|Number of Jobs:||27,900|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Creative Jobs||#2|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#70|
Artists typically display their work in galleries and museums. Writers are confined to the pages of magazines and books. Architects, on the other hand, are free to showcase their masterpieces practically anywhere. All the places you visit in a single day—coffee shops, libraries, train stations, office buildings, restaurants, grocery stores, city parks, and so on—are the creations of one or more architects. To ensure their creations are practical, safe, and aesthetically pleasing, architects are involved in each stage of the construction process, from the initial planning session to the ribbon-cutting ceremony. This hands-on approach requires a diverse skill set. The most successful architects are far from one-trick ponies; instead, they possess some proficiency in designing, engineering, managing, supervising, and coordinating with clients and builders. Communication skills are especially important. Architects must effectively convey their unique vision for a project and interact with professionals from many fields.
With steady migration to Sun Belt states and many baby boomers retiring in the next few years, there should be an uptick in demand for new homes, healthcare facilities, and office buildings. This means the job market for architects should remain solid. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has predicted 24.5 percent employment growth before the decade's end—adding 27,900 more positions to the 83,590 already-existing jobs—but in the past year, employment in this field dropped by approximately 52,000 jobs.
The BLS reports the median annual wage for architects increased slightly in 2011 to $73,340. The best-paid 10 percent in the profession made approximately $119,410, while the bottom 10 percent made approximately $44,030. To earn a salary on the higher end of this spectrum, you should consider Bridgeport, Conn., Santa Cruz, Calif., and Gary, Ind., which are the three metropolitan areas where the highest-paid in the profession work.
Most states require architects to possess a professional degree in architecture from one of the nearly 120 schools of architecture accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. However, state architectural registration boards specify their own standards, so a degree from a non-accredited program may suffice in select states. Therefore, check the requirements for any state where you wish to work. There are a few routes to obtaining a degree in architecture. Most architects choose the five-year degree intended for students with no previous training. Others opt to enroll in a graduate program, which can take one to five years to complete, after obtaining an undergraduate degree in a field outside of architecture. Graduates must complete a training period, typically of three years or more, before they may sit for the licensing exam. Requirements for this training period vary by state.
Architects interact with a wide-ranging group of people on each project, so working well with others is a must. "You need to show that you work well in teams—especially with people different than you are," Richard L. Hayes, director of knowledge resources for The American Institute of Architects, wrote in an email. According to Hayes, demonstrating that you "can think about the best path through a complex problem" is another important element to getting a job in the field. Healthcare architecture, such as designing healthy communities and buildings, is a growing area of specialization that Hayes recommends for aspiring architects.
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