Restaurant Architect: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a restaurant architect. Learn about required education, licensing and potential salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering AutoCAD Drafting & Design Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Restaurant Architect Do?

Restaurant architects are responsible for the overall design of restaurants and other dining establishments. They begin by meeting with the owner of the restaurant in order to determine their needs and to negotiate a contract. Then, based on the owner's specifications, they use a combination of software and hand drawings to prepare a blueprint for the restaurant. They also oversee the building process to ensure the construction team is adhering to the architectural plans. Once the structure is complete, they may also be involved in the design of the interior.

The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor of Architecture or Master of Architecture
Key Responsibilities Design architectural plans for eating establishments, work with builders and contractors, draw up budgets
Licensure All states require licensure, which includes passing the Architect Registration Exam
Job Growth (2014-2024) 7%* (all architects)
Median Salary (2015) $76,100* (all architects)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Restaurant Architect?

Architects are responsible for creating the building designs for indoor and outdoor structures. If you become a licensed architect, you might choose to focus on a specialty in order to attract particular clientele. As a restaurant architect, you could be responsible for designing the interior and exterior structures of eateries.

Restaurant architects confer with clients to determine what type of design they'd like for their dining establishments. These architects then begin to prepare blueprints to meet the specifications and requirements of those designs. As a restaurant architect, you could plan structural and electrical systems, develop construction plans, coordinate with construction crews and propose a budget. You might work with contractors, urban planners, engineers and interior designers who also specialize in restaurant design.

What Education Will I Need?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you must earn a professional degree in architecture in order to become any type of architect. In most cases, you'll need to attend a program that's accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.

You could enroll in a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture program; if you've already earned a bachelor's degree in a different field, you might pursue a Master of Architecture. Four-year pre-professional Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Architecture programs are available as well. However, earning a pre-professional degree will not qualify you for work as an architect; you'll then need to complete a Master of Architecture program.

In bachelor's and master's programs, you'll study topics like architectural theory, structural design, the history of architecture, building materials and computer-aided design (CAD) technology. Both Bachelor of Architecture and B.S. in Architecture programs require completion of general education courses as well.

Do I Need to be Licensed?

Once you finish your degree program, you'll need to complete three additional years of supervised training before applying for licensure from a state architectural registration board. You must be licensed before you can legally provide any architectural services to clients. You'll need to successfully take the Architect Registration Examination in order to gain licensure.

What Salary Could I Expect to Earn?

The BLS may not report specific data for restaurant architects, but it did state that architects in general held 93,720 jobs in 2015 (www.bls.gov). During 2015, architects earned a median annual salary of $76,100 and worked primarily for architectural firms.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

As an architect, instead of specializing in restaurant design, you could focus your work on a different type of architecture, such as residential or office buildings. Some architects also choose to focus on designing single rooms, or they may coordinate the architecture and construction for building complexes, like strip malls or industrial parks. Alternatively, you could get a job as a different type of designer, such as a graphic designer. These professionals can find work in a wide range of industries, including food services. For instance, they may find jobs designing menus or advertisements for restaurants. To become a graphic designer, you need to have a bachelor's degree in the field.

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