Architecture is a wonderful career but also can turn into a terrible one. The career is fiercely competitive and the pay may not be as good as many people suppose. Further, it involves a lot of mundane labor and little exciting creative projects.
So, What Do Architects Do
Architects design offices, homes, stores, and even cities. They may perform feasibility studies, impact studies, and other studies related to construction such as design requirements and cost analysis before developing the construction plan and blueprints for approval.
The drawing must show the main components such as heating, air conditioning, electrical, and plumbing. Every plan has to meet the building codes, fire regulations, and disability access codes. After the project is approved, they may oversee the construction to ensure that the building meets all the requirements.
The Daily Duties of an Architect
An architect will do the following:
- Meet with clients to discuss the project objectives and requirements
- Give estimates on construction time and cost
- Prepare structure specifications
- Direct workers when preparing various documents and drawings
- Prepared scaled drawings by hand or with help of computer software
- Prepare contract documents
- Manage construction contracts
- Visit worksites
- Seek new work
How is the Salary
Architects are among the lowly paid professionals, particularly at the entry-level. So, succeeding in this career depends on your ability to build a network of clients. Your skills and specialization will also dictate the amount of money you make. Here is the expected average salary in some countries:
- United States – $80k
- Australia – $43k
- United Kingdom – $70k
- Canada – 60k
- United Arab Emirates – 51k
- Switzerland – $78k
Architect Opportunities Depending on the Country
Technically, there are many architecture job opportunities in all parts of the world but some markets have more profitable job opportunities than others do. Architects from most industrialized countries have fewer opportunities while those in the developing countries have endless opportunities.
Whether your goal is to establish an overseas architectural career in one of the developing or developed countries, you have to take the first step. In the United States, you have to get a practice license to start offering architectural services. If you are planning to work in Canada, Australia, Norway, or China, you have to get the licensing too. Here are the countries that offer many opportunities for architects.
– United States
Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the rate of architect’s employment in the United States will grow at a rate of 7 percent until 2024. The rate is similar to the average for all jobs. Unfortunately, the competition for jobs is increasing too because the applicants have outnumbered the available job positions.
The available data also shows that the demand for green design is rising. That is for the reason that the energy costs have been increasing recently and environmental concerns have influenced people and organizations to adopt environmentally friendly designs. Architectural opportunities in the United States are also geographically sensitive. Some cities like San Francisco, Lancaster, Sacramento, and Atlanta offer more opportunities.
Employment opportunities for architects have been increasing in this country within the last five years and the trend will continue. However, you have to familiarize yourself with the local regulations, rules, and construction techniques to start working in this country. You have to acquaint yourself with the building approval system, the role of surveyors, and the building procurement.
While there are many opportunities in all regions, some cities offer more opportunities than others do. Perth and Brisbane offer more opportunities compared to Melbourne.
The number of architects in Canada is likely to increase within the next few years due to the anticipated demand for architectural services. Even though many Canadian cities provide many employment opportunities for architects, the opportunities are more in the fast-growing provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan. When searching for a job, including the small towns and cities near the target city in your list.
China has completed many key projects such as large museums, airports, libraries, and performance centers. That means the opportunities in this country are few. However, the country is promoting the green building concept. That might open more opportunities for architects in the future.
Norway has been named the best destination for young architects looking for work. English is the working language in the country but fluency in the Norwegian language is a prerequisite for those targeting the architectural industry.
Building the House of the Future can be Expensive
As we have already said, architecture is a rough career. While you might be excited about telling others that you are an architect and the many traveling opportunities, architect life is not the best. You will have to work hard and for long hours, which is unlikely to happen for other professionals. Besides, you will have to be challenged by plan examiners, contractors, and difficult clients. Actually, bad moments will outnumber the moments you are happy about being an architect.
Still, you cannot call yourself an architect unless you are already licensed. The licensing process in most countries is extensive, long, and highly regulated. It mainly focuses on understanding and protecting the welfare, safety, and health of the public. You will have to study for 5 years and complete 2 years internship for the licensing.
Further, architecture is among the lowly paid professions. Entry-level architects work for many hours and earn very low amounts compared to other professionals like doctors and engineers. In the UK, the starting salary is £20k and the average salary is around £40k- £50k and $70k-$80k in the United States. That is higher than what graphic and interior designers make but very low compared to what surveyors and engineers make. It is also low considering that architects have to work for many hours.
The life of an architect is not easy. Irregular work hours, low pay, and constant multitasking, particularly in the early stage of their career take a toll on the mental health of architects. A British survey showed that around 25 percent of architecture students had to be treated for various mental health issues. An American study also showed that architects stand as the fifth in the list of professionals who are more likely to commit suicide.
Fulfilling Your Dream or Meeting Your Salary Expectations
Architecture is among the hardest qualified professions in the globe and unfortunately, it is not among the highest-paid professions. Including after many years of training, most architects earn lower than the other professions. However, there are many career benefits to enjoy. Architects are highly recognized, they enjoy decent job security, and they travel a lot. If you want to succeed in this career path, you have to hone your skills.
Most architects only hold an undergraduate degree and that is the main problem. However, most hiring companies and architecture firms are searching for architects with specializations. The average salary of architects was less than that of architects with specializations in 2019. So, a Master’s Degree or a Ph.D. will give you a superior position and help you earn more.
Even though you will learn a lot in school, society is always changing. So, you have to grow with it. To get high wages, you have to get more hard skills. Improve your software skills, drafting skills, designing skills, presentation skills, on-field skills, and data interpretation skills. Also, work on your soft skills such as leadership skills, communication skills, creativity, teamwork, decision-making ability, adaptability, flexibility, and problem-solving skills.
Due to technological advancements, the demand for architects able to incorporate the technology into their projects has increased. A quick example, the popularity of smart homes is growing and it might be a specialization soon. Similarly, new building materials like hempcrete might be the future norm. So, you have to watch the industry trends so that you can advance your career.