Archinect
anchor

Firm Job Titles/Roles & Responsibilities

kizzy888

I have been working in the architecture/design industry for a little over 7 years. During this time I have worked for several U.S. firms in different capacities. I would like to get some professional feedback and information on firm job titles and the roles & responsibilities associated with those titles. Since I am considered junior staff (unlicensed) I am trying to understand if their is a standard career development/structure that other firms have used to mentor for growth. For example, the succession of positions. (Intern, Project Coordinator, Project Architect, Project Manager).

 
Sep 23, 20 7:21 pm

1 Featured Comment

All 9 Comments

SneakyPete

PM is not more important than PA, no matter how many people in the industry try and shovel that shit.

Sep 23, 20 7:31 pm  · 
8  · 
natematt

PA's often do what people think the PMs are doing anyway.... I think a lot of firms generally acknowledge this in their operational hierarchy's, yet PMs still tend to make more....

2  · 
Non Sequitur

working for 7 years yet still considered junior? There is something wrong here. 

Sep 23, 20 8:28 pm  · 
4  · 

search the forum, there have been similar threads. Bottom line, there isn’t anything definitive. It depends on the firm. 

Sep 23, 20 8:28 pm  · 
4  · 
Featured Comment
Archinect

Check out this series on architecture job titles: https://archinect.com/features/tag/1467627/job-titles

Sep 23, 20 8:39 pm  · 
4  · 
Jay1122

The link from archinect above really explains it well. 

Working for 7 years and still junior? Is it just mentally or responsibility wise? Being unlicensed does not mean you are junior. There are senior level people called "job captain" or "senior designer" that have extensive knowledge and responsibility but does not have license due to various reasons. That job captain title is a wild cat though, I have seen 2 yr experience called job captain, also seen 10+ yr called job captain. The thing is position name does not matter as much, it is what you do and the pay that tells. If you are micromanaged by a licensed professional with small tasks, then you are still junior. If you independently run your project or part of job then you are not really junior.

Also, getting pigeon holed is real. You may be doing same tasks and stuck in the middle tier forever. You can always get a sense whether the firm promotes internal workers or just use employees as tools and just have high turnover.

Sep 24, 20 9:35 am  · 
2  · 

To be fair some firms consider all unlicensed architectural staff capable of becoming licensed 'junior'. In my experience this isn't common and it tends to occur in firms with older leadership.

1  · 
tduds

In my experience "Job Captain" is what you call a PA who isn't licensed. Same basic duties, minus the stamp.

2  · 
natematt

^In some firms it's Technical Coordinator.... or even Project manager ;D

 · 
Aluminate

No standard path exists.  Looking back, some of the best firms to learn from were the ones where the Project Managers had 15 years of experience minimum and the "Project Architect" was always a principal or senior designer who oversaw the entire project and was the primary client-facing contact.  But those firms were a little discouraging in the plodding advancement trajectory.  On the other hand, the firm where I was a PM with 3 years of experience and everybody with a license was a Project Architect was nice for my ego and resume, and for getting over some fears in a sink-or-swim way, and it was fairly educational about procedural things, but not so much for technical.  Job Captain is even worse than PM or PA in terms of any consistency from firm to firm.  In some it's a senior person who is the behind-the-scenes in-house twin to the PM, while in other firms it's what fresh grads get promoted to after their first year in a firm, when all they're really captain of is the product library or plotter paper.

Sep 24, 20 11:00 am  · 
1  · 

Yeah to me the entire 'job title' thing was always a bit odd.  I worked in medium sized firms that didn't have titles unless you where a partner.  

Now that I'm out west it's all about the job title.

Intern 1-3

Architect 1-3

Project Architect 1-3

Project Manager

Senior Project Manager

Job Captain - typically used for unlicensed people involved in CA and / or PA duties

Drafter 1-3


 · 
kizzy888

Chad, would you say the Job Captain and Project Coordinator titles/roles are synonymous?

 · 
Bench

Chad we also follow the AIA set of titles as well, each level at 1-3, depending on seniority/responsibility/licensure. That's largely internal. Externally to clients we use the more generic Designer / Architect / etc. titles.

 · 
SneakyPete

Where'd ya move to CO from, Chad?

 · 

MN. First west central then northern.

 · 
SneakyPete

That's BARELY moving West, man! ;)

 · 
natematt

There is a reason why everyone provides an in depth description with their advertisements for jobs....

While I don't think the titles mean much for this reason, it's worth watching out that you avoid places where the title really doesn't seem to align with the description, you wont be happy with that job haha


Sep 24, 20 12:04 pm  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

That reminds me, a ZGF job post looking for 5 yrs experience, the position title is intern 4. 5 yrs in the profession and still carry intern name is a big no no to me. And it allows 3 yrs exp if you have master degree. Seriously master is not worth 2 yrs of work experience. Both Barch and March students know nothing when they graduate. Some people are licensed already with 5 yrs experience.

2  · 
thisisnotmyname

ZGF apparently wants to live the dream of highly experienced people doing the low-level jobs.

 · 

The worst is when a firm isn't sure what they're looking for. I had an interview with a firm in Colorado Springs. It was advertised as a PA with 2+ years experience. We get though half the interview when the partners say that they really don't need another PA but instead are looking for an experienced PM. I thanked them for their time and told them I didn't have the experience to fill such a role. Wasted both of our time.

1  · 
Jay1122

Chad, I am actually interested in the difference between PA and PM. I have not worked for those huge corporate with clear role cuts. I want to know what set them apart so much skill and task wise? I have heard PM is more schedule and fees stuff, PA is more the project design and construction. But I would expect a senior level able to tread in both area thought.

 · 

There can be a lot of overlap between a PA and PM. Personally I think the only difference is that a PM is also responsible for the design / production schedule (determining and assigning staff hours), ensuring a profit is made on the project, dealing with billing, dealing with pay apps, and QC'ing drawings. Typically the PM is also the one who signs the drawings. 

When acting as a PA I've done all of that except the billing side and pay apps.  We have the architect who signed the drawings do the pay apps.  

That's just my experience with firms in the 10-25 person range. Your results may vary. ;)

 · 
SneakyPete

The PM does everything the job needs that nobody told you about and will probably hate.

1  · 

That too . . .

 · 
natematt

Again, the PM is a really varied title. I know places that use it as a substitution for what people would more often think of as a Job Captain, with an equivalent experience. 

Alternately, I know places where a PM is just a glorified paper pusher and client *** kisser.... but is not an architect, and most definitely does not stamp drawings.

 · 

There is also this from the AIA. These are the position descriptions they use for their compensation survey and report, though not all positions are represented in the report.

https://www.aia.org/best-pract...

Sep 24, 20 12:12 pm  · 
1  · 
joseffischer

I imagine we can all agree that adding senior to your title is a good thing, especially if you're at a firm that differentiates and has some people at senior already.  

From a resume perspective, I answer to principals/owners at my firm now, and sometimes get to have staff help me... so I'd tweak my titles when going for interviews to reflect whatever the firm in question uses

Sep 24, 20 3:14 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Ultra Senior Intern 7, hmm yeah. The forever intern that is actually the CEO. That will be my title structure for the organization. My firm motto: "Life is an endless journey of learning, we are all just interns at different levels."

 · 
natematt

It's funny. With architects that means a lot different things than with other fields.

In architecture you might get that sr after 20 years.... in other fields you might get it after 5 haha. 

 · 

Block this user


Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: