What other jobs can you get with an architecture degree?


Can someone steer me to discussion threads about this matter? Im sure there are many discussions about this (just not typing in the right words?), just curious to know that if I finish this degree, what other options do I have to earn a higher paying job in the field of building design...Could you branch out towards something like Business.....say a project manager or something?? Or how about minoring in structural engineering, would that give me a boost? I just wanted some advice or read some threads about this topic.....I know architecture isnt a money maker, it has been drilled into my head before, but I just want to utilize this degree in some manner that will save me from the debt I will have put myself into because I enjoy it so much. Thanx.

Jun 14, 09 9:19 pm

ps....when I say Project management, I meant like a Real Estate Project Manager....I used to Work for Shell in Houston as a part timer, and I got the opportunity to work with some real estate project managers and the work they did was pretty interesting...except it was the business that completely alienating architecture?

Jun 14, 09 9:29 pm

I just graduated with a BA Architecture degree in London, UK...

...I'm finding it hard to get a job relating to my degree...

.. so im applying for a toilet cleaner job next week.. no joke. its a survival job. degree are so overstated damn, all iv become is another number on the debt list.

Jun 14, 09 9:56 pm

I would also like to know this. The not alot of money this is burned into my head too, and though I like architecture (so far in school anyways)
i would like to know my options, especially coming from a hard working middle class family.

Jun 15, 09 4:32 am

Graphic Design
Web Design
Set Design
Interior Design
Business Development
Landscape Development
Real Estate

Jun 15, 09 8:53 am

Circlek, I appreciate the list but at the same time feel that its not totally accurate. From my experience, those are jobs that architects think they can get, but actually represent highly specialized fields that can be difficult to enter with architecture credentials alone. It takes an extremely savvy person to move sideways like that.

Jun 15, 09 12:31 pm

i'm a year out of uni and i was able to jump into about half of that list. some career mode and some recently with freelance. you just have to position yourself as very resourceful and can bring a variety of skillsets.

i had a minor in property development which i think gave me a great advantage to understanding more aspects of the building process, as well as management and business, while still keeping my grounding in architecture.

companies like having resourceful people. check archinect's "working out of the box" feature.

Jun 15, 09 12:36 pm
Cherith Cutestory

"what other options do I have to earn a higher paying job in the field of building design"

Well to be perfectly honest, I think you would probably be best suited to look into a construction management degree and look for jobs as a General Contractor or a position with a GC company. Contractors usually get paid better than the architect (in my experience), are probably more involved with the actual architecture, i.e. the building itself) then the architect, and you depending on who you are working for, you might get to move every 3-4 years (which for some is a negative, for me a plus).

Plus every architect dreams of working with a GC who is actually interested in the architecture and not just the profit.

Jun 15, 09 12:46 pm

go the construction route and learn the trades.... work in a woodshop and build things....

once you can detail and build things on a cabinet/woodshop/carpenter level then you can look into exhibit engineering/design.

Jun 15, 09 5:26 pm

thanks guys for some helpful advice.....I have a friend who left architecture for Construction Management. I would really like to be a hands on kind of guy....and work with good contracting companies, just wasnt sure if their was a sort of in between kind of career, where I could utilize both of these talents.

Jun 16, 09 4:10 pm

Most of the "lunch and learns" my firm and previous two firms hosted were conducted by people who have experience in architecture along with and educational background in architecture. They always seem to do very well.

Another thing is I've seen a lot of clients who had degrees in architecture but had since become developers.

Jun 16, 09 4:41 pm

I could emphasize project management especially since this is a varied field in itself from;
on site contract administration
building management
facilities management
project orchestration (ie. managing plant for various jobs)

- you'd be surprised how essential having an architectural degree would be for these items

notwithstanding there are other jobs/careers as well... the best part is figuring it out yourself. And I don't mean that sound cheeky

Jun 16, 09 5:12 pm

i might be interested in development
but what exactly does that consist of?

Jun 16, 09 9:41 pm

I'll hire you, don't worry ;-)

Development will depend on what you want to do. For me, I am enjoying most parts of it, from designing the building to creating the marketing materials (3D, website, graphic design).

You can do everything or just the management/development side of things and hire others. I know former architects that choose not to design the building as well.

I agree with the above comments - most architects/students think they can jump into other careers, particularly things like graphic design, and just do great. Took me a few years to get full grasp of it and web design, move my company forward, etc.

Same goes for business and development. Take the time to do it right, take the classes, read the books, study the best out there. Architecture is a great foundation, but it is not an end all.

Good luck. Get your MBA if you want my 2 cents ;-)

Jun 16, 09 10:08 pm

tour guide or escort

Jun 16, 09 11:39 pm

trace (and others) - what do you get from an MBA degree that would be useful in an architecture office? I keep hearing that it's a good thing to get, but not why. is it just the degree (piece of paper) - or is there something you can learn through MBA courses that you can't through arch school and work experience?

Jun 17, 09 10:09 am

I would also think about jobs related to green/sustainability/whatever you want to call it. many companies and gov't entitities are hiring folks to manage their environmental and sustainability efforts, or already have departments established to manage these efforts.

in many cases, these jobs require an arch degree and/or LEED experience, but can be very lucrative, especially when compared to typical arch intern salaries.

Jun 17, 09 5:35 pm

MBA is business. Every business requires business experience, whether it is architecture or whatever. You learn that and you open doors down the road, whether it be moving up in a company or starting your own company.

I am still considering going back for mine, just to fill in any gaps that the 'real' world doesn't conveniently teach you (and books don't either).

Everyone should have some business schooling. Nothing they teach in architecture school falls in this category.

Plus, should you get sick of architecture headaches, you'll have credentials to go and get a job that pays twice as much (literally). Then you can always just build your own home, which most architects will never afford, or develop, or whatever.

It is just a piece of paper, but so is the dollar bill.

Jun 18, 09 8:41 am

i know a lot of architects say they can do real estate, but do we honestly believe that...? how many really know how to run the financial analysis and deal with banks and raise equity?

Jun 18, 09 11:30 pm

you can do whatever you want as an architect, and more.

whatever you do, try not to accumulate too much debt and always live within your means...

and don't be "cheap".

Jun 19, 09 11:14 am

I am thinking about going into real estate development. I figured it is the closest thing to architecture, and you get to control many aspects of the project that you as an architect typically don't - such as location, height, sustainbaility, architectural style (pardon the faux-pas), etc. In other words, you, as a developer, are the none who establishes the vision for the project and then works to make it happen, which is very exciting. I am looking into getting a MSRED or an MBA.
As for architecture, I still love it, but I don't see how I can combine constantly long hours and low pay with a normal family life. I want to come home for dinner and spend time with my (future) children. Don't get me wrong, i don't have a problem with staying late in the office to finish work when necessary. But in my experience, long hours have been mostly caused not by the overwhelming work load, but by the management's ineffective time management. There is always an assumption that your work hours are unlimited and your supervisers never make an effort to provide their input on time. It's always done the night before, so that then you can stay up all night and pick up their redmarks. Or come in during the weekend. For free.

Jun 23, 09 5:54 pm

you, as a developer, are the ONE who establishes the vision for the project

Jun 23, 09 5:55 pm

toasterover: I have both degrees ... started with the B.Arch and took the MBA a few years later ... what trace says is true ... every business requires business knowledge ... however, taking the MBA will tend to funnel you towards "business stuff" separate and distinct from "project stuff" ... not sure that needs to happen, but is does - in my experience.

I think you should be very clear in your own mind why you want to pursue the MBA ... if it's just a safety net, I don't think you should bother ... it would be better to focus on becoming a really good architect ... however, if you want to pursue the practice management side of the business or move into real estate development at some point in the future, the MBA can be highly useful - especially when it comes to opening doors that might otherwise be closed to a "mere" architect.

I will say that most of what you really need to know about practice management can be learned on the job if you will keep your ears and eyes open, attend appropriate aia conferences, read appropriate newsletters and books, and seek out a mentor with practice management skills. Most of what you will learn in MBA programs will be overkill for all but the very largest of design firms ...

In fact, because most MBA programs are designed to prepare individuals for careers in large organizations, much of what you may learn there can be dangerous in a <20 person firm, unless you know how to distill that knowledge and tailor it to the smaller environment

I see little evidence that an MBA will provide a meaningfully higher salary in a design firm, unless you choose to specialize in practice management ...however, an MBA might help you find employment in other fields, which typically pay better than does architecture.

Jun 23, 09 6:10 pm

dynamo.. i too am curious and looking into real estate development. however i have a question. what evidence do you have that there will be more time with the family, more money etc? can anyone help answer? i am curious as too what exactly a developer's lifestyle would be in comparison to an architect's

Jun 24, 09 2:16 am

FortheloveofDRay: I spent the first ten years after MBA school in real estate development. I can speak only to my own situation, but RE requires every bit as much work and long hours as architecture. The money is better, but the work is different too - you spend way more time with numbers and leases and contracts and bankers than you may want - if you really want to design, stay in architecture.

I know way more RE people than architects who have gone bankrupt. Economic slowdowns like this affect RE as much, if not more, than architecture - their jobs are no more secure than ours. Plus, if you're a partner in a RE deal that's not performing, you probably will have personal guarantees on the debt that will keep you up at night.

It's a very different risk-reward ratio. I don't know many architects who are genuinely comfortable with that much risk.

But, that's just my personal experience and view. YMMV

Jun 24, 09 7:24 am

hmm yea i figured the hours and amount of work would be the same.
how much of red is actually design and construction rather then contracts leases etc.?

and ne examples of numbers for salaries of red's?


Jun 24, 09 4:30 pm

didn't read the whole thread, but investment banks and large consulting firms generally (think citi, accenture, etc) hire anyone with proven brains.

Jun 26, 09 1:28 pm

any other information or postings?

Jul 3, 09 2:36 am

Owner’s project manager or stripper, but you don't need a degree for that...

Jul 3, 09 2:42 am

Do your homework.

Every profession requires specialized skills.

Don't underestimate the time it takes to learn these skills - having a degree in architecture will certainly help, but no one will hire you if you are competent.

Look closely at salaries and what work you are interested in. Every profession has its pros/cons.

Look for unique opportunities (for example, an advanced Flash programmer can easily make well past 100k - that would take a few years to reach that level, no formal school needed. Same goes for motion graphics, if you have skills and talent can get up there, no formal school needed (these are the tops, though). Business, with MBA's will start above this but you may end up working for Clorox, and that may be ok).

Do your homework.

Jul 3, 09 8:31 am

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