What to Do With an Architecture Degree (Career Paths)

If you’re a current architecture major or recent graduate trying to decide what job path to pursue, there are plenty of options available to you.

The architecture field offers diverse career paths in urban planning, sustainability, and building information modeling.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 3% growth in architecture jobs from 2021 to 2031, with over 9,000 job openings each year due to factors like retirement.

This article will guide you through the best entry-level jobs in architecture and the qualifications you’ll need to land them.

What to Do With an Architecture Degree

Key Takeaways:

  • Architecture offers diverse career paths in urban planning, sustainability, and building information modeling.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 3% growth in architecture jobs from 2021 to 2031.
  • There are over 9,000 job openings each year in the architecture field.
  • This article will guide you through the best entry-level jobs in architecture.
  • Qualifications and skills play an important role in landing architecture jobs.

Best Degrees to Land Architecture Jobs

If you’re looking to kickstart a successful career in architecture, obtaining the right degree is crucial.

There are several degree programs that can provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in the architecture industry.

Some of the best degrees to land architecture jobs include architectural design, architectural engineering, architectural technology, interior architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning.

With a degree in architectural design, you’ll learn how to create innovative and aesthetically pleasing designs for various structures.

An architectural engineering degree combines the principles of architecture and engineering, equipping you with the technical expertise to design structurally sound buildings.

On the other hand, a degree in architectural technology focuses on the practical aspects of construction, teaching you how to use advanced software and technology to bring architectural designs to life.

Interior architecture and landscape architecture degrees provide specialized knowledge in designing interior spaces and outdoor landscapes, respectively.

These degrees emphasize the importance of functionality and aesthetics in creating harmonious environments.

Lastly, a degree in urban planning equips you with the skills to develop sustainable and livable cities by considering factors such as population growth, transportation, and land use.

Table: Best Degrees for Architecture Jobs

Degree Program Job Opportunities
Architectural Design Architectural Designer, Interior Designer
Architectural Engineering Structural Engineer, Building Systems Engineer
Architectural Technology Architectural Technician, BIM Coordinator
Interior Architecture Interior Architect, Space Planner
Landscape Architecture Landscape Designer, Urban Planner
Urban Planning Urban Planner, City Planner

Industries Where You Can Build an Architectural Career

As an architecture graduate, you have a multitude of options for building a successful career.

The skills and knowledge you gained during your degree program can be applied to various industries that collaborate with architecture firms. Let’s explore some of the industries where you can leverage your architectural expertise:

Healthcare:

In the healthcare industry, you can contribute to the design and construction of medical facilities, such as hospitals and clinics.

Your expertise in creating functional and efficient spaces can help enhance patient care and improve the overall healthcare experience.

From designing patient rooms to planning outdoor healing gardens, your architectural skills can make a significant impact in this industry.

Real Estate or Residential:

Working in the real estate or residential sector allows you to collaborate with developers and contractors to create comfortable and aesthetically pleasing spaces.

Whether it’s designing residential complexes, office buildings, or mixed-use developments, your architectural knowledge will play a crucial role in shaping the built environment in which people live and work.

Retail:

The retail industry focuses on designing studio spaces, commercial buildings, and retail environments.

From designing innovative storefronts to creating functional and visually appealing interiors, your architectural skills can help businesses attract customers and create memorable shopping experiences.

Industrial or Urban:

In the industrial or urban sector, you can work on large-scale projects like airports, bridges, and urban infrastructure.

Your expertise in structural design, sustainability, and urban planning will be essential in creating efficient and sustainable solutions for transportation, logistics, and urban development.

Education:

If you are passionate about education, the education sector provides opportunities to contribute to the built environment of schools, colleges, and educational institutions.

You can work on designing innovative learning spaces, campus master plans, or even pursue a teaching career in architecture.

These are just a few examples of the industries where you can build a rewarding architectural career.

By leveraging your architectural skills and knowledge in these industries, you can make a positive impact on the built environment and contribute to the betterment of society.

Top 10 Entry-Level Jobs in Architecture

When starting your career in architecture, there are several entry-level jobs to consider.

These positions will provide you with valuable experience and lay the foundation for your future growth in the field. Here are the top 10 entry-level jobs in architecture:

  1. Architectural Designer: Responsible for creating design concepts and developing detailed architectural plans.
  2. Architectural Drafter: Works closely with architects to create technical drawings and models.
  3. Junior Architect: Assists senior architects in designing and documenting projects.
  4. Architectural Project Manager: Oversees the planning, budgeting, and execution of architectural projects.
  5. Building Information Modeling (BIM) Coordinator: Manages the creation and maintenance of digital models for construction projects.
  6. Urban Planner: Plans and designs the layout of cities and towns to ensure efficient use of land.
  7. Construction Project Coordinator: Coordinates construction activities and ensures project timelines and budgets are met.
  8. Building Code Specialist: Ensures compliance with building codes and regulations during the design and construction process.
  9. Sustainability Coordinator: Implements sustainable design practices and strategies in architectural projects.
  10. Design Assistant: Provides support to architects in the design and development of architectural plans.

Each of these entry-level roles requires specific qualifications and skills.

Proficiency in computer-aided design (CAD) software, attention to detail, communication skills, and a solid understanding of construction processes and regulations are commonly sought-after attributes.

By starting your career in one of these entry-level positions, you’ll gain practical experience and broaden your knowledge within the field of architecture.

Careers in Architecture

As an architecture graduate, you have a wide range of career options beyond traditional architecture roles.

By leveraging your architectural skills and knowledge, you can explore alternative careers that align with your interests and aspirations within the field.

One alternative career option is becoming a landscape architect. In this role, you’ll design outdoor spaces, such as parks, gardens, and public areas, with a focus on creating functional and aesthetically pleasing environments.

You’ll work closely with clients, contractors, and other professionals to bring your designs to life.

Another option is pursuing a career as an urban planner. In this role, you’ll be responsible for designing and developing plans for cities and communities, taking into account factors such as population growth, land use, and transportation.

You’ll collaborate with government agencies, community stakeholders, and architects to create sustainable and livable urban environments.

Quote: “As an architecture graduate, your skills and knowledge can be applied to various careers in design and planning.” – Anonymous

Table: Alternative Careers in Architecture

Career Description
Landscape Architect Designs outdoor spaces like parks and gardens
Urban Planner Develops plans for cities and communities
Restoration Architect Preserves and restores historic buildings
Research Architect Conducts research on design tools and technologies
Lighting Architect Designs lighting systems for buildings and spaces
Political Architect Influences political decisions regarding architecture and urban planning

By exploring these alternative careers, you can apply your architectural skills in different contexts and make a positive impact on the built environment.

Whether you choose to specialize in landscape architecture, urban planning, restoration, research, lighting design, or political advocacy, these careers offer unique opportunities for growth and professional fulfillment.

Remember to research each career option, consider your interests and goals, and build upon your architecture education to pursue the path that resonates with you.

Your architectural degree provides a strong foundation for a successful and fulfilling career, no matter which direction you choose to take.

Careers in Architecture and Art

Architecture graduates have the opportunity to explore exciting careers in both the fields of architecture and art.

The skills and creativity developed during an architecture degree can be applied to various artistic and design disciplines, allowing for unique career paths and interdisciplinary collaboration.

One option is to pursue a career as an artist, where you can express your creativity through various mediums such as installations, sculptures, or paintings.

Industrial design, furniture design, and textile design are also popular choices for architecture graduates looking to apply their skills to functional and aesthetic design.

For those interested in visual communication, a career as a graphic designer or photographer can provide opportunities for creative expression.

Alternatively, you can explore the world of video game design, where you can combine your architectural knowledge with interactive media and virtual environments.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs

Architecture is closely related to art, as it involves designing spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional and practical.

By combining architecture and art, you can create unique and visually engaging designs that have a positive impact on people’s lives.

Table: Architecture and Design Careers

Career Option Description
Landscape Architect Design outdoor landscapes, parks, and gardens
Industrial Designer Create functional and aesthetic products
Furniture Designer Design innovative and ergonomic furniture
Textile Designer Create fabric patterns for clothing or interiors
Graphic Designer Design visual communication materials
Video Game Designer Create virtual environments for interactive gameplay
Photographer Capture and showcase architectural and artistic beauty
Production Designer Design sets and visuals for film, television, or theater

Exploring careers in both architecture and art can provide you with diverse opportunities to apply your skills and creativity.

Whether you choose to pursue a traditional architectural career or venture into the world of art and design, your architecture degree will serve as a solid foundation for success.

Non-Design Careers for Architecture Graduates

While pursuing a career in architecture may be the first choice for many graduates, there are also numerous non-design career paths that can leverage the valuable skills and knowledge gained during an architecture degree.

These alternate careers allow architects to apply their expertise in various fields and make a meaningful impact in different ways. Here are some of the non-design careers that architecture graduates can consider:

1. Teacher/Professor

With their extensive knowledge of architectural principles and design, architecture graduates can pursue a career in education as teachers or professors.

By sharing their expertise, they can shape the next generation of architects and inspire the students to develop their creative and technical skills.

2. Philanthropist

Architecture graduates can also use their knowledge and skills to contribute to philanthropic endeavors.

They can work with charitable organizations to design and build affordable housing, community centers, schools, or other facilities that benefit underprivileged communities and contribute to social welfare.

3. Construction Project Manager

As construction project managers, architects can oversee and manage the entire construction process, ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget.

Their expertise in design and construction allows them to coordinate with contractors, engineers, and other professionals to ensure the successful execution of construction projects.

The versatility of an architecture degree opens up a wide range of opportunities for graduates to explore and apply their skills outside of traditional design roles.

Whether it’s in the education sector, philanthropy, or project management, architecture graduates can find fulfilling careers that align with their interests and make a positive impact on the built environment and society as a whole.

Work Experience and Internships

Gaining work experience or completing internships in the architecture field can be highly beneficial for your career development.

Work experience provides valuable insights into architectural practices, helps you build important contacts, and enhances your skills and confidence.

Consider approaching architecture firms, design firms, or construction firms to inquire about work experience or internships.

You can also explore related areas such as landscape design or the built environment to expand your experience.

Practicing your drawing and model-making skills and staying up to date with industry trends can further enhance your chances of securing rewarding work experience opportunities.

Table: Architecture Work Experience Opportunities

Company Location Types of Work Experience
ABC Architects New York, NY Assisting with design presentations, site visits, and drafting
XYZ Design Firm Los Angeles, CA Collaborating on interior design projects, creating 3D models, and client meetings
123 Construction Company Chicago, IL Supporting project managers, coordinating construction activities, and reviewing blueprints

Obtaining work experience or internships is a great way to gain hands-on knowledge in the field of architecture.

It allows you to apply your theoretical learning to real-world projects and gain practical skills that will set you apart in the job market.

Work experience can also help you explore different areas within architecture and find your niche.

Whether you assist with design presentations, collaborate on interior design projects, or support project managers in construction, each opportunity will contribute to your professional growth.

Internships are typically short-term positions that enable you to learn from experienced professionals, gain exposure to different aspects of the industry, and build a network of contacts.

It’s important to approach internships with enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, as they can often lead to future job opportunities or mentorship relationships.

Remember to showcase your passion for architecture, your willingness to learn, and your ability to work well in a team when applying for work experience or internships.

By gaining work experience or completing internships, you’ll not only strengthen your resume but also gain valuable insights and connections in the industry.

These experiences will enhance your understanding of architectural practices, build your professional network, and allow you to develop the skills necessary for a successful career in architecture.

Typical Employers and Skills for Your CV

As an architecture graduate, you have a wide range of potential employers to consider when searching for a job.

These can include architecture firms of all sizes, from small design studios to large practices specializing in planning, urban design, or construction.

Public sector employers, such as local authorities and housing associations, often have planning departments that employ architects.

Additionally, certain private organizations, such as banks and supermarkets, may also have in-house architectural teams. It’s important to research and identify potential employers that align with your interests and career goals.

When preparing your CV for architecture job applications, it’s crucial to highlight the skills that make you a strong candidate.

In addition to design and drawing abilities, employers often value proficiency in IT and architectural software, such as CAD. Project management skills and the ability to coordinate with various stakeholders are also highly sought after.

Other important skills include problem-solving abilities, teamwork, effective communication, research skills, and adaptability to different project requirements.

By showcasing these skills on your CV, you will demonstrate your suitability for architecture positions and increase your chances of securing job interviews.

Employer Description
Architecture Firms Design studios, planning practices, and construction firms
Public Sector Local authorities, housing associations, and government agencies
Private Organizations Banks, supermarkets, and companies with in-house architectural teams

 

“The skills that make you a strong candidate: design and drawing abilities, proficiency in IT and architectural software, project management skills, problem-solving abilities, teamwork, effective communication, research skills, and adaptability.”

 

Further Study and Career Progression

After completing your architecture degree, you may be wondering what your next steps should be to further your career in the field. One option to consider is pursuing further study in architecture.

This can involve obtaining additional qualifications that are recognized by professional bodies such as the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) or the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

These qualifications can enhance your knowledge and skills, and also allow you to become a registered architect, which can open up more advanced career opportunities.

Further study in architecture can take different forms depending on your interests and goals. You can choose to specialize in a particular area of architecture, such as sustainable design, urban planning, or historic preservation.

Alternatively, you may decide to pursue postgraduate study in technical subjects that complement your architectural knowledge, such as engineering, design, or computer science.

These additional qualifications can give you a competitive edge in the job market and equip you with the expertise to tackle complex architectural challenges.

In addition to further study, career progression in architecture can also be achieved through gaining practical experience and taking on more responsibility in your role.

As you gain experience and prove your capabilities, you may have the opportunity to lead larger and more complex architectural projects.

This can involve overseeing teams, managing budgets and timelines, and working closely with clients to deliver successful outcomes.

Another avenue for career progression is to specialize in a specific area of architecture. This can involve becoming an expert in a particular building type, such as healthcare facilities, educational institutions, or commercial spaces.

Alternatively, you may choose to focus on a specific aspect of architecture, such as sustainability, interior design, or building information modeling (BIM).

Specializing can help you stand out in the industry and attract more challenging and rewarding projects.

FAQ

What job options are available with an architecture degree?

With an architecture degree, you can pursue careers such as architectural designer, project architect, building systems engineer, and landscape designer.

What are the best degrees to land architecture jobs?

Some of the best degrees to consider for architecture jobs are architectural design, architectural engineering, architectural technology, interior architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning.

In which industries can I build an architectural career?

You can build an architectural career in industries such as healthcare, real estate or residential, retail, industrial or urban, and education.

What are some top entry-level jobs in architecture?

Some top entry-level jobs in architecture include architectural designer, architectural drafter, junior architect, architectural project manager, and building information modeling (BIM) coordinator.

Are there alternative careers in architecture?

Yes, alternative careers in architecture include landscape architect, urban planner, restoration architect, research architect, lighting architect, and political architect.

Can I pursue careers in art and design with an architecture degree?

Yes, you can explore careers in art and design such as artist, industrial designer, furniture designer, textile designer, graphic designer, video game designer, photographer, or production designer.

What are some careers outside of design that I can pursue with an architecture degree?

Some careers outside of design that leverage an architectural education include teacher/professor, philanthropist, construction project manager, real estate developer, architectural journalist, and architectural consultant.

How can gaining work experience or completing internships benefit my architectural career?

Work experience and internships in the architecture field provide valuable insights, build contacts, enhance your skills, and boost your confidence.

Where can architects work?

Architects can work in various establishments, from small firms to large practices, including public sector employers, private organizations, and architecture, design, or construction firms.

Should I pursue further study after completing an architecture degree?

Further study, such as postgraduate qualifications recognized by professional bodies, can enhance your career prospects and open up opportunities for career progression and specialization.

What should I remember as I embark on my professional journey with an architecture degree?

Remember that an architecture degree offers a world of possibilities, and staying curious, continuing to learn, and being open to new opportunities will help you shape the built environment and make a positive impact.

Conclusion

Congratulations on completing your architecture degree! Now that you have this valuable qualification, you may be wondering what to do next.

Luckily, the world of architecture offers a multitude of career options and job opportunities for you to explore.

Whether you choose to follow a traditional architectural career path or venture into alternative fields, your architecture education has equipped you with the skills and knowledge to make a difference.

Consider pursuing a career as a licensed architect, where you can design and create spaces that enhance people’s lives.

If you’re interested in other creative outlets, you can explore art and design careers that allow you to express your creativity through various mediums.

And if you prefer a non-design role, there are still plenty of options available that leverage your architectural education.

Remember, the journey doesn’t end here. Stay curious, continue learning, and be open to new opportunities.

With an architecture degree, you have the power to shape the built environment and make a positive impact on the world around you. The possibilities are endless!

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