Inside Architect Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Hard To Advance. A Lot Of Hours. Not Much Design Freedom...
It is much harder to move up in an architecture firm than expected. There is much more work I take home with me. I don't have as much freedom to create my own designs as I'd like." (Designer; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, male
School: Studied Architecture at University Of Missouri in Missouri; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

"Architects Highly Under-Paid...
The most surprising thing I found out about my profession is the fact architects are under-appreciated and underpaid. The amount of education, skills, and experience, needed to become a licensed architect is extensive. However, the salary does not come close to matching what other professionals make like engineers or accountants." (Intern Architect; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, male
School: Studied Architecture at University Of Maryland in Maryland; completed Bachelor degree in 2009

"Focus On Individual Design...
Most folks who seek an architecture degree believe they will be designing beautiful buildings. However, in the real world, I was surprised to find that many times, as an architect, you are designing only specific rooms or yards - not entire buildings." (Senior Architect, President; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Architecture at University Of Illinois in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 2005

"I was surprised that being an architect requires a lot of process and decision-making skills. These skills are key as expanding on an initial idea in a project allows finished work to be more effective in the end." (Architect; 2012)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Nevada, male
School: Studied Architecture at I Have Attended The Southeast Career And Technical Academy And It Is Most Relevant To My Career. in Nevada; completed Diploma degree in 2010

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Architect: "The best parts of the job are getting to do something that I love, being creative, working with knowledgeable and creative people, learning something new every day and participating in projects that are a big deal to the communities they are in. The worst parts are working long hours and sometimes dealing with very untrusting clients who need extra support and help in visualizing design ideas." (2010)

Architect: "The best part of the job is building design. It is so much fun, especially when the building is complicated or the client has a very tight budget. Design is like a puzzle in which all the components must be figured out in order to fit and produce a successful building; producing the documents with specific details which describe exactly what you want the builder to do, and watching the construction go up. The worst part is the compensation, as it typically doesn't begin to be commensurate with the effort and knowledge put into the work!" (2010)

Career Background


  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Learn New Software. Relevant Portfolio...
It's hard to find a job in the field these days, to stand out from the rest, learn as many software programs as you can. Many firms use different tools. Create a strong portfolio only showing meaningful work for the job. An architecture firm does not care you can draw portraits or paint." (Designer; 2013)

"Details Of Individual Room Mechanics...
If you are seeking an architectural degree, during your drawing phase, focus on the specific room or addition. Knowing the big picture is important, but gain a true real-world working knowledge of the individual mechanics of each room - since these jobs will be more needed by customers/clients." (Senior Architect, President; 2013)

"Have Realistic Expectations...
For someone considering being an architect, I would tell them to make sure they have realistic expectations. It is not a profession for those who want to make a lot of money. It is a profession for someone who truly has a passion for architecture and is willing to make sacrifices to succeed in this field." (Intern Architect; 2013)

"Avoid Miscommunication...
Always think about what you are going to email to someone before you send it. Small communications can have a large impact in multi-million dollar jobs. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you are feeling overwhelmed. Be proactive about getting questions answered. Don't wait around for the answer to fall in your lap. You have to actively look for the information you need." (Architect; 2010)

"Complex Visualization Skills Necessary...
You must have a fascination with complicated elements which all have to work together to create a cohesive whole. You must love to draw (most architects can't effectively "talk" without a pen and paper in front of them!) and you must be able to visualize in 3 dimensions. If you are not capable of envisioning a complicated object and spinning it around in your mind in order to understand all facets, you will likely not be very successful. Architecture is a very dynamic, 3-dimensional study." (Architect; 2010)