Career Profile: Architecture
Architecture in its simplest form is the profession of designing and constructing buildings. As a profession, it requires a significant investment of time and money. Since architecture maintains a focus on design and the construction of structures, it is an exciting industry for those who have the ability to express aesthetic and creative designs into functional buildings. Some well known architects who have made an impact on the industry, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Kevin Roche and Marcel Breuer are admired and praised for the contributions they have made to the field.
As a whole, architecture is an attractive profession for those who have a passion for designing new structures that help to advance the field, while preserving functionality and working within the limitations of budgets, resources, materials, and of course, safety regulations. For these reasons architecture calls for heavy attention to detail and strong organizational skills.
The industry accommodates several different career paths, depending on the size of the architecture firm and professional experience. Regardless of where an architect works, they must be licensed in the state where they practice. Specific licensing requirements vary from state to state, but in general architects must have a formal education in the field, work or intern under a licensed architect and pass the National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB) exam.
Architects often look to begin their career with leading firms like AECOM Technology Corp., Gensler, URS Corp. and HOK. Others may pursue careers at smaller firms where they may only serve primarily private clients, public clients, or work on a mixture of both private and public projects. According to the organizational structure established by each respective company determines what specific responsibilities and titles an architect assumes, but in general positions can be broken up in two main categories: Design Architects and Project Architects.
Design architects are typically senior members of a company and develop the overall look of the building for clients. They create and design the aesthetics of a building according to what the client is looking for. Following design, project architects usually assume the responsibilities of ensuring that the building can be built, what type of infrastructure requirements will be needed and that the building conforms to federal and state regulations. Aside from these positions, other roles exist such as project managers, drafts persons and construction administrators.
Architecture is expected to keep pace with average growth rates for all other occupations through 2014. However it is important to keep in mind that it may experience a downturn or upturn at varying rates in comparison to other industries because it is so closely associated with the economic power of construction, which depending on the health of the economy at the time may increase or freeze construction budgets.
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