Careers with an Architecture Degree


A degree in architecture is primarily meant to prepare you for the challenges and rigorous demands of a career in the field. As a result of classroom study and practical work, you will be well prepared, although not necessarily licensed, for a future in this field.


The skills and knowledge you can acquire as a student will also allow you to pursue a variety of careers that aren’t related to architecture, if you so choose.


This is especially true for you if you have studied and gained knowledge in other areas in parallel with architecture, such as business, history, interior design or fine arts.


This career guide serves to opens doors for you that you may not have known were there. It will show you what skills an education in this field teaches you, and what careers you can pursue with those skills. We’ve even thrown in some relevant scholarships to help you pay for school!



What is Architecture?  

As a professional field, architecture involves the creative design of new buildings at the forefronts of culture, technology, and the environment. As an academic discipline, it is the study of the history and design surrounding these buildings, including contemporary theories and concepts.





What Do You Learn in an Architecture Program?

Most programs focus their coursework on architectural design, with complimentary coursework in architectural history, theory, building technology and professional practice.


However, these programs can vary widely in focus. Some may include elective courses from other fields of study, such as economics, business, fine arts, history, interior design and others.


Some schools may also allow you to pursue a double major in architecture and one of the aforementioned fields. Other programs may focus exclusively on architectural ideas, concepts and techniques.



Method of Instruction

Degree programs in Canada and the United States use a combination of lectures, seminars, studio-based project work and practicum placements to instill the skills and knowledge (such as the ability to create architectural designs) you will need to become competent professionals in future architecture careers.


Project work typically involves a great deal of hands-on work, such as woodworking, construction lab work as well as drawing and model-making, both by hand and by using computer aided design (CAD) programs and software.


Throughout the final years of architecture degree programs, you must typically develop a comprehensive architectural proposal that demonstrates the full range of your skills, competencies and knowledge. This proposal may be required for the completion of your degree.



Will This Prepare Me for a Career?

Short answer is, it depends on the program. Those that provide you with a thorough education in architectural coursework and techniques enable you to become well prepared for careers in the field upon graduation.


Programs that allow you to explore other academic fields are designed to encourage you to complete a basic education in architecture, while simultaneously developing skills and knowledge relating to your own interests and professional ambitions, which may even involve a career outside of the field.



Employable Skills You'll Gain

Design is the core of architectural study. However, the coursework also draws on a variety of other areas, such as the sciences, humanities as well as fine and applied arts. As a result of this unique combination, an architecture program can provide you with many highly employable and versatile skills, including:


• The ability to make precise calculations regarding the stability of buildings

• The ability to effectively communicate with clients regarding their specific needs and wants for building projects

• Proficiency with the use of various computer aided design (CAD) software

• The ability to create and interpret planning documents, such as blueprints

• The ability to effectively communicate architectural designs and ideas and facts using different forms of communication, such as graphs and charts

• The ability to work in an interdisciplinary environment and collaborate with professionals from different fields, such as real estate developers and engineers

• The ability to produce designs that demonstrate the integrative relationship of structure, building materials and elements of construction, and the relationship between climate, service systems and energy supply

• The ability to conceive architectural designs on a specific site in the context of urban planning





Career Guides Directly Relevant to an Architecture Degree 

By providing you with a set of highly employable skills, a degree in architecture serves as excellent preparation for almost every type of career. However, this degree is especially well suited for the careers listed below:


Please Note: Some of the careers listed below require a graduate or professional degree, additional training and/or experience. Click on careers that are of interest to you to find out more about the specific requirements.



Architectural Illustrator

Architectural Technologist


Building Inspector

Community Planner

Construction Manager

Cost Estimator

Drafting Technician


Historic Preservationist

• Industrial Designer

International Aid Worker

Parks Planner

Project Manager

Real Estate Developer

Restoration Architect

Site Manager

Sustainable Housing Policy Associate

Urban Planning Technician

Zoning Inspector 



Skills Gained From a Double Major

Some Architecture programs may also allow you to pursue a double major, combining architecture with fields such as business, history, fine arts or urban planning.


If you choose a double major, you'll have the opportunity to gain skills and knowledge in these areas, and explore a wide variety of careers options outside of architecture and bring the design skills of architecture programs to your chosen career. 



Career Preparations You Can Make in High School

If you’re a high school student who’s interested in a career in architecture, it’s recommended that you take certain courses in order to get a head start on building a well-rounded academic foundation.


Consider pursuing coursework in art, music, mathematics, history, social studies, literature, and any available drafting courses. To develop skills for studio work, courses in freehand drawing, craft using materials, and design can be very advantageous.






Salary You Could Earn

The salary you could earn varies based on a wide variety of factors, such as:
• The type, size, budget and discretion of your employer
• Your level of education, such as if you have a graduate degree
• Your level of certification (if applicable)
• The region in which you work 
• How much overtime you’re able to work (if applicable)
• The amount of responsibility inherent in your position
• Your employment structure (such as self-employed, full-time, part-time, casual, etc.)
• Your level of experience (it’s worth noting that people with several years worth of experience can often earn substantially more in their profession than what’s listed below)
It’s important to note that the amount you could earn is more dependent on the specific occupational field you pursue, versus the single merit of having earned a degree. Below is an overview of the average earnings of people in a few career fields that are directly or indirectly relevant to a degree in this field.


Please note however, that some careers may require additional education and training, and the salary information listed below for all of these careers is meant only to serve as a guideline. In many cases, workers in these fields can earn a much lower, or much higher salary, than what is listed below! 

Alberta: $80,216 (ALIS)
Canada: $92,317 (indeed)
United States: $78,470 (BLS)


Architectural Illustrator
See “Architectural Technologist”


Architectural Technologist
Alberta: $65,753 (ALIS)
Canada: $49,84 (PayScale)
United States: $46,655 (indeed)


Alberta: N/A
Canada: N/A
United States: $36,580 (indeed)


Building Inspector
Alberta: $82,141 (ALIS)
Canada: $61,042 (PayScale)
United States: $59,090 (BLS)


Community Planner
Alberta: $96,293 (ALIS)
Canada: $86,800 (indeed)
United States: $71,490 (BLS)


Construction Manager
Alberta: $108,009 (ALIS)
Canada: $106,084 (indeed)
United States: $101,000 (BLS)


Cost Estimator
Alberta: $75,167 (ALIS)
Canada: $65,260 (indeed)
United States: $63,110 (BLS)


Drafting Technician
Alberta: $68,099 (ALIS)
Canada: $46,860 (indeed)
United States: $54,170 (BLS)


Industrial Designer
Alberta: $69,264 (ALIS)
Canada: $55,709 (indeed)
United States: $65,970 (BLS)


Parks Planner
See “Community Planner”


Project Manager
Alberta: $108,009 (ALIS)
Canada: $79,757 (indeed)
United States: $67,280 (BLS)


Real Estate Developer
Alberta: N/A
Canada: $81,703 (PayScale)
United States: N/A


Restoration Architect
See “Architect”


Site Manager
See “Construction Manager"


Urban Planning Technician
See “Drafting Technician”


Zoning Inspector 
See “Building Inspector"
The name in brackets next to the salary data for each region is the sources from which the data was obtained. Please note, the salary data that is sourced from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) represents median salary figures, rather than average salary figures, unless otherwise stated.



Salary Reference Information

Below is an overview of the references that we've used to compile the average salary figures listed above, as well as links to explanations of the methodologies these organizations use to obtain their salary data.


ALIS: Alberta Learning and Information Service (, sponsored by the Government of Alberta. For an overview of their salary survey methodology, please visit here.

PayScale: Private organization owned by PayScale Incorporated ( For an overview of their salary survey methodology, please visit here.

BLS: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (, sponsored by the federal government of the United States of America. For details regarding their salary survey methodology, please visit here.

Glassdoor: Glassdoor is a private organization owned by Glassdoor incorporated ( For an overview of their salary survey methodology, please visit here.



Internships: Gaining Career Experience as a Student

An internship (also known as a practicum, field placement, or co-op opportunity) is a great way to gain work experience in a career field while you're still completing your degree. An internship allows you to work as an intern in a position best suited for your career goals and interests.


Typically, an internship involves working in an architectural office and assisting with assorted aspects of building design, such as drawing, model-making, computer drafting, construction supervision, meeting with clients and other duties.


These programs may or may not count towards credit for your course credits, depending on the arrangement between yourself, your school and the employer. Whether or not they are mandatory, these opportunities are highly recommended as they have many benefits, including:


• Meeting professionals who are established in various careers

• Getting your foot in the door with an employer

• Finding out what working in the field is actually like

• Meet academic requirements

• May supplement your income


Since these opportunities are often an academic requirement, you will likely have the opportunity arranged for you, or at least a variety of potential options presented to you.


If it is not a requirement, speak with your professors, other school staff and faculty, as well as your school’s guidance and career counselors to help you find a suitable opportunity.



Characteristics of a Successful Intern

Just because you’ve landed an internship, doesn’t guarantee that your future is solidified. Making a great impression is the key to success in an internship position. Below are some of the traits and characteristics of successful interns.


• Demonstrate motivation

• Seen as a ‘self-directed’ learner who knows when to ask for help

• Proper preparation for research and similar tasks

• Open minded and non-judgmental

• Respectful to co-workers and others in the building

• Demonstrate a passion for work

• Dedicated and committed work ethic



Architecture Scholarships

If you’re a student looking for help in paying for school, then you’re in luck! Our scholarships database has scholarships that are specific to your field of study, and scholarships that are open to any field of study.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.



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