What Is Architectural Engineering? Career Description and Architectural Engineering Jobs
If you have an interest in science, math and building processes, you want to consider a career as an architectural engineer. Rather than designing a building, architectural engineers design the mechanical and structural systems to maintain the building. These professionals work to increase sustainability, safety and comfort by designing high-performance structures to meet the changing needs of society. In this article, we discuss what architectural engineering is and career paths you can pursue as an architectural engineer.
What is architectural engineering?
Architectural engineering is a profession that applies technology and science to the creation of buildings and communities. This career field integrates various disciplines including scientific principles, construction and environmental systems to design and construct structures that are economically viable, sustainable and add value to society as a whole. Architectural engineers strive to address various 21st-century challenges such as new ways to utilize green energy sources and building sustainability.
This career field is relatively new and was first introduced during the 20th century in response to the new technologies that arose as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Architectural engineers primarily focus on how to unite the advanced computer technology available today with the increased need for sustainable architectural solutions. Architectural engineering may also be referred to as architecture engineering or building engineering.
Related: Learn About Being an Architect
Architectural engineering jobs
There are several different types of architectural engineering jobs that you can pursue within this profession. The following is a list of a few of the most common careers in the field of architectural engineering:
National average salary: $56,937 per year
Primary duties: Engineering technicians work with industrial engineers to create and implement designs for effectively using equipment and materials throughout the construction of buildings. These professionals spend time studying how workers perform tasks and use equipment to enhance overall worker productivity. They may suggest changes to standards or operations that will result in increased production and quality of work.
Requirements: Most engineering technicians are required to have completed a postsecondary program in industrial engineering or a related field. Technical institutes, community colleges and vocational-technical schools typically offer programs for engineering technicians.
National average salary: $57,859 per year
Primary duties: Draftsmen are responsible for turning the designs of architects and engineers into technical drawings that can be used in the construction of new buildings. These professionals work with computer-aided design (CAD) software to design the schematics of products and buildings that can then be put into building information modeling (BIM) systems to be constructed. Drafters typically specialize in one sector of engineering such as architectural or civil engineering.
Requirements: After receiving a high school diploma, most drafters will then go on to receive specialized training through a drafting technical program. These programs are typically offered through a two-year associate degree and require two years of full-time education. Once a technical program is completed, many drafters will then go on to become certified by the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA).
National average salary: $59,804 per year
Primary duties: Production supervisors oversee a team's overall efficiency and typically work in industrial or factory environments. They are responsible for ensuring that workers are as efficient as possible and that production is supervised from start to finish.
Requirements: Production supervisors must have a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Engineering or a related field. There are also certifications available that many production supervisors pursue to demonstrate their skills in this job field. Many employers require candidates for this position to have a minimum of two to five years of experience in addition to a bachelor's degree.
National average salary: $74,722 per year
Primary duties: Mechanical designers, who may also be referred to as "mechanical drafters," design mechanical equipment and other mechanical products. They may also work with engineers to formulate ways to increase manufacturing processes and systems. They often use CAD software to develop mechanical models before they are produced.
Requirements: Mechanical designers must have a minimum of an associate degree or certificate from a technical institute in mechanical design technology or a similar area of study. These programs can take anywhere from six months to two years to complete. Some mechanical designers also choose to attain certifications in their field such as those offered through the American Design Drafting Association.
Read more: Learn About Being a Mechanical Engineer
National average salary: $77,870 per year
Primary duties: A manufacturing engineer is responsible for the planning, designing, coordinating and monitoring of the manufacturing process. They may research and develop new manufacturing tools, equipment and machinery and help integrate these into the production process. Their primary goal is to transform raw material into a viable product that is both efficient and economic.
Requirements: Manufacturing engineers are required to have a minimum of an Associate or Bachelor's Degree in Engineering as well as five or more years of professional practice. Engineering degree programs typically take between two to five years to complete and focuses on subjects that may include computer science, mathematics and physics.
National average salary: $80,082 per year
Primary duties: These professionals are responsible for overseeing all aspects of the design and production of a building project. They may perform duties that include developing construction plans, ensuring that a project meets zone requirements and managing the construction team. Architectural project managers may work on industrial, residential or commercial construction projects.
Requirements: Architectural project manager positions require individuals to have a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree in Architecture. This degree program typically takes around five years to complete. They must then complete supervised training and take the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) for state licensure.
National average Salary: $81,477 per year
Primary duties: Civil engineers design, build and oversee the production and construction of buildings and other infrastructure. These engineering professionals may create and build various aspects of society including water systems, bridges, roadways and seaports. This is one of the oldest branches of engineering and dates back to ancient times.
Requirements: Civil engineers need a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering or a related field. They must also typically be licensed before being able to work as a civil engineer, though licensing requirements vary by state. To work in a management role, civil engineers must also have a graduate degree.
Read more: Learn About Being a Civil Engineer
National average salary: $83,883 per year
Primary duties: A structural engineer focuses on ensuring that the structural aspects of an architectural project are structurally sound. For example, a structural engineer may analyze the foundations, floors and beams of a building to make sure they meet safety standards and aesthetic criteria as well as being cost-efficient. Many structural engineers specialize in a particular type of structure such as hotels or factories.
Requirements: Structural engineers must hold a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering or a related field. Most senior-level and research structural engineer positions require individuals to also have obtained a master's degree.
National average salary: $87,838 per year
Primary duties: This type of engineer is responsible for designing and creating electronic technology and equipment and may work in a variety of industries. Electrical engineers may sketch schematics, use computer technology to compose electrical models and oversee the construction of a prototype. They may work to enhance current electronic products or focus on developing new technology related to electrical systems.
Requirements: A Bachelor's Degree in Engineering or a related field is the minimum requirement to become an electrical engineer. Many electrical engineers choose to also pursue a Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering, especially if their goal is to eventually work as an electrical engineering manager.