What Is an Architect Engineer?

Sometimes referred to as architectural engineers, these skilled individuals specialize in the design of systems and components within buildings. Read on to learn about the job duties of architect engineers, and check the education required for this career field. Schools offering Civil Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Duties and Responsibilities

Architect engineers work in a complementary manner to architects, and both professions are essential to construction. Architect engineers mainly deal with systems within buildings that require a high level of engineering techniques. This profession differs from architecture in the sense that an architect designs the visual elements, such as floor plans and blueprints. An architect engineer designs the structural components that must remain stable and functional in all kinds of conditions, such as bad weather. This work leads to maximized efficiency and building performance in:

  • Structures
  • Acoustics
  • Electricity
  • Lighting

Important Facts About This Occupation

Mean Salary (2018) $87,370 (for architect and engineering occupations)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 4% (for architects)
Key Skills Proficiency in mathematics, drawing, computer and engineering programs
Work Environment Office setting, construction sites

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Architectural engineering programs are part of a university's engineering department. According to the Princeton Review (www.princetonreview.com), there are only a handful of architectural engineering programs in the U.S., most of which require the completion of five years of rigorous study. For example, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) offers a five-year professional program that integrates a Bachelor of Science with a Master of Architectural Engineering. Penn State offers a similar five-year professional program that awards a Bachelor of Architectural Engineering. Other universities offer a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering and require students to apply separately to a professional graduate program. Architectural engineering programs cover the following topics:

  • Building systems
  • Electrical engineering
  • Structural analysis
  • Environmental systems

Employment Opportunities

Graduates of an architectural engineering program must complete additional requirements before entering the field. Potential architect engineers must take the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) Exam and a licensing exam. Once these requirements are met, qualified applicants can find work in structural and electrical design. Architect engineers also work with heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems. Common positions in the field include:

  • Construction engineer
  • Project manager
  • Cost estimator

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