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What Does it Take to Be an Architect?

Occupation Description Plan and design structures, such as private residences, office buildings, theaters, factories, and other structural property.

A Day in the Life of an Architect

  • Plan or design structures such as residences, office buildings, theatres, factories, or other structural properties in accordance with environmental, safety, or other regulations.
  • Prepare operating and maintenance manuals, studies, or reports.
  • Consult with clients to determine functional or spatial requirements of structures.
  • Prepare information regarding design, structure specifications, materials, color, equipment, estimated costs, or construction time.
  • Perform predesign services, such as feasibility or environmental impact studies.
  • Calculate potential energy savings by comparing estimated energy consumption of proposed design to baseline standards.

What Every Architect Should Know

These are the skills Architects say are the most useful in their careers:

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

  • Plumbing Designer
  • Architectural Project Manager
  • Residential Green Building Designer
  • Project Architect
  • Structural Architect

What Kind of Architect Job Opportunities Are There?

In the United States, there were 128,800 jobs for Architect in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 4.2% which is below the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 5,400 new jobs for Architect by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 9,700 job openings in this field each year.


The states with the most job growth for Architect are Colorado, Utah, and Tennessee. Watch out if you plan on working in West Virginia, Mississippi, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Architects Salary

The salary for Architects ranges between about $48,020 and $138,120 a year.


Architects who work in Massachusetts, Alaska, or District of Columbia, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Architects in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $91,380
Alaska $93,390
Arizona $95,220
Arkansas $69,470
California $95,060
Colorado $73,090
Connecticut $83,530
Delaware $83,410
District of Columbia $100,770
Florida $82,710
Hawaii $75,410
Idaho $71,190
Illinois $79,520
Indiana $79,760
Iowa $76,290
Kansas $77,950
Kentucky $73,580
Louisiana $75,710
Maine $70,470
Maryland $87,790
Massachusetts $103,920
Michigan $75,100
Minnesota $88,020
Mississippi $72,780
Missouri $76,580
Nebraska $86,410
Nevada $74,620
New Hampshire $89,260
New Jersey $83,590
New Mexico $72,740
New York $109,520
North Carolina $84,980
North Dakota $79,570
Ohio $82,640
Oklahoma $86,270
Oregon $84,430
Pennsylvania $79,440
Rhode Island $79,120
South Carolina $85,610
South Dakota $80,310
Tennessee $80,750
Texas $99,580
Utah $67,540
Vermont $71,770
Virginia $85,380
Washington $79,020
West Virginia $89,200
Wisconsin $78,110
Wyoming $85,400

What Tools & Technology do Architects Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Architects may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Access
  • Data entry software
  • MongoDB
  • Microsoft Project
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Database software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Intuit QuickBooks
  • Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Bentley MicroStation
  • Oracle Primavera Enterprise Project Portfolio Management

How to Become an Architect

What education is needed to be an Architect?


What work experience do I need to become an Architect?


Who Employs Architects?


The table below shows the approximate number of Architects employed by various industries.


Those thinking about becoming an Architect might also be interested in the following careers:


Image Credit: Danichou via Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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