Pursuing a Career as an Architect

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An architect is a professional who has a license and helps in organizing spaces. They basically design the houses, residential complexes, skyscrapers, office buildings, and landscapes. At times they even visualize and develop the entire cities.

Architects have to undergo special training where they are taught how to preserve the historical monuments and structures and as well as structural engineering. They also have to complete university programs and internships just like the lawyers and doctors. Then they have to pass tough examinations to get their architecture license. A RA is assigned to a licensed or registered architect in the United States. There is newer type of architect - the information architect, who is responsible for putting information on the internet. The type of project is the main deciding factor for the kind of services offered by the licensed architect and their fees normally vary from 10% to 15% of the costs incurred on the construction.

Apart from designing buildings and structures for malls etc., the architects also take care of the safety measures, economic factors, ensure their functionality, and find out how best they serve the needs of the people.

According to a survey conducted in 2006, there were 132,000 architects in the US. Out of these, most of the architects were engaged with architectural firms. A smaller number of architects worked for building construction firms who are engaged in making residential and commercial buildings. Yet some are employed with government bodies. Around one in every five architects is self-employed.

To be an architect, one has to qualify for one of the three kinds of professional degrees that are offered by the colleges and universities. There is a five year bachelor's degree for architecture for students who want to join immediately after graduating from high school and who have no other training in this area. Then there is two year master degree in architecture for people with an undergraduate degree in architecture at a pre-professional level. And then there are three or four years of program on master of architecture who have acquired degree in some other disciplines. Apart from the academic qualifications, one has to get hold of a license before providing their services as architect. To get the license, after qualifying the graduate degree in architecture, the candidate has to go through the practical training and also qualify the Architect Registration Examination.

In case someone has decided to take up architecture as his or her career, then the student can plan for college preparatory programs during high school like taking up courses in English, mathematics, trigonometry, geometry, algebra, and physics. Courses on drawing and painting, photography and sculpting will further give a boost to the creative thinking. Courses in business as well as computers will be an added advantage for the career growth.

With a specific period of experience, an architect can start taking more and more responsibilities and gradually start handling the entire projects. An architect may move towards the managerial positions or in supervisory positions in bigger architectural firms. And gradually some may become a partner in already established firms and others may start their own businesses.

A post-professional degree in architecture will always give extra benefit. This will be a necessity if someone wants to take up teaching profession. Similarly is it will also help the person to take up research in the field of architecture. However, a graduate degree is sufficient to pursue a career as an architect.

A qualified architect can decide to change to other similar job profiles like industrial designing, interior designing, graphics, urban planning, civil engineering, real estate, and construction management.

The job responsibilities of an architect are to firstly find out the objectives, goals, requirements, and budget of their project. Then they have to give a multiple pre-design services to the client like studies on environmental impact of the project, project feasibility checking, and choosing the site for the project. Then comes preparing the drawing and presentation of ideas to the client and get their reviews. Once they get approval from the client, the next step is to prepare the final plan for construction. This will show the appearance of the building and will also provide details of construction. The architects have to strictly follow the various rules and regulations set by the government agencies like building codes, fire norms, zoning laws, etc.

An architect can earn an average of $64,000 a year, whereas the higher paid architects get more than $105,000 a year. As per a survey conducted this year, it has been shown that in spite of the recession, the salaries of architects have remained unaffected. There is a huge scope for career growth for architects in the coming years.
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