Professional architectural technicians are applications specialists. It is their job to apply technology to architecture, design, and construction. In some countries there are professional societies just for architectural technicians. An architectural jobs technician works along with other architectural technicians in support of architects and architectural technologists, surveyors, engineers, and others in the construction trades.
Overall, architectural technicians specialize in investigation and organization of technical information for use in all phases of a project. They analyze new information and factors that can affect the implementation of an architectural plan. Changes can arise during surveys, regulatory inspections, and during construction itself. Preparing regulatory applications often falls under the purview of the architectural technician.
Specifically, tasks of an architectural jobs technician may include the following:
- Using software like AutoCAD and traditional design methods to prepare design proposals
- Assisting with the design process and coordinating design information
- Preparing construction specifications
- Creating drawings, documents, and plans for the legal approval cycle
- Assisting with assessment of risks
Here are some of the steps involved in becoming an architectural technician.
First, you should complete a university degree in architecture or engineering. Your degree should involve strong knowledge of design techniques and of the construction business. You should also take courses in environmental policy and public administration to broaden your knowledge of community and regulatory issues. Computer aided design should figure prominently in your education as well.
During summers while you're in school, you should strongly consider working on construction sites to acquire valuable experience with the practical side of architecture. You'll also learn the ins and outs of how earth moving equipment works and the uses of various building materials. Even an unpaid internship can be very valuable in terms of experience.
Even before graduation, you should begin contacting local construction firms and architects to begin your search for employment. This will get your name in the mix early for those architects and construction firms interested in taking on new technicians. Attending job fairs is also a good idea. Have resumes, business cards, and lists of references ready to give to any interested parties.
The first several years you spend as an architectural jobs technician will be spent as an apprentice to either an experienced architectural jobs technician or an architect. Two to four years is generally the length of an apprenticeship to allow you to see a project through from beginning to end.
Another aspect of your development as a technician that is particularly enjoyable is traveling to learn firsthand about architectural history. If you are able to travel the summer after graduation to see some of the world's greatest architectural marvels before starting your job as an architectural technician, you will be even better prepared for your first job.
The work of an architectural technician is similar to that of an architect. However, an architect is generally more engaged with the aesthetic properties of a building, and an architectural jobs technician is more involved with the technicalities of the construction of the project. The successful architectural technician has a narrow, more specialized role in supporting architects and construction workers.
The salary of an architectural technician will depend upon experience and the location of the work. As one example, in New York City, an architectural jobs technician can earn up to $59,000 per year. In less expensive markets, an architectural technician would make proportionally less. The job outlook for architectural technicians is promising in that there is an intermediate-term skill shortage for the job.
If you have initiative and enjoy the accomplishment of spending sometimes several years in seeing a big project through from idea to completion, and you have the skills and the love for architecture, then becoming an architectural technician may be the ideal career for you.