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Become A Staff Architect

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Working As A Staff 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

  • $58,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Staff 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 Staff 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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Staff Architect Career Paths

Staff Architect
Project Manager Owner/Operator Construction Manager
Senior Construction Manager
14 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Owner/Manager Construction Manager
Senior Project Manager Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Project Manager President/Owner Construction Manager
Vice President Of Construction
11 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Senior Project Manager Engineering Director
Senior Director Of Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Senior Project Manager Chief Technology Officer
President & Chief Technology Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Principal Superintendent
Project And Field Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Project Director
Manager, Project Director
8 Yearsyrs
Principal Director Business Development Director
Solutions Director
13 Yearsyrs
Principal Vice President Chief Information Officer
Practice Director
12 Yearsyrs
Architectural Project Manager Owner Project Superintendent
Commercial Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Architectural Project Manager Design Manager Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Architectural Project Manager Design Manager Project Engineering Manager
Capital Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Job Captain Architect
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Job Captain Assistant Project Manager Facilities Project Manager
Manager, Facilities Services
9 Yearsyrs
Principal Architect Program Manager Engagement Manager
Client Partner
11 Yearsyrs
Job Captain Senior Designer Senior Piping Designer
Senior Project Coordinator
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Project Manager Project Engineering Manager Engineering/Maintenance Manager
Engineering Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Staff Architect?

Average Yearly Salary
$58,000
Show Salaries
$41,000
Min 10%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
ServiceNow
Highest Paying City
Santa Clara, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
3.9 years
How much does a Staff Architect make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Staff Architect in the United States is $58,292 per year or $28 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $42,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $80,000.

Real Staff Architect Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Staff Architect (Software) Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online Glendale, CA Nov 09, 2016 $185,455
Staff Architect Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online Glendale, CA Apr 14, 2016 $180,054
Staff Architect (Software) Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online Glendale, CA Sep 10, 2013 $164,960
Staff Firmware Architect/Wlan Protocol Qualcomm Atheros, Inc. San Jose, CA Jul 14, 2016 $162,926 -
$171,500
Staff CPU Architect Soft MacHines, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Feb 09, 2016 $154,939 -
$170,000
Staff CPU Architect Soft MacHines, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Feb 09, 2016 $154,737 -
$170,000
Staff Hardware Architect/Graphics Design Verification Qualcomm Technologies Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jan 08, 2016 $151,341 -
$176,800
Staff Microprocessor Architect Soft MacHines, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Feb 24, 2015 $150,000 -
$170,000
Senior Staff Customer Engagement Architect Cadence Design Systems, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 18, 2014 $150,000 -
$240,500
Staff Microprocessor Architect Soft MacHines, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Feb 17, 2016 $150,000 -
$170,000
Staff Firmware Architect/Cnss Software Qualcomm Atheros, Inc. San Jose, CA Jul 19, 2016 $147,368 -
$171,500
Staff Firmware Architect/Cnss Software Qualcomm Atheros, Inc. San Jose, CA Apr 25, 2016 $147,368 -
$171,500
Staff Architect GEP Administrative Services, Inc. Burbank, CA Mar 10, 2015 $97,000
Staff Decision Analytics Architect Inovant, LLC Austin, TX Mar 23, 2015 $96,304 -
$144,300
Staff Architect JOEB Moore & Partners LLC Greenwich, CT Mar 01, 2014 $80,000
Tecxcloud Staff Architect IBM Corporation Parkton, NC Apr 05, 2016 $70,470 -
$75,520
Staff Architect Sorg and Associates, PC Washington, DC May 11, 2013 $66,248
Staff Architect (Unregistered) Cox Graae + Spack Architects Washington, DC Jan 05, 2016 $65,000
Staff Architect Sorg and Associates, PC Washington, DC Apr 27, 2012 $63,700
Staff Architect Prime General LLC Hollywood, FL Nov 30, 2013 $54,304
Staff Architect WDG Architecture, PLLC Washington, DC Aug 23, 2015 $54,158
Staff Architect WDG Architecture PLLC Washington, DC Sep 01, 2015 $54,158
Staff Architect WDG Architecture, PLLC Washington, DC Aug 03, 2016 $53,976
Staff Architect PGN Architects, PLLC Washington, DC Sep 26, 2015 $53,643 -
$70,386
Staff Architect Wiencek + Associates Architects + Planners Washington, DC Nov 08, 2016 $53,643
Staff Architect WDG Architecture, PLLC Washington, DC May 28, 2016 $53,643

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Top Skills for A Staff Architect

  1. Construction Document Development
  2. Shop Drawings
  3. Architectural Design
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Conceived a new design for a steel stair creating shop drawings in- house and saving the client approximately $20,000.
  • Participated in coordination meetings with WMATA officials and contractors on weekly basis and conducted briefings on architectural design issues.
  • Participated in the development of contract documents including production of schematic design, design development and construction drawings.
  • Involved in space programming, design, contract documents, bidding, construction administration, furniture, and art acquisition.
  • Designed documents coordination and project management of various projects using Architectural Desktop and AutoCAD.

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Top 10 Best States for Staff Architects

  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. Arizona
  4. Montana
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Nevada
  7. North Dakota
  8. New York
  9. South Dakota
  10. District of Columbia
  • (1,675 jobs)
  • (972 jobs)
  • (213 jobs)
  • (20 jobs)
  • (371 jobs)
  • (54 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)
  • (593 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (168 jobs)

Staff Architect Demographics

Gender

Male

68.1%

Female

20.8%

Unknown

11.2%
Ethnicity

White

56.5%

Hispanic or Latino

14.3%

Black or African American

12.5%

Asian

11.4%

Unknown

5.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

55.9%

French

17.6%

Portuguese

5.9%

Hebrew

5.9%

Arabic

5.9%

Russian

2.9%

Cantonese

2.9%

Italian

2.9%
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Staff Architect Education

Schools

New York Institute of Technology - Old Westbury

6.3%

Illinois Institute of Technology

6.3%

University of Kansas

6.3%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

6.3%

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

6.3%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

5.5%

University of California - Berkeley

5.5%

Kansas State University

5.5%

Savannah College of Art and Design

4.7%

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

4.7%

University of Washington

4.7%

Drexel University

4.7%

University of Illinois at Chicago

4.7%

Howard University

4.7%

University of Illinois University Administration

4.7%

Catholic University of America

4.7%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.9%

Temple University

3.9%

Louisiana Tech University

3.1%

University of Kentucky

3.1%
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Majors

Architecture

63.6%

Environmental Design

6.4%

Business

3.7%

Urban Planning

3.5%

Project Management

2.4%

Architectural Technology

2.1%

Computer Science

2.1%

Interior Design

1.9%

Construction Management

1.6%

Management

1.3%

Drafting And Design

1.3%

Finance

1.3%

Electrical Engineering

1.3%

Real Estate

1.3%

Theology

1.1%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.1%

Architectural Engineering

1.1%

Computer Engineering

1.1%

Education

1.1%

Landscape Architecture

0.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

49.0%

Masters

31.7%

Other

13.1%

Doctorate

2.3%

Certificate

1.6%

Associate

1.6%

Diploma

0.7%
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