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Become A Project Architect

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Working As A Project 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

  • $74,622

    Average Salary

What Does A Project 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 Project 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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Project Architect Jobs

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Project Architect Career Paths

Project Architect
Design Consultant Senior Consultant Architect
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Assistant Construction Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Architectural Project Manager Project Manager Construction Manager
Capital Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Project Coordinator Assistant Project Manager
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Project Engineer Project Controls Engineer
Controls Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Manager/Design Manager Project Manager Engineering Manager
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager
Director Of Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Project Manager General Manager Facilities Manager
Director Of Facilities
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Marketing Director Property Manager
Director Of Property Management
7 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Estimator
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Architectural Project Manager Construction Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager/Design Manager Architect Interior Designer
Interior Designer/Project Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Architect Senior Project Manager Project Director
Manager, Project Director
8 Yearsyrs
Consultant & Architect Architect Interior Designer
Project Manager/Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Operations Vice President Construction Manager
Regional Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Design Consultant Design Manager Project Manager/Design Manager
Senior Designer/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Senior Project Manager
Senior Project Manager Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Assistant Project Manager Operations Manager Site Manager
Site/Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Project Architect?

Project Architect Demographics

Gender

Male

77.9%

Female

18.7%

Unknown

3.4%
Ethnicity

White

55.2%

Hispanic or Latino

16.0%

Asian

13.4%

Black or African American

10.4%

Unknown

5.0%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

47.2%

Italian

8.0%

French

7.2%

Chinese

4.8%

Arabic

4.8%

Portuguese

4.0%

Hindi

3.2%

Japanese

3.2%

Marathi

2.4%

Mandarin

2.4%

Swedish

1.6%

Gujarati

1.6%

Korean

1.6%

Croatian

1.6%

German

1.6%

Cantonese

1.6%

Vietnamese

0.8%

Cornish

0.8%

Ukrainian

0.8%

Bosnian

0.8%
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Project Architect Education

Schools

University of Illinois at Chicago

8.7%

Iowa State University

7.8%

Lawrence Technological University

6.9%

Kansas State University

6.2%

University of Kansas

5.7%

Ball State University

5.3%

Syracuse University

5.1%

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

5.1%

University of Arizona

5.1%

University of Oregon

4.8%

Cornell University

4.4%

Harvard University

4.4%

University of Houston

4.4%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

4.1%

Drexel University

4.1%

Carnegie Mellon University

3.7%

Pratt Institute-Main

3.7%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

3.7%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.4%

Savannah College of Art and Design

3.4%
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Majors

Architecture

66.4%

Environmental Design

4.8%

Business

4.6%

Urban Planning

2.8%

Construction Management

2.4%

Project Management

2.3%

Computer Science

2.2%

Architectural Engineering

2.0%

Real Estate

1.5%

Architectural Technology

1.4%

Education

1.3%

Civil Engineering

1.3%

Drafting And Design

1.2%

Management

1.2%

Interior Design

1.2%

Computer Engineering

0.7%

Finance

0.7%

Fine Arts

0.7%

Environmental Science

0.6%

Architectural Engineering Technology

0.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

49.7%

Masters

29.2%

Other

14.5%

Certificate

3.0%

Associate

1.8%

Doctorate

1.0%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.1%
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Real Project Architect Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Software Project Architect Schlumberger Technology Corporation Houston, TX Mar 12, 2015 $129,856
Project Architect 4 (SOC .02) Asurion LLC Nashville, TN Dec 07, 2016 $128,125
Project Architect Meta-4 Architecture Inc. Basalt, CO Jul 31, 2015 $125,220
Project Architect (SOC .09) Asurion LLC Nashville, TN Aug 12, 2015 $125,000
Project Architect WRNS Studio San Francisco, CA Jun 14, 2016 $120,952
Project Architect IBM India Private Limited Denver, CO Jun 18, 2016 $106,301
Project Architect Barton Myers Associates, Inc. Santa Barbara, CA Sep 17, 2016 $105,747
Project Architect Lean Scheduling International Bradenton, FL Sep 16, 2015 $100,000
Project Architect IBM India Private Limited Denver, CO Jun 18, 2016 $97,734
Project Architect Fullerton Engineering Consultant's, Inc. Schaumburg, IL Nov 20, 2015 $96,824
Project Architect Martinkovic Milford, Inc. San Francisco, CA Apr 01, 2016 $96,000
International Design Project Architect Wework Management LLC New York, NY Oct 12, 2015 $95,000
Project Architect WRNS Studio San Francisco, CA Jul 20, 2016 $95,000
Project Architect Stantec Architecture, Inc. New York, NY May 18, 2015 $95,000
Project Architect Helpern Architects New York, NY May 18, 2016 $84,698
Technical Project Architect TPF Software Inc. Raleigh, NC May 09, 2016 $84,000
Technical Project Architect TPF Software Inc. Raleigh, NC Sep 03, 2015 $84,000
Project Architect Louis Berger Washington, DC Mar 19, 2016 $83,509
Project Architect Wallace Garcia Wilson Architects, Inc. Houston, TX Jul 29, 2015 $82,035
Project Architect ERDY McHenry Architecture, LLC Philadelphia, PA Mar 25, 2015 $82,000
Project Architect Work Architecture Company New York, NY Jul 12, 2015 $80,101
Project Architect Studio Link-Arc, LLC New York, NY Oct 06, 2016 $67,746
Project Architect Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects Seattle, WA May 27, 2015 $67,500
Project Architect Karl Fischer Architect PLLC New York, NY Apr 13, 2015 $66,000
Project Architect Waterside Construction LLC Edgewater, NJ Jan 10, 2015 $65,400
Classical Project Architect LRK Inc. Memphis, TN Jan 11, 2016 $65,000 -
$85,000
Project Architect Ranger Pipelines Incorporated San Francisco, CA Nov 20, 2015 $65,000
Project Architect/Project Manager Michael Zenreich Architect PC New York, NY Sep 02, 2015 $65,000
Project Architect TP Windows Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 11, 2015 $65,000

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Top Skills for A Project Architect

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  1. New Construction
  2. Architectural Design
  3. Construction Administration Services
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Designed, detailed and provided construction administration for new construction, additions and renovations of Outpatient Surgery Centers and Dialysis Clinics.
  • Developed Architectural Designs to support construction of large-scale corporate office building and new residential condominium located in downtown Washington, DC.
  • Prepared reports with analysis, cost estimates, and recommendations for repairs and performed extended construction administration services.
  • Developed and coordinated architectural design, design development and computer generated construction documentation.
  • Managed junior staff production; assisted consultant coordination.

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