Architects design and create buildings, structures, and other built objects. They do this by combining art and science in order to produce functional, appealing buildings that are both safe and environmentally friendly. They also provide construction consulting services, such as advising clients on energy efficiency measures and designing spaces that are compatible with human needs.
Educated architects may work in private practices or for central and local governments, as well as teaching and research institutions. These positions usually involve salaried employment and could lead to partnership or associate status.
Becoming an architect requires specialized training consisting of academic and professional experience. The process includes earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree, passing an Architect Registration Examination, and gaining practical work experience.
Architectural education typically lasts five years for a bachelor’s degree, and two or three years for a master’s degree. These programs offer courses in architecture 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.
The architect’s job duties include preparing preliminary and final designs, which are used by contractors to build the structure. These plans include drawings of the building’s exterior and interior appearance, as well as structural systems; air-conditioning, heating, and ventilation systems; electrical systems; communications systems; plumbing; and site and landscape plans.
When developing designs, architects consider the building’s purpose and use, environmental impacts, budgets, and the needs of occupants. They also take into account the zoning laws, fire codes, and other ordinances that affect their work.
During the construction phase, architects supervise the contractor’s work and ensure that the building meets all design specifications. They inspect the contractor’s progress, make recommendations for alterations to the design, and review the contractor’s quality control procedures. They may help with obtaining construction bids, selecting contractors, and negotiating contracts.
Licensed architects work under a firm or on their own and earn a salary based on experience and level of responsibility. Salaries vary depending on the size of the firm, as well as the location of the building and other factors. Generally, the profession is growing and has relatively low unemployment. A career as an architect can be fulfilling and rewarding for many people.