Other Careers with an Architecture Degree


If you haven't read my last entry Arch-stressed, I'm currently studying a Bachelors Degree of Architectural Science @ Ryerson. However, i dropped out of studio since i was overtly stressed out.

I'm starting to consider other careers, but i personally do not want to quit my degree since i'm in my third year and all that time and money spent - i just don't want it to be in vain. I still have the option to get into Building Science or Project Management as a major.

I have a prof that has an MBA along with a M.Arch and he suggested to us that if it's hard getting a design job in a firm, alot of architecture firms look for people with a business background to guide in management and operation of the firm.

I was just curious if you guys know people that still did a bachelors degree in architecture but then switched career paths at the masters, or found fulfilling careers related to architecture, but not design practice per say. I personally feel that an architectural education is valuable since its very multidisciplinary. I love the courses i'm taking since it looks at architecture through various lenses. Part of me feels like looking into business, graphic design, interior design, or architectural writing....but i do not know how to branch to it.

i'm just wondering if people have found an architectural education very helpful in the non-arch careers they are in.

Mar 12, 09 2:27 pm

Def. in the same position. I'm currently in a 4 yr architectural technology undergrad with hopes of getting a construction management minor. I could go for a 5 yr b.arch if i get in but im debating whether i should.

now for me its not so much that i dont like design, its more about the status of the traditional architect career. i come from a family who needs to work hard for what they get, and im hoping all of this hard work can pay off.

thus my confusion with the traditional Architect career.
what other careers are available for those who are looking at
branching out?

Mar 13, 09 3:13 am

It is interesting that as students you are already thinking of branching out.
I have over 30 years of experience in the profession, mostly spent working in commercial practices , and I am one of many victim of the "credit crunch" in other words, I am unemployed. I have started thinking of moving away from the profession, and look for alternative way of earning a living, using my experience.I have applied for jobs as planning officer, design officer, project manager, maintenance manager and I will try more . Nothing is coming this way.It seems to me that more and more the requirement is for specialized professional who know everything of one type of building (school,s airports, railway stations hospitals and so on) or subject and nobody is prepared to invest in someone who knows about architecture and construction of buildings in general. So my advise is , in the current climate , get a qualification that allow you be "unique" or near enough in you sector.

Mar 13, 09 4:58 am

*request to de-rail thread*

I too am trying to figure out what to do with 2 architecture degrees. I graduated 9 months ago, and have not been able to get a job in my field of training... which isn't so bad for me, as I don't paticularly like sitting in front of a computer all day (and night).

but... if it is quite some time before architecture rebounds, what do we do in the meantime? I too had the impression (while in school) that my education was rigourous and relativly broad, and thought it would be respected in other fields, but I haven't found that to be true so far.


what are other careers for someone with an architecture degree.

most of the 'adjacent' careers (intieriors, landscape) seem to also be suffering a bit right now, and might even catch up with architecture.

blech... Im worried.

Mar 13, 09 5:29 am

sorry- I left a question mark out of that ever-important sentence ;-)

Mar 13, 09 5:30 am

Other professions will respect your arch degrees, but you still must be able to perform all the tasks that your competing job seekers have. Arch will just help you seal the deal.

I thought people would have more 'faith' in my abilities and give a little slack knowing I'd get up to speed quickly. I had 75% of the skills (3D, graphics, design) needed to get into web or mograph (a few designs of my own, but not a complete portfolio). But that's just not the case.

If you want to switch professions, do your homework and assume you'll need a solid portfolio, on top of the arch portfolio.

I'd suggest everyone try a search and look through other threads, this is an ongoing topic and many have more detailed suggestions.

Good luck, economy sucks *ss for everyone.

Mar 13, 09 9:10 am
chicago, ill

I can count on one hand the number of Arch/MBA employees at architectural firms here in Chicago. I can think of one instance where an MBA was hired w/o an architecture background or degree. It is not a prerequisite to have an MBA to be a senior-management/principal responsible for project management and/or firm management. Most have a BArch, may be a MArch.

On the other hand, most major Chicago construction firms and project management/owner's rep consultant firms do have employees with construction management or architecture degrees. Only a handful of people get promoted from the trades to construction management positions, and their older, so this practice is less likely yet.

Chicago's real estate development firms often are headed by an entrpreneurial older principal w/perhaps an MBA background,but not necessarily. Some principals were originally commercial real estate brokers. RE development firms hire people with architecture, business, and/or construction management degrees as project managers. Some firms prefer BArch/MBA backgrounds, mostly because they could demand that educational background given the number of applicants. However, developers are now stymied. Some are hoping for the Olympics selection.

Chicago real estate markets are glutted with excess product right now, slowing all sectors down dramatically.

Mar 13, 09 9:30 am
Dr. Architecture

Below is a list that I have compiled over the years. Individuals with an architecture degree are only limited by their own creativity and imagination.

The Careers of an Architect
Traditional Firm
Project Architect
Staff Architect
Senior Designer
Junior Designer
Model maker

Other Employment Settings
Architectural Illustrator
Corporate Architect
Facilities Architect
Public Architect
University Architect

Architectural Education
Architectural Historian
Academic Dean / Administrator

Art and Design
Architectural photographer
Art / Creative Director
Clothing designer
Exhibit Designer
Furniture Designer
Graphic Artist/Designer
Industrial / Product Designer
Interior designer
Landscape architect
Lighting Designer
Museum Curator
Set designer
Toy Designer
Web Designer

Science and Technical
Building Pathologist
Civil Engineer
Computer System Analyst
Construction / Building Inspector
Illuminating Engineer
Marine Architect
Structural Engineer

Construction Manager
Construction Software Designer
Fire Protection Designer
Land Surveyor
Project Manager
Real Estate Developer

Related Professional
Architectural Critic
City Manager
Environmental Planner
Golf Course Architect
Product Manufacturer Representative
Property Assessor
Public Official
Real Estate Agent
Urban Planner

Mar 22, 09 6:44 pm

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