What Are the Different Types of Architects?

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue as an architect. Read on to learn more about career options, education requirements, salary and job outlook information. Schools offering AutoCAD Drafting & Design Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does an Architect Do?

Architects develop, design and supervise the construction of buildings, landscapes, ships and even software systems. Their work entails understanding all the details of both the form and function of whatever is being built. Architects in any field will work closely with clients, draw up potential cost estimates and project time frame estimates, manage other employees in charge of plan design and monitor contracts for clients and builders. They will also keep an eye on all work being completed to make sure that it is happening appropriately within the estimates given and give presentations and promotions that will attract new clients.

The following chart outlines the general requirements for different types of careers for architects.

Building Architect Landscape Architect Naval Architect
Degree Required Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree, Master's degree recommended Bachelor's degree
Field of Study Architecture Landscape architecture Naval architecture, marine engineering
Training3-year internship 1-4 year apprenticeship Moderate on-the-job training
Licensure State license required
National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) certification voluntary but helpful
License required in most states Mariner's license
Job Growth (2014-2024)7%* 5%* 9% (for marine engineers and naval architects)*
Median Salary (2015) $76,100* $63,810*$93,110 (for marine engineers and naval architects)*

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Types of Architects Are There?

Building architects create the construction blueprints that detail a building's specifications. The blueprints you create include every detail of the building's structure, from the air-conditioning system to plumbing, window frames and even light sockets. You may also need to calculate the building's dimensions and choose the right materials for the function and size of the structure.

Landscape architects design structures that emphasize the natural features within a backyard or public space. As a landscape architect, you collaborate with your client to create a project that draws people outdoors and inspires them to explore an area, such as parks, campuses, recreation centers and gardens.

If you work as a software architect, you will design and build data-driven software by using the latest technology in software design and development. You serve as a vital link between the company's tech and business staff by communicating your client's needs into custom software platform design.

Naval architects prepare drawings, reports and documents for the research and development of new ships and boating vehicles. As a naval architect, you apply professional mathematical engineering standards, formulas and models to estimate required equipment measurements and systems for various marine vehicles.

What Education and Skills Do I Need?

Building architects and landscape architects have similar skill requirements. In order to work in these fields, you must understand computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software, have an eye for aesthetics and detail, and be creative. You will also need a strong background in mathematics to put together accurate proposals for construction and budget plans. It's also important for these architects to pay special attention to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) planning codes and regulations when designing. A master's degree or 5-year bachelor's degree program in architecture or landscape architecture may be required.

As a software architect, you must have a thorough understanding of the software developing process. This includes expertise knowledge of programming and modeling languages, and knowledge of hardware platforms and software processes, such as SOX and CMMI. After completing a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field, opportunities are available to earn a graduate certificate in software architecture.

In order to qualify for a job as a naval engineer, you must be familiar with diesel engine operation, maintenance and troubleshooting. This allows you to analyze diesel engine data, and test and perform logistics development and reporting. You need to earn a master's degree in naval architecture to qualify for this position.

How Much Will I Make?

In 2015, the median salary for building architects was $76,100 per year, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, the median income for landscape architects was $63,810 per year. PayScale.com reports that naval architects in the 10th-90th percentile earned $59,168-$122,451 in 2016, while software architects earned median incomes of $119,266.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Some related careers include civil engineering and construction managerment. As a civil engineer, you will work primarily with construction building projects that include, but are not limited to, streets, tunnels, sewer systems and airports. You could work privately or publicly and would take part in the creation, building, and monitoring each project. Construction managers may also be called general contractors. They put together project estimates, coordinate contracts and keep communication open with their clients on project progress. As a construction manager, you will also be responsible for finding people to do the work and for making sure that all projects are done according to proper building codes and laws. Both civil engineers and construction managers are expected to have a bachelor's degree.

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