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Architectural Designer Duties and Responsibilities

Architectural designers take on a range of different duties depending on the organization they work for. Based on job listings we analyzed, an architectural designer's duties typically involve:

Produce Layouts and Color Boards Architectural designers produce CAD drawings and renderings, as well as color boards, to develop specific and precise designs for buildings that can then be discussed with clients.

Produce Technical Drawings Once the plans have been agreed upon, architectural designers create drawings and specifications that have been redlined by others on the team.

Compile Data for Calculations To ensure that all measurements and calculations are correct, architectural designers gather the necessary information to perform dimensional and routine calculations for drawings and design layouts.

Research Product Solutions Architectural designers work with the client and the proposed brief to develop product and design solutions to be considered for approval or improvement.

Ensure Plans Are Compliant Compliance is key with building regulations, so architectural designers use technical manuals to ensure that all layouts and blueprints meet the required codes and legal standards. They also keep up to date with the latest legal requirements and any changes in compliance standards.


Architectural Designer Skills and Qualifications

Architectural designers are creative, detail-oriented professionals who can work on multiple projects at a time without compromising the standard of their work. Typically, employers require a bachelor's degree and some prior experience, as well as the following abilities:
  • Creativity - architectural designers need to turn their ideas into plans and technical drawings that guide how a building looks, so they must be creative and able to forge unique concepts
  • Technical skills - architectural designers work with computer software every day, from CAD applications to databases and building information modeling (BIM), so they need to be technically capable of picking up new systems and programs quickly
  • Interpersonal skills - architectural designers work closely with clients as well as other members of the architectural team, so it's important that they're able to remain professional and courteous
  • Time management - architectural designers work on multiple projects at a time while keeping to tight schedules, so good time management is important
  • Math skills - this job requires the ability to work out dimensions, costs, angles, and weights, so strong math skills are vital

Architectural Designer Education and Training

The minimum requirement to become an architectural designer is a bachelor's degree in architecture, as well as some previous experience under the guidance of a qualified architect. This experience will allow entry into the Architect Registration Examination for certification purposes. Some employers may also request a portfolio demonstrating the applicant's skills and creativity. Architectural designers should also have experience using CAD software, and should ensure that they're up to date with the latest versions.

Architectural Designer Salary and Outlook

The median annual salary for architectural designers is nearly $51,000, according to PayScale. Architectural designers in the 10th percentile earn around $40,000 annually, while the highest paid earn close to $70,000 a year. Some companies offer packages that can reach up to $5,000 from bonus structures based on individual or group performances, as well as profit-sharing opportunities. Over 50 percent of employers offer dental plans and medical insurance as part of their benefit packages. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this sector will grow by 7 percent through 2026.

Helpful Resources

We've collected some of the best resources to help you learn more about becoming an architectural designer:

Design and Architecture - a great reference for anyone working in the design field, this LinkedIn group has over 60,000 members, ensuring that plenty of knowledge is on hand at all times. It's useful for networking, picking up great ideas, and learning about new opportunities in the sector

AutoCAD 2018 for Beginners - AutoCAD is an important program for any aspiring architectural designer, and this book is a great starting point for anyone new to the software. From 3D modeling to creating drawings and adding dimensions, it helps readers learn the basics, which they can then develop further

Architectural Sketching and Rendering: Techniques for Designers and Artists - creativity and drawing skills are a must in this job, as is learning how to best utilize these skills. This book provides guidance on a wide variety of sketching and rendering techniques and styles, as well as tips and tricks to ensure a high standard of work

Architectural Digest - staying up to date with the latest architectural trends is vital to meeting clients' needs and ensuring that buildings are current and contemporary. This website has a host of content to explore, from house tours to interviews with key players in the industry, as well as inspiration for future projects

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