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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

  • $85,000

    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 Career Paths

Design Architect
Project Architect Construction Manager
Senior Project Manager Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Principal Product Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director Information Technology Infrastructure
13 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Principal Superintendent
Project And Field Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Architect Senior Project Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Infrastructure Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Architect Senior Project Manager Project Director
Manager, Project Director
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Architect Senior Project Manager Founder
Chief Technology Officer & Founder
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Manager Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Senior Engineer Information Technology Manager
Director, Applications
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Design Manager Project Manager/Design Manager
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager/Design Manager Consultant/Project Manager Delivery Manager
Senior Delivery Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Project Manager/Design Manager Owner Information Technology Director
Vice President Of Application Development
11 Yearsyrs
Design Manager Information Technology Manager Infrastructure Manager
Senior Manager Infrastructure
12 Yearsyrs
Design Manager Information Technology Project Manager Enterprise Project Manager
Enterprise Program Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Consultant & Architect Solutions Architect Solutions Manager
Senior Solutions Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Consultant & Architect Enterprise Architect Senior Technical Consultant
Principal Technologist
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Consultant Senior Database Administrator Business Intelligence Manager
Business Intelligence-Senior Manager
11 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Design Architect?

Design Architect Demographics

Gender

Male

63.3%

Female

22.8%

Unknown

13.9%
Ethnicity

White

48.0%

Hispanic or Latino

18.0%

Asian

16.7%

Black or African American

9.4%

Unknown

7.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

49.4%

Italian

7.2%

French

6.0%

German

4.8%

Japanese

4.8%

Arabic

4.8%

Chinese

3.6%

Portuguese

2.4%

Hindi

2.4%

Mandarin

2.4%

Croatian

2.4%

Bulgarian

1.2%

Filipino

1.2%

Catalan

1.2%

Bosnian

1.2%

Serbian

1.2%

Cherokee

1.2%

Carrier

1.2%

Tagalog

1.2%
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Design Architect Education

Schools

More Tech Institute

7.4%

University of Illinois at Chicago

6.8%

Cornell University

6.8%

University of Pennsylvania

6.2%

Columbia University

5.6%

Iowa State University

5.6%

University of Southern California

5.6%

University of Florida

4.9%

National University

4.9%

University of Texas at Austin

4.9%

Boston Architectural College

4.9%

Lawrence Technological University

4.9%

Texas A&M University

4.3%

University of Houston

4.3%

University of Phoenix

4.3%

New York University

3.7%

University of California - Berkeley

3.7%

Kansas State University

3.7%

Savannah College of Art and Design

3.7%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.7%
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Majors

Architecture

41.6%

Computer Science

8.4%

Business

7.7%

Environmental Design

5.6%

Electrical Engineering

4.6%

Interior Design

3.5%

Urban Planning

3.5%

Architectural Engineering

2.7%

Computer Engineering

2.6%

Graphic Design

2.5%

Construction Management

2.3%

Computer Applications

2.1%

Information Technology

1.8%

English

1.7%

Civil Engineering

1.7%

Education

1.6%

Project Management

1.6%

Computer Networking

1.5%

Architectural Technology

1.5%

Computer Information Systems

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.8%

Masters

32.1%

Other

15.2%

Associate

3.8%

Certificate

2.7%

Diploma

1.9%

Doctorate

1.4%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$85,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$52,000
Min 10%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Median 50%
$140,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Facebook
Highest Paying City
Sunnyvale, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.2 years
How much does a Design Architect make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Design Architect in the United States is $85,863 per year or $41 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $52,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $141,000.

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
Sharepoint Design Architect Alexander Open Systems Inc. Overland Park, KS Dec 09, 2013 $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. Fenton, MO Sep 23, 2016 $120,000 -
$125,000
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 16, 2013 $120,000
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 Dec 03, 2014 $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 Case Design Inc. New York, NY Sep 12, 2013 $76,000
Designer/Architect Intellectual Capital Investments LLC New York, NY Sep 20, 2016 $65,000
Design Architect SPG Architects New York, NY Sep 25, 2014 $65,000
Design Architect WDG Architecture PLLC Washington, DC Sep 01, 2015 $65,000
Design Architect Consultant Delta System & Software, Inc. Frisco, TX Aug 19, 2015 $64,000
Junior Design Architect Zimmerman Workshop New York, NY Nov 15, 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

  1. Architecture
  2. New Construction
  3. Graphic Design
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Support three-tier systems architecture by performing new and maintenance development using various languages and technologies.
  • Designed and produced construction documents for custom high-end single-family renovations, additions and new construction projects.
  • Marketed interior and graphic design to international clients.
  • Provided consultative, instructional design and architectural support to the Learning Solutions function within the Global Commercial Academy.
  • Assist on design conceptualization during design development stage & coordinate with the other engineering disciplines.

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Top 10 Best States for Design Architects

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Illinois
  3. Texas
  4. Arizona
  5. District of Columbia
  6. Virginia
  7. Alaska
  8. Minnesota
  9. California
  10. North Carolina
  • (371 jobs)
  • (488 jobs)
  • (880 jobs)
  • (208 jobs)
  • (158 jobs)
  • (502 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (235 jobs)
  • (1,494 jobs)
  • (410 jobs)

Top Design Architect Employers

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Jobs From Top Design Architect Employers

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