Architect Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

An Architect,  or Architectural Designer, is responsible for designing buildings to create unique and well-organized structures. Their duties include meeting with clients to discuss their vision, drawing up building plans and modifying their designs throughout the building process to maximize structural integrity.

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Architect duties and responsibilities

The following duties and responsibilities are common for Architects, including:

  • Making bids on potential building projects
  • Working with clients to determine requirements for building projects
  • Developing initial estimates on structure costs, building time and special requirements
  • Preparing detailed drawings showing both the appearance and interior structure of a building project
  • Directing staff in the development of project drawings, studies and budgets
  • Preparing work contracts for building subcontractors
  • Visiting building worksites to ensure work is being done according to architectural plans
  • Developing and giving presentations to inform the public about upcoming public building projects
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Architect Job Description Examples

What does an Architect do?

Architects typically work for construction companies, but they can also be self-employed individuals who work on a contractual basis. They use their creativity and problem-solving skills to design houses, stadiums, office buildings and other types of infrastructure. Their job is to take their client’s vision and compare it with budgeting needs and environmental factors. 

They create blueprints, drawn to scale to share with their colleagues before the start of construction. They also decide what types of materials to use in the structure based on the local environment and structural needs. They may be in charge of obtaining permits and licensure to use certain materials on the building site.

Architect skills and qualifications

The exact skills and qualifications needed to work as an Architect vary according to industry, but the most common skills required include:

  • Ability to work with architectural software to create building plans
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Ability to prepare and deliver presentations to large groups
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Math skills

Architect salary expectations

An Architect makes an average of $110,341 per year. Salary may depend on the level of experience, education and geographical location. Common benefits for someone in this position include 401(k) matching, health insurance and paid time off.

Architect education and training requirements

Architects must have a bachelor’s degree in architecture or related course of study. A master’s degree in architecture may be required depending on the job description. All Architects must successfully complete an internship in architecture and pass a state licensure exam. 

Additional training in specialty areas such as landscape design, green building design and urban planning may be required depending on the needs and vision of the company. Continuing education in the form of classes, conferences or workshops is required to maintain licensure.

Architect experience requirements

Architects may be hired once they complete an internship and pass their state licensing exam. Many firms prefer that Architects have several years of on-the-job experience working under more knowledgeable Architects before they are hired. Architects that are working at a management level may be required to have advanced degrees, many years of work experience and a certain number of completed building projects. 

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Frequently asked questions about Architects

 

What is the difference between an Architect and an Engineer?

Architects and Engineers work closely together to oversee the construction of infrastructure. Their job duties may overlap, but both have specific roles in the construction process. The main difference between an Architect and an Engineer is that Architects tend to specialize in the creative side to construction. They envision the interior and exterior components that make a building aesthetically pleasing. 

In contrast, Engineers specialize in the actual construction of the Architect’s designs. They may also provide Architects with guidance regarding the materials they suggested for the project, and offer up alternatives that would better support the structure.

 

What are the daily duties of an Architect?

On a typical day, an Architect starts by working on blueprints for their most recent building projects. Throughout the day, they consult with engineers and contractors to determine the best construction methods and what permits they need to obtain. They also visit construction sites to check on the progress of their building projects and provide advice regarding its design features. During the day, they might even have the opportunity to attend a ceremony for the opening of a building they designed.

 

What are the different types of Architects?

There are several different areas that Architects can specialize in. Here are a few examples of those specialties:

  • Landscape Architect: These professionals focus on designing gardens, public parks, college campuses and other green spaces. They select the plants that work best in that environment and consider how to make it aesthetically pleasing.
  • Commercial Architect: These individuals specialize in designing public buildings like office parks, restaurants, churches and other commercial spaces.
  • Residential Architect: These professionals design homes, townhouses, apartment buildings and condominiums for families and individuals.
  • Sustainable Architect: This type of Architect specialize in designing environmentally-friendly buildings using the right materials and implementing design features like solar panels and rainwater management systems.
  • Restoration Architect: These Architects review blueprints of historic buildings and other structures and take measures to restore them by implementing the same architectural techniques.

 

What makes a good Architect?

A good Architect is someone who can combine creativity with practicality. These two qualities allow them to envision unique designs before refining them to adhere to structural limitations and budgeting expenses. They make a point to stay up-to-date on architectural trends so they can incorporate them into future designs. They also value teamwork and understand the importance of each role in the planning and construction of a building. Further, a good Architect places safety above everything else and adjusts their designs to accommodate safety standards.

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