Architecture is a highly technical profession requiring vast knowledge of building materials, codes, engineering principals, and spatial relationships. At the same time, it is also a highly creative career that allows for both functional and aesthetically pleasing designs.
Architects meet with clients to discuss objectives, requirements, and conceptual budgets. Before initial meetings, they may conduct impact studies or site investigations. To obtain an accurate budget estimate, they may determine the required materials, time, and equipment costs. Once plans and budgets have been agreed upon, architects then develop construction documents, which typically illustrate the floor plans and general appearance of the structure to be built.
In designing structures, architects need to follow all state and local buildings codes, along with zoning laws. They also have to ensure that the structure adheres to fire regulations and any requirements for accessibility.
Although architects used to draw plans by hand, most now use software that often involve computer-aided drafting and building information modeling programs. Some architects design buildings by themselves, whereas others receive help from drafters, who use these software programs professionally. Nevertheless, drawing by hand continues to be practiced, especially during the early stages of design.
Once plans are approved and construction begins, architects periodically visit the construction site to make sure that the project is following the finalized design and the construction schedule. They carry out these tasks by meeting with construction managers and other contractors in order to address project progress, outstanding problems and discuss solutions.
To become an architect in the United States, a professional degree in architecture is required in all states. A typical bachelor’s degree in architecture takes 5 years to complete, after which many graduates stay in school to earn their master’s degrees, which often take another 1–5 years to complete, depending on the student’s previous education. Many states require an architecture degree from an accredited school, as opposed to a general degree. Information about accreditation can be obtained from the National Architectural Accrediting Board and the National Council of Architectural Registration Board. Once an aspiring architect earns a professional degree, a lengthy paid internship is necessary. Internships typically fulfill the 3-year period requirement for the Architect Registration Board. Some internships completed during undergraduate education may count toward the total internship period.
Licencing is also required in all states.
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The average starting salary is $53,825. With experience, they can possibly earn up to or over $97,918.
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