

1.2%

Irish

1.2%

Hebrew

1.2%

Serbian

0.8%

Swedish

0.4%

Marathi

0.4%

Gujarati

0.4%

Hindi

0.4%
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Architectural Designer Education

Schools

Lawrence Technological University

9.0%

Wentworth Institute of Technology

8.0%

Boston Architectural College

7.9%

Pratt Institute-Main

6.5%

Illinois Institute of Technology

5.2%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

5.2%

Florida International University

5.2%

University of Houston

4.8%

Arizona State University

4.6%

Columbia University

4.4%

Southern California Institute of Architecture

4.4%

University of California - Los Angeles

4.0%

Drexel University

4.0%

University of Illinois at Chicago

4.0%

Savannah College of Art and Design

3.8%

Temple University

3.8%

University of Florida

3.8%

Harvard University

3.8%

University of Oregon

3.8%

Iowa State University

3.6%
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Majors

Architecture

50.9%

Drafting And Design

7.0%

Environmental Design

6.3%

Interior Design

4.5%

Architectural Technology

3.4%

Business

3.3%

Construction Management

3.1%

Architectural Engineering

2.9%

Urban Planning

2.8%

Graphic Design

2.4%

Fine Arts

1.9%

Project Management

1.9%

Civil Engineering

1.7%

Architectural Engineering Technology

1.5%

Interior Architecture

1.4%

Landscape Architecture

1.3%

Computer Science

1.1%

Management

0.9%

Electrical Engineering

0.9%

Engineering

0.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.9%

Masters

25.5%

Other

16.8%

Associate

11.0%

Certificate

3.6%

Diploma

1.3%

Doctorate

0.6%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$62,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$46,000
Min 10%
$62,000
Median 50%
$62,000
Median 50%
$62,000
Median 50%
$62,000
Median 50%
$62,000
Median 50%
$62,000
Median 50%
$62,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Jacobs Engineering Group
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.6 years
How much does an Architectural Designer make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Architectural Designer in the United States is $62,870 per year or $30 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $46,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $85,000.

Real Architectural Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Architectural Designer LAR Ny LLC New York, NY Oct 01, 2015 $210,436
Architectural Designer Is Development New York, NY Sep 04, 2015 $150,000
Architectural Designer III Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC New York, NY Jul 12, 2016 $150,000
Architectural Designer III Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC New York, NY Dec 07, 2016 $150,000
Architectural Designer III Kohn Pederson Fox Associates PC New York, NY Aug 20, 2015 $135,000
Architectural Designer III Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC New York, NY Jul 12, 2016 $135,000
Architectural Designer III Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC New York, NY Dec 07, 2016 $135,000
Architectural Designer III Kohn Pederson Fox Associates PC New York, NY Aug 15, 2016 $135,000
Architectural Designer LAR Ny LLC New York, NY Aug 30, 2016 $124,468
Architectural Designer Martin Brudnizki Design Studio LLC New York, NY Nov 08, 2016 $110,000
Landscape Architectural Designer Creo Landscape Architecture Urban Design Inc. San Francisco, CA Dec 04, 2016 $101,733
Landscape Architectural Designer Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jun 15, 2016 $101,733
Architectural Designer Grimshaw Architects P.C. New York, NY Sep 25, 2015 $60,686
Architectural Designer Adaptive Architecture Cupertino, CA Sep 23, 2016 $60,440
Architectural Designer Johnson Fain Los Angeles, CA Sep 30, 2016 $60,362
Architectural Designer 5 Design, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2015 $60,362
Architectural Designer Med Arch LLC Tulsa, OK Aug 24, 2015 $60,320
Architectural Designer Li/Saltzman Architects P.C. New York, NY Mar 03, 2015 $60,320
Architectural Designer Li/Saltzman Architects PC New York, NY Feb 03, 2016 $60,320
Architectural Designer M3 Engineering & Technology Corporation Tucson, AZ Dec 15, 2016 $60,320
Architectural Designer Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects New Haven, CT Sep 08, 2015 $54,080
Architectural Designer Fennick McCredie Architecture Ltd. Boston, MA Jun 09, 2016 $54,000
Architectural Designer Spruce Street Partners LLC Winnetka, IL Dec 12, 2015 $54,000
Architectural Designer Ennead Architects LLP New York, NY Mar 14, 2016 $54,000
Landscape Architectural Designer Plat Studio Inc. Berkeley, CA Sep 21, 2016 $54,000 -
$57,000
Junior Architectural Designer Elkus Manfredi Architects, Ltd. Boston, MA Aug 30, 2016 $54,000
Architectural Designer Leo A Daly Company Washington, DC Jul 12, 2015 $53,976
Architectural Designer Lehman Smith McLeish, PLLC Washington, DC Sep 09, 2015 $53,976 -
$63,000

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Top Skills for An Architectural Designer

  1. New Construction
  2. Autocad
  3. Architectural Drawings
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Prepared and modified architectural documents within design development and construction documents phases for a small firm expanding into new construction.
  • Support includes utilizing AutoCAD to design/draft from preliminary stage to construction documents based on directions provided by Project Architect.
  • Produced architectural drawings from conceptual sketches to up until fully realized detailed drawing sets and specifications.
  • Designed and developed working drawings for large commercial and residential projects using AutoCAD.
  • Implemented CAD throughout the architectural and engineering departments.

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Top 10 Best States for Architectural Designers

  1. Georgia
  2. District of Columbia
  3. Illinois
  4. New York
  5. New Jersey
  6. California
  7. Arizona
  8. Massachusetts
  9. North Dakota
  10. Minnesota
  • (395 jobs)
  • (66 jobs)
  • (155 jobs)
  • (359 jobs)
  • (115 jobs)
  • (737 jobs)
  • (106 jobs)
  • (129 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (96 jobs)

Top Architectural Designer Employers

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