An architect designs living and working spaces. You will also have the chance to showcase your concept and designs to clients. In addition to preparing drawings using computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), you’ll also be making client presentations, projecting estimates and visiting worksites to ensure that projects are proceeding as planned.
Aside from creativity and technical knowledge, you need to be analytical as well since you need to see how various parts of the structure affect the integrity and operations of the entire building. In addition, you also need to have strong visualization skills. You want to see how the structure will look when it is finished even when it is still in the design stage so that you can anticipate potential problems and correct them early on.
A career as an architect is not merely just a job but a lifestyle. If you spend your waking hours looking at building designs and love to find how art, form, lighting and structure interact to design a beautiful and functional structure then a career as an architect will prove gratifying. In addition to the opportunity to make a name for yourself in such an illustrious field, you’ll also have the chance to form your own architectural company down the road. It’s a profession that pays well, too.
Architect Work Environment
Most architects work full time in architectural and engineering offices. In their office, they create designs with the aid of computer programs, collaborate with other architects and engineers and make presentations to clients. When a project is already being constructed, architects also travel to worksites. Working hours are typically long for architects but those who are self-employed have the opportunity to observe flexible schedules.
According to the May 2013 Occupational Employment and Wages report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of architects (not including landscape and naval architects) is $79,650. Their median hourly wage was pegged at $35.63. In addition to salary, some companies shoulder the tuition and fees of employees to enable them to meet the continuing education requirements so they can keep their license.
Architect Career Outlook
The employment of architects is expected to grow faster than the average rate for all occupations in the ten-year period covering 2012-2022. With a projected growth of 17 percent, the employment of architects is expected to reach 126,000 by 2022 from the 107,400 architects employed two years ago. Those with knowledge of sustainable designs are expected to be in high demand. It’s a very promising field indeed.
The first step towards becoming a licensed architect is to take up a Bachelor of Architecture degree program which lasts for five years. Upon graduation, newly-minted graduates will need to undergo a paid internship program in an architectural firm, usually for three years and typically done through the Intern Development Program. After completing the internship, they can then take the Architect Registration Exam before they become licensed to work as architects in their state. Licensed architects can opt to be further certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards so they can easily be licensed in other states as well. To maintain their license, architects will need to comply with the state’s requirements on continuing education.