Plan and design structures, such as private residences, office buildings, theaters, factories, and other structural property.
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Employment is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. Competition is expected, especially for positions at the most prestigious firms, and opportunities will be best for those architects who are able to distinguish themselves with their creativity.
Employment of architects is expected to increase by 16 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Current demographic trends will lead to an increase in demand for architects. As the population of Sunbelt States continues to grow, the people living there will need new places to live and work. As the population continues to live longer and baby boomers retire, there will be a need for more healthcare facilities, nursing homes, and retirement communities. In education, buildings at all levels are getting older and enrollments continue to increase, which will require many school districts and universities to build new facilities and renovate existing ones.
In recent years, some architecture firms have outsourced the drafting of construction documents and basic design for large-scale commercial and residential projects to architecture firms overseas. This trend is expected to continue and may have a negative impact on employment growth for lower-level architects and interns who would normally gain experience by producing these drawings.
Besides employment growth, additional job openings will arise from the need to replace architects who transfer to other occupations or stop working for other reasons. A growing number of students are graduating with architectural degrees and some competition for entry-level jobs can be anticipated. Competition will be especially keen for jobs at the most prestigious architectural firms as prospective architects try to build their reputation. Prospective architects who have had internships while in school will have an advantage in obtaining positions after graduation. Opportunities will be best for those architects who are able to distinguish themselves from others with their creativity.
There should be demand for architects with knowledge of "green" design. Green design, also known as sustainable design, emphasizes the efficient use of resources such as energy and water, waste and pollution reduction, conservation, and environmentally friendly design, specifications, and materials. Rising energy costs and increased concern about the environment has led to many new buildings being built green.
Employment of architects is strongly tied to the activity of the construction industry and some types of construction are sensitive to cyclical changes in the economy. For example, during recessions nonresidential construction of office and retail space tends to fall as funding for these projects becomes harder to obtain and the demand for these spaces falls. Firms involved in the design of institutional buildings, such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and correctional facilities, will be less affected by fluctuations in the economy. Residential construction makes up a small portion of work for architects, so major changes in the housing market would not be as significant as fluctuations in the nonresidential market.
Opportunities are also geographically sensitive, and some parts of the Nation may have fewer new building projects. Also, many firms specialize in specific buildings, such as hospitals or office towers, and demand for these buildings may vary by region. Architects may find it increasingly necessary to gain reciprocity in order to compete for the best jobs and projects in other States.
Architects held about 141,200 jobs in 2008. Approximately 68 percent of jobs were in the architectural, engineering, and related services industry. A small number worked for residential and nonresidential building construction firms and for government agencies responsible for housing, community planning, or construction of government buildings, such as the U.S. Departments of Defense and Interior and the General Services Administration. About 21 percent of architects are self-employed.
Job Zone 5 - Extensive preparation
Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of medical school and up to an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to do their job.
At a minimum, a bachelor's degree is required for these occupations. However, many also require a graduate school degree such as a Master's, Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations require that you already have the necessary skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.
Lawyers, instrumental musicians, physicists, counseling psychologists, and surgeons.
These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising or managing the activities of others. Very advanced communication and organization skills are required.
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Information about education and careers in architecture can be obtained from:
- The American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20006. Internet: http://www.aia.org
- The National Architectural Accrediting Board, 1735 New York Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20006. Internet: http://www.naab.org
- The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, Suite 700K, 1801 K St. NW., Washington, D.C. 20006. Internet: http://www.ncarb.org
- The American Institute of Architects and the American Institute of Architecture Students jointly sponsor a web site: http://www.archcareers.org
Sources: O*Net data version 12.0
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Department of Labor
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