What is this job like?
Architects design houses and buildings. They plan offices and apartments. They design schools, churches, and airport terminals. Their plans involve far more than a building's looks. Buildings must be safe and strong. They must also suit the needs of the people who use them. Architects look at all these things.
The architect and client first discuss what the client wants. The architect sometimes helps decide if a project would work at all or if it would harm the environment. The architect then creates drawings for the client to review. They may be involved in all stages of the construction of a building.
If the ideas are OK, the architect draws up the final plans. These plans show how the building will look and how to build it. The drawings show the beams that hold up the building. They show the air-conditioner, furnace, and ventilating systems. The drawings show how the electricity and plumbing work. Architects used to use pencil and paper to draw their plans. Today, more and more architects are using computers. Architects generally work in comfortable conditions. They spend most of their time in offices. However, they spend some time at building sites to see how projects are going.
Architects may feel stressed sometimes. They might work nights and weekends to meet deadlines. Most architects work 40 hours a week, but they may need to work nights and weekends in order to meet deadlines.
How do you get ready?
Architects must be licensed before they can practice. In order to get a license: 1) You need a degree in architecture. Courses include architectural theory, building design, math, and science. 2) You must finish an internship. 3) Finally, you must pass all sections of a license exam. Architects sometimes take new classes to keep their skills fresh.
Architects must be able to visualize things and communicate well visually. Art classes are very helpful in doing this. Speaking, writing, and creativity are also important. Architects should be computer literate.
Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
See also: Notable Architects.