What Does An Architect Do?

"I am interested in getting into building things, so it’s obvious I want to become an architect, but what I was wondering about has more to do with the day to day specifics of the job. Like, what are the daily duties of an architect, and do they vary depending on the role? Are there architects who oversee other architects? How many different types of architects are there? Like for example: designer, project manager, etc.?"

asked by Colin from Philadelphia, PA

You want to know about the different job positions available for architects and the duties associated with each of them. Here are some common roles for architects and what each one entails:


Designers are architects who come up with concepts for buildings. Buildings may be residential, public, government-related, or connected with transportation. Note though that very technical designs are usually accorded to civil engineers. If you become a designer, you will come up with the look and layout of a building, taking into account your client’s needs and local building codes.

Project manager

This is a construction management job where you oversee the workers who are constructing a building. Construction project managers typically have an architecture degree as well as experience in construction. You usually need around a decade of experience to do this job.


These architects provide consulting services and hire out their services to those who need them, often to finish projects which have stalled. Many consultants specialize in a particular type of project, like building restoration. As a consultant, you will probably have a whole team working under you.

Construction firm owner

As an architect, you also may choose to run a construction firm. Many self employed architects and small business owners do small residential projects like custom home building, and then work their way up to larger public projects. If you look in your own Yellow Pages, you can probably find tons of examples of businesses in your area which fit this description pretty quickly. That should give you an idea what that job is like.


You can also choose to pass on your knowledge of architecture to others by becoming a teacher at a university or community college. Somebody needs to pass this knowledge down to others.

As you can tell, you will most likely start out on your career by becoming a designer, since it takes some time and experience to work your way up to becoming a project manager. You can also go into business for yourself if you become a consultant or decide to run a construction company. If you have enough resources, you may be able get started doing that, but if you do not have the money to operate a new business, you will likely need to spend some time as a designer first. Plus, that will give you the connections and experiences you need to make it if you go into business on your own.

Career Spotlight: Architect



An architect is a person that designs buildings, both commercial and residential. They need to think not only about the aesthetics of a building, but also its functionality and safety. Architects work[...]

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