Are you in a building right now? There are so many buildings in the world. None of them could be constructed with the hard work of an architect.
Architects plan and design buildings and the surrounding spaces. They work with clients to create skyscrapers, homes, retail spaces, churches, schools, and other structures. The building process is a big job and architects play a major role from beginning to end.
Architecture is a pricey, but important part of the building process. The price of an architect is usual about 10% of the total cost of construction. This is why it takes up to eight years to become an architect. It’s a specialized and competitive niche that pays well. Plus, people enjoy an architect’s work for the life of the building.
Architecture is a cool mix of art and science. It requires a fine eye for detail with a twist of creativity. Architects start with an idea and then develop it into a building. Factors like geography, views, aspects, use, zoning, layout, safety, function, size, and value all come into play. And of course, the architect wants to create an aesthetically pleasing building too.
After the basic plan is in place, architects must think of the details for functionality, livability, and overall design. Architects consider things that most people overlook – the size of hallways, the layout of rooms, the locations of closets, the thickness of walls, the aspect of the sun, the size of the windows, the slope of roofs, the height of chimneys, and the placements of bathrooms. The architect must also ensure the building is structurally sound. This requires an in-depth knowledge of construction materials and engineering.
Once the architect’s vision is ready, the client must give it the thumbs up. To visualize the structure, architects must draft the project. Drafting can be done by hand or with computer aided design and drafting (CADD) software. This provides a visual representation of the project for clients, construction engineers, interior decorators, contractors, and home inspectors. The drafting process is time consuming as tweaks must be made before construction begins.
During construction, architects monitor the project, supervise the building, and ensure that things are built according to plans. Architects literally work on building projects from beginning to end. It’s a rewarding job to see your plans and designs finalized into a functional and enjoyable structure.
To become an architect you must earn a degree from an architecture program that is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. There are approximately 150 accredited programs in the US. During your studies, you will learn about building technology, structural systems, and drafting. It takes about 5 years to complete.
After graduation, you must acquire an architecture license. You must pass the Architect Registration Exam and complete an internship. This process takes an additional 3 years. It’s required in every state. Earning certifications from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards is also wise.
After a total of 8 years of education, internships, and exams, architects can begin to practice architecture. Architects continue their education by reading magazines, attending conferences, and joining associations. Most architects specialize in a niche where they can hone their skills and establish their reputations.
Architects can find work at architectural firms, but some do freelance work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are around 107,000 architects practicing in the US. That number is expected to grow by 17% by 2022. Established architects can earn about $35 per hour or $73,000 per year on average.
Whenever you enjoy a well-designed building that is safe, functional, and aesthetically pleasing, be sure to thank an architect.
Quick Facts About Architect Careers
Job Title: Architect
Office: Office or Building Site
Description: Plan and design buildings
Certifications/Education: Architecture degree, State license
Necessary Skills: Drafting, Attention to Detail
Potential Employers: Architectural firm, Freelance
Pay: $35 per hour or $73,000 per year