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What Is an Architect and How to Become One

What Do Architects Do?

Architects are licensed professionals who design buildings. It is the job of an architect to oversee the development of a project from its initial vision to completed construction. They must adhere to building codes and safety regulations, while simultaneously satisfying the expectations of the clients who contract them. Architects touch every aspect of a building. They meet with clients to assess all fundamental requirements and restrictions for the project, and afterward create and draw up the initial concept and design. These proposed plans will include every detail of the building, from structural design to electrical systems to exterior aesthetics. There may be several iterations between an architect and a client before the final design is solidified. Once the plan is set, an architect often assists the client with acquiring a construction crew, and may even frequent the building site of that project to ensure that timelines and quality standards are being met. Throughout a project, an architect is instrumental in the selection of the building site, cost analysis prep and budgeting plans, and mediation between the construction crew and the client. It is the responsibility of the architect to make sure that everything runs smoothly and the vision is carried out correctly and efficiently.

What Is Required to Become an Architect?

To pursue a career in architecture, you must hold a bachelor’s degree and earn a professional degree from a school accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). You then undergo a 3-year training period under the supervision of a licensed architect. In some states, there may be an option to complete this training during your education. The final step to becoming a licensed architect is passing a state-regulated licensing exam. Beyond the education and training requirements, those seeking a career in architecture should have an analytical mind, an eye for design, and well-developed interpersonal communication skills.

Where Do Architects Work?

Architects may work as associates within architectural firms, servicing clients by assignment. Others may operate private practices or work as freelancers. Much of an architect's time is spent behind a desk, drawing up plans, communicating with clients and contractors, and keeping up-to-date on zoning laws and building codes. An architect can also conduct work in a client’s office or on the actual site of the project they are overseeing.

Architect Job Description Sample

With this Architect job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a Architect role.

Job Summary

We are looking for a detail-oriented, experienced architect to join our company. You'll lead the process of creating functional spaces, from the conceptual stage all the way through to the physical realization of your designs. You'll lead a variety of projects and bring together the vision and creative ideas of our clients, while keeping their needs in mind as you design the space.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Design buildings and other structures
  • Comply with public safety regulations, local planning regulations and restrictions
  • Oversee building construction
  • Conduct regular meetings to discuss detailed design proposals and establish requirements
  • Capture the design on paper, produce detailed drawings and test the feasibility of designs with technology such as CAD
  • Write construction documents, detailing instructions for construction experts and contractors
  • Visit the site and negotiate with contractors, resolving any problems that may arise during construction

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Training from a program approved by the National Architectural Accrediting Board
  • Bachelor of Architecture, Master of Architecture, or Doctor of Architecture
  • Working knowledge of technical programs
  • Prior experience as an architect