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Become A Design Architect

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Working As A Design Architect

  • 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

  • $55,824

    Average Salary

What Does A Design Architect 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 A Design Architect

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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Design Architect jobs

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Design Architect Career Paths

Design Architect
Architect And Developer Architect Architectural Designer
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Project Manager Program Manager
Business Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager General Manager
Chief Operating Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Architect Senior Project Manager Vice President, Technology
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Director Of Construction General Contractor
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Architect And Developer Solutions Architect Senior Manager
Director Of Enterprise Architecture
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Architect Senior Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Design Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Design Director Architect Project Designer
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Account Director
Group Director
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Consultant
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Architectural Designer Interior Designer
Interior Designer/Project Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Project Engineer Product Manager
Product Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Architect Project Architect Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Enterprise Architect Chief Executive Officer Self-Employed
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Architect Project Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Architectural Designer Project Architect Senior Project Manager
Senior Project Manager Construction
14 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Senior Project Manager Business Developer
Vice President, Business Development
13 Yearsyrs
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Design Architect Demographics

Gender

Male

70.8%

Female

24.5%

Unknown

4.6%
Ethnicity

White

63.5%

Asian

17.5%

Hispanic or Latino

11.7%

Unknown

6.0%

Black or African American

1.3%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

45.5%

Italian

10.9%

German

7.3%

Japanese

5.5%

Chinese

3.6%

French

3.6%

Mandarin

3.6%

Croatian

3.6%

Portuguese

1.8%

Bulgarian

1.8%

Hebrew

1.8%

Bosnian

1.8%

Serbian

1.8%

Cherokee

1.8%

Carrier

1.8%

Hindi

1.8%

Arabic

1.8%
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Design Architect Education

Schools

Iowa State University

9.0%

University of Pennsylvania

6.3%

University of Illinois at Chicago

6.3%

Lawrence Technological University

6.3%

More Tech Institute

6.3%

Cornell University

6.3%

Savannah College of Art and Design

5.4%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

5.4%

Ohio State University

5.4%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

5.4%

University of Florida

4.5%

Ball State University

4.5%

Louisiana Tech University

3.6%

National University

3.6%

University of Houston

3.6%

Oklahoma State University

3.6%

University of Phoenix

3.6%

Utah State University

3.6%

University of Texas at Austin

3.6%

Colorado State University

3.6%
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Majors

Architecture

33.3%

Business

10.0%

Computer Science

9.0%

Electrical Engineering

7.5%

Environmental Design

5.6%

Interior Design

3.5%

Information Technology

3.1%

Architectural Engineering

3.1%

Urban Planning

2.7%

Computer Engineering

2.7%

Computer Networking

2.5%

Management Information Systems

2.3%

Project Management

2.1%

Computer Applications

2.1%

Graphic Design

2.1%

Construction Management

2.1%

Drafting And Design

1.7%

English

1.7%

Information Systems

1.5%

Accounting

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.8%

Masters

32.0%

Other

15.6%

Associate

4.1%

Certificate

2.5%

Doctorate

1.7%

Diploma

1.3%
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Real Design Architect Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Software Design Architect Amdocs Inc. Herndon, VA Aug 28, 2015 $196,000
Business Function Design Architect Accenture LLP Florham Park, NJ Feb 11, 2015 $162,218
Business Database Design Architect Teradata Operations, Inc. Huntersville, NC Sep 28, 2015 $137,018
Architect, Solution Design-Java/J2Ee Sears Holdings Management Corporation Hoffman Estates, IL Jan 05, 2015 $130,000
Mobility Design/Platform Architect Continental Tire The Americas, LLC Fort Mill, SC Apr 04, 2016 $127,500 -
$133,812
Sharepoint Design Architect Alexander Open Systems Inc. Overland Park, KS Sep 23, 2013 $125,000
Design Architect Senior Engineer Stmicroelectronics, Inc. Piscataway, NJ Aug 18, 2016 $125,000
Mobility Designer & Architect Continental Tire The Americas LLC Fort Mill, SC Aug 01, 2014 $125,000 -
$161,400
Sharepoint Design Architect Alexander Open Systems Inc. Overland Park, KS Dec 09, 2013 $125,000
Architect, Solution Design Sears Holdings Management Corporation Hoffman Estates, IL Jan 23, 2015 $120,000
Architect, Solution Design Sears Holdings Management Corporation Hoffman Estates, IL Apr 06, 2015 $120,000
Architect, Solution Design Sears Holdings Management Corporation Hoffman Estates, IL Dec 03, 2014 $120,000
Sharepoint Design Architect Alexander Open Systems Inc. Fenton, MO Sep 23, 2016 $120,000 -
$125,000
Architect, Solution Design Sears Holdings Management Corporation Hoffman Estates, IL Dec 16, 2013 $120,000
Rules Architect/Designer Lead Pyramid Technology Solutions, Inc. Baltimore, MD Aug 19, 2013 $88,587
Senior Design Architect Johnston LLC Houston, TX Jan 10, 2016 $86,800
Senior Design Architect BBG Technical Services, Inc. New York, NY Nov 01, 2013 $83,387 -
$100,000
Architect/Designer NBBJ LP Boston, MA Nov 19, 2015 $82,430
Design Architect Case Design Inc. New York, NY Oct 22, 2014 $80,370
Rules Architect/Designer Lead Pyramid Technology Solutions, Inc. Baltimore, MD Aug 19, 2013 $79,789
Designer-Architect Ethelind Coblin Architect, PC New York, NY Sep 29, 2016 $78,000
Design Architect We Work Management LLC New York, NY Aug 31, 2015 $76,000
Design Architect SPG Architects New York, NY Sep 25, 2014 $65,000
Designer/Architect Intellectual Capital Investments LLC New York, NY Sep 20, 2016 $65,000
Design Architect WDG Architecture PLLC Washington, DC Sep 01, 2015 $65,000
Junior Design Architect Zimmerman Workshop New York, NY Nov 15, 2015 $64,000
Design Architect Consultant Delta System & Software, Inc. Frisco, TX Aug 19, 2015 $64,000
System Design Architect L&T Technology Services Limited Irvine, CA Sep 10, 2015 $63,900
Desigb Architect Goldstein Hill & West Architects, LLP New York, NY Mar 16, 2013 $63,500
System Design Architect L&T Technology Services Limited Phoenix, AZ Mar 05, 2016 $63,000 -
$73,000

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Top Skills for A Design Architect

ArchitecturalDesignCADDataCentersWebConstructionDocumentsDesignDevelopmentPl/SqlCustomSchematicDesignWindowsDesignConceptsProjectManagementBusinessRequirementsVmwareLinuxScopeFacilitySpacePlanningConstructionAdministrationInternet

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Top Design Architect Skills

  1. Architectural Design
  2. CAD
  3. Data Centers
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Supervised and coordinated preparation of all phases of architectural design on assigned projects.
  • Provided AutoCAD designs for several home additions, and kitchen remodeling projects.
  • Functioned as Lead Design Architect Objective, to consolidate and migrate15 data centers, systems and applications.
  • Position responsibilities: The Java Developer creates and supports Web-based Java applications, Web services and Web interfaces.
  • Worked as a lead architect to develop construction documents for the renovation of existing Marietta City Hall Building.

Top Design Architect Employers

Design Architect Videos

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