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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

  • $57,000

    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
Interior Designer 4.3 years
Facility Designer 4.1 years
Staff Architect 3.9 years
Job Captain 3.9 years
Design Architect 3.2 years
Project Designer 3.0 years
Junior Architect 1.8 years
Junior Designer 1.6 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?

Average Yearly Salary
$57,000
Show Salaries
$45,000
Min 10%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$72,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Electronic Arts
Highest Paying City
Washington, DC
Highest Paying State
Illinois
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 $57,630 per year or $28 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $45,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $72,000.

The largest raises come from changing jobs.

See what's out there.

Real Architectural Designer Salaries

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

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Top Skills for An Architectural Designer

  1. New Construction
  2. Shop Drawings
  3. Autocad Architecture
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Complete redesign and renovation, including substantial new construction of historic home into energy efficient, air exchanged residence.
  • Coordinated construction documents with specifications, shop drawings, and presentation documents.
  • Assist architects with the design and modeling of Tribal Projects in AutoCAD Architecture Assist in transition from AutoCAD to Revit
  • Support includes utilizing AutoCAD to design/draft from preliminary stage to construction documents based on directions provided by Project Architect.
  • Compiled, organized and revised architectural drawings; generated computer-aided visuals for schematic design phases and marketing needs.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Architectural Designers

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

Architectural Designer Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 4,785 Architectural Designer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Architectural Designer Resume

View Resume Examples

Architectural Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

64.5%

Female

29.1%

Unknown

6.4%
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

Wentworth Institute of Technology

8.0%

Boston Architectural College

7.5%

Pratt Institute-Main

7.2%

Arizona State University

6.4%

Lawrence Technological University

6.4%

Illinois Institute of Technology

6.1%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

4.8%

University of Florida

4.8%

Columbia University

4.8%

Florida International University

4.8%

Southern California Institute of Architecture

4.5%

University of Houston

4.3%

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

4.0%

Temple University

4.0%

University of Illinois at Chicago

4.0%

Savannah College of Art and Design

3.7%

City College of New York of the City University of New York

3.7%

Woodbury University

3.7%

University of California - Berkeley

3.5%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.5%
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Majors

Architecture

53.6%

Environmental Design

6.3%

Drafting And Design

6.1%

Interior Design

4.4%

Architectural Engineering

3.4%

Architectural Technology

3.2%

Urban Planning

3.1%

Construction Management

3.1%

Graphic Design

2.6%

Business

2.3%

Project Management

1.8%

Fine Arts

1.6%

Interior Architecture

1.6%

Landscape Architecture

1.3%

Architectural Engineering Technology

1.2%

Civil Engineering

1.1%

Management

0.9%

Engineering

0.9%

Computer Science

0.9%

Industrial Technology

0.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

49.5%

Masters

27.9%

Associate

13.6%

Certificate

4.9%

Diploma

1.7%

High School Diploma

1.5%

Doctorate

0.7%

License

0.2%
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Updated May 18, 2020