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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

  • $65,657

    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 Jobs

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Architectural Designer Career Paths

Architectural Designer
Design Technician Designer Architect
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Architectural Project Manager Project Manager Construction Manager
Capital Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Design Technician Surveyor Foreman
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Project Designer Project Engineer Project Controls Engineer
Controls Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Structural Designer Lead Designer Design Engineer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager
Director Of Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Project Manager General Manager Facilities Manager
Director Of Facilities
12 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Project Administrator Document Controller
Document Control Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Construction Manager Estimator
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Operations Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Field Engineer Assistant Superintendent
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Designer Interior Designer
Interior Designer/Project Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Design Engineer Process Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Manager/Design Manager Project Manager
Owner/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager/Design Manager Architect
Project Architect
7 Yearsyrs
Structural Designer Senior Designer Design Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Designer Interior Designer
Project Manager/Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Architectural Designer
7 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Project Manager/Design Manager
Senior Designer/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Architectural Designer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Project Architect 5.2 years
Draftsperson 3.7 years
Job Captain 3.6 years
Facility Designer 3.5 years
Designer 3.0 years
Design Architect 3.0 years
Project Designer 2.8 years
3D Designer 2.1 years
Junior Architect 1.8 years
Junior Designer 1.6 years
Top Employers Before
Architect 9.1%
Designer 7.1%
Internship 5.7%
Draftsman 4.3%
Drafter 2.9%
Top Employers After
Architect 8.0%
Designer 7.8%
Owner 3.9%

Do you work as an Architectural Designer?

Architectural Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

67.0%

Female

29.1%

Unknown

3.9%
Ethnicity

White

54.0%

Hispanic or Latino

18.6%

Asian

12.7%

Black or African American

9.7%

Unknown

5.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.9%

French

9.1%

Italian

6.9%

German

5.7%

Arabic

5.1%

Chinese

4.6%

Mandarin

4.0%

Portuguese

4.0%

Japanese

3.4%

Russian

2.3%

Irish

1.7%

Persian

1.7%

Swedish

0.6%

Hebrew

0.6%

Marathi

0.6%

Gujarati

0.6%

Hindi

0.6%

Dutch

0.6%

Korean

0.6%

Cornish

0.6%
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Architectural Designer Education

Schools

Lawrence Technological University

15.4%

Boston Architectural College

6.3%

Wentworth Institute of Technology

5.5%

Iowa State University

5.5%

State University of New York Buffalo

4.7%

Florida International University

4.7%

Syracuse University

4.3%

Savannah College of Art and Design

4.3%

Temple University

4.3%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

4.3%

Cornell University

4.3%

Pratt Institute-Main

4.3%

University of Oregon

4.3%

Illinois Institute of Technology

3.9%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.9%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.9%

Harvard University

3.9%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

3.9%

University of Houston

3.9%

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

3.9%
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Majors

Architecture

47.6%

Drafting And Design

8.6%

Environmental Design

6.5%

Interior Design

4.1%

Business

3.8%

Urban Planning

3.1%

Architectural Engineering

2.8%

Architectural Technology

2.7%

Construction Management

2.6%

Civil Engineering

2.4%

Project Management

2.3%

Fine Arts

2.1%

Graphic Design

2.1%

Architectural Engineering Technology

1.8%

Interior Architecture

1.4%

Electrical Engineering

1.3%

Management

1.2%

Landscape Architecture

1.2%

Computer Science

1.1%

Real Estate

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.1%

Masters

25.2%

Other

18.0%

Associate

11.9%

Certificate

4.1%

Diploma

1.4%

Doctorate

0.9%

License

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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 III Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC New York, NY Jul 12, 2016 $150,000
Architectural Designer Is Development New York, NY Sep 04, 2015 $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 Dec 07, 2016 $135,000
Architectural Designer III Kohn Pederson Fox Associates PC New York, NY Aug 15, 2016 $135,000
Architectural Designer III Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC New York, NY Jul 12, 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 5 Design, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2015 $60,362
Architectural Designer Johnson Fain Los Angeles, CA Sep 30, 2016 $60,362
Architectural Designer M3 Engineering & Technology Corporation Tucson, AZ Dec 15, 2016 $60,320
Architectural Designer Harley Ellis Devereaux Corporation Los Angeles, CA Sep 01, 2015 $60,320
Architectural Designer Li/Saltzman Architects PC New York, NY Feb 03, 2016 $60,320
Architectural Designer Med Arch LLC Tulsa, OK Aug 24, 2015 $60,320
Architectural Designer Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects New Haven, CT Sep 08, 2015 $54,080
Landscape Architectural Designer Plat Studio Inc. Berkeley, CA Sep 21, 2016 $54,000 -
$57,000
Architectural Designer Fennick McCredie Architecture Ltd. Boston, MA Jun 09, 2016 $54,000
Junior Architectural Designer Elkus Manfredi Architects, Ltd. Boston, MA Aug 30, 2016 $54,000
Architectural Designer Ennead Architects LLP New York, NY Mar 14, 2016 $54,000
Architectural Designer Spruce Street Partners LLC Winnetka, IL Dec 12, 2015 $54,000
Architectural Designer Lehman Smith McLeish, PLLC Washington, DC Sep 09, 2015 $53,976 -
$63,000
Architectural Designer Leo A Daly Company Washington, DC Jul 12, 2015 $53,976

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Top Skills for An Architectural Designer

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  1. Architectural Construction Documents
  2. Architectural Drawings
  3. CAD
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Completed all architectural construction documents.
  • Generated all phases of architectural drawings including schematic design, design development, and construction documents.
  • Support includes utilizing AutoCAD to design/draft from preliminary stage to construction documents based on directions provided by Project Architect.
  • Cross-referenced building codes to ensure accuracy during schematic design and contributed in design development and modification.
  • Conducted Design Development, Graphical Presentations and Construction Documentation, Assembled interior and exterior construction documents and item specifications.

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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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Jobs From Top Architectural Designer Employers

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