Depending on the type of architect we’re talking about, the architect job description can be quite different from one industry to another. Mainly, however, architects focus on planning and designing buildings, networks, businesses, data systems, databases, and many other such entities. In this article, we will only be talking about the building and landscape architect job description.
Most of the time, someone with the architect job description spends their day in their office, developing plans, consulting with other architects and engineers, and meeting with clients. About one in five architects were reported to be self-employed in 2014, while the others worked for practices and architect offices.
With a median yearly salary estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics at $76,000, and with the rate of employment for the profession estimated to grow 7% by 2024, the architect job description would be far more sought-after were it not to require artistic talent, vision, and a very vivid imagination. Without further ado, let’s see what the job description of an architect really entails.
Architect Job Description Overview
Individuals with the architect job description are involved in the earliest stages of developing and designing a structure the likes of a house or a building. An architect is usually responsible for working directly with the client, and bringing their vision to life. This involves sacrificing one’s own vision for the project, and getting as close to the client’s as possible while still following protocol.
While architects spend most of their time in their offices, they also have to go on site quite often in order to ensure the accuracy and the compliance of the design. They also have to use an array of computer programs, as well as to keep track of the costs of the materials. They have to handle any design and functionality issues that may arise.
Architect Job Description Responsibilities
Depending on the type of architect job description, one might be faced with any of a number of tasks and responsibilities at their work place. However, since we aren’t going to talk about the data architect job description or the solution architect job description, or about any other but the typical architect one, the grounds should be easier to cover.
The responsibilities most often encountered by people with the architect job description are as presented below:
- Identifying user requirements;
- Analyzing client preferences, needs, practices, methods, and objectives;
- Meeting with different focus groups;
- Determining how the future project will be perceived;
- Organizing the architecture-based information;
- Imagining the architectural scheme, the building’s features and structure, and its design;
- Preparing multiple data models;
- Creating different user scenarios;
- Talking to engineers, builders, and clients to organize a project;
- Preparing the specifications, plans, and cost estimates for the project;
- Determining the placement of proposed structures and land features;
- Using computer software (computer-aided design and drafting – CADD) to prepare graphic representations of the made plans;
- Selecting the materials needed for landscape designs;
- Analyzing environmental reports;
- Taking note of various land conditions, such as energy usage and drainage;
- Inspecting the landscape work done for the project;
- Making sure that other works don’t interfere with the design plan;
- Developing detailed blueprints;
- Writing down extremely detailed instructions in regards to measurements;
- Making sure that the project is completed on time, or with minimal delays;
- Making sure that the project stays within budget limitation;
- Maintaining liaison with the construction crew;
- Following the most recent architectural advancements and trends.
Of course, with these being the responsibilities most often reported by practicing architects, they are fairly accurate. However, the architect job descriptions and salaries can vary wildly from one place of employment to another – even for two people working in the same industry.
Since aspiring architects have so many responsibilities to handle, they would, of course, need a great deal of skills and personal qualities in order to perform properly at their jobs. Without these, it’s unlikely that an aspiring architect will even get hired, much less that they will get to keep their job.
Whether they have to deal with infrastructure, with building storage areas such as a warehouse, or any similar tasks, people with the architect salary have to possess most, if not all of the following traits and skill sets. Regardless if they are a senior manager, a junior, a lead engineer, or simply an intern, the entire hiring process would go much easier with what can be found below:
- Highly developed analytical skills;
- Superior organizational skills;
- Advanced interpersonal skills;
- Superior written and oral communication skills;
- Very high levels of creativity;
- Highly developed and easily directed imagination;
- A certain stylistic and artistic intelligence;
- Very strong artistic skills;
- Superior problem-solving skills;
- Advanced technical and technological skills;
- Nigh-perfect knowledge of building regulations, quality standards, and rules;
- Similarly advanced knowledge of construction details and building protocols;
- Great attention to details;
- Superior visual awareness;
- Developed project management skills;
- A passion for architecture.
Qualifications and Training
Other than Maine, Massachusetts, Illinois, and the District of Columbia, all the other states require architects to be licensed in order to practice their trade. Meanwhile, a license will also allow applicants to solicit business and to use the “landscape architect” title in all states other than the DC.
Most licenses are based on L.A.R.E., or the Landscape Architect Registration Examination. L.A.R.E., in its turn, is sponsored by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards. The exam can be taken several times a year. However, there are previous requirements to being able to take the exam in the first place.
For starters, a degree from an accredited school is mandatory in order to get into the license exam, as are one to four years of supervised experience. If the architect job description is a must, and the aspiring architect does not have a degree, several steps can be taken so that they can still take the test. It usually involves even more work experience.
In addition to L.A.R.E, thirteen of the states require a second state exam to be taken in order to satisfy their registration requirements. This exam focuses more on laws, and environmental regulations. These regulations usually have to do with soil, climate, plants, and other unique state characteristics.
According to payscale.com, experience is a very important factor when it comes to determining the salary of someone with the architect job description. In fact, a career of longer than twenty years in the field can take the architect salary from the starting $49,000 to as much as $85,000 – without taking into account bonuses, overtimes, profit sharing, and commissions.
Other than a very thick portfolio to demonstrate one’s art skills, most people wishing for the architect job description are required to have between one and four years worked under the direct supervision of a practicing landscape architect. This experience can be avoided under certain circumstances, but only in certain states.
Architect Career Prospects
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for the profession is estimated to go up 7% by 2024. That is about as fast as the 8% average for all occupations nationwide. This means that the job competition will only get higher, as the number of aspiring architects will only get higher and higher, unlike the number of jobs.
Still, seeing as people with the architect job description are very passionate in what they do, and seeing as the architect salary can get higher than $100,000 a year under the right circumstances, the job will certainly keep being extremely sought-after.
Having one of the most well-paid creative jobs on the market (other than those at Hollywood), people with the architect job description are some of the artists with the highest levels of job satisfaction. While the position can get fairly stressful, the more than adequate compensation and the opportunity of doing what they love is motivating enough to get most architects invested in their careers.