Architectural Engineer: Career Definition, Job Outlook, and Education Requirements
Would you like to apply principles of general engineering and structural design to the planning and construction of buildings? You may want to become an architectural engineer. Read on to learn more about this job and how to enter the field. Schools offering AutoCAD Drafting & Design Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Does an Architectural Engineer Do?
Architectural engineering is a multifaceted discipline exploring how the construction, design and operation of a building come together. Engineers focus in many areas; lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, sustainability and fire protection are just some possibilities. Unlike architects that typically incorporate aesthetic and layout concerns, architectural engineers focus more on structure and stability.
As an architectural engineer, you work with architects to make sure the plan is structurally feasible by applying engineering knowledge and techniques. You must be familiar with electrical and mechanical systems as well as the impact of regular use and natural forces. A large part of your job is to ensure the building remains functional and safe. You may work on new construction projects or renovations to existing buildings.
What Is the Employment Outlook?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a 24% increase in employment of civil engineers, which include architectural engineers, for the 2008-2018 decade (www.bls.gov). This growth should be spurred by population increases and the need to improve existing structures. However, the BLS also notes that construction and architectural job opportunities can slow during economic downturns. According to the BLS, civil engineers working in architectural, engineering and related services earned an average of $83,320 in 2010.
What Education Will I Need?
To become an architectural engineer, you need to earn at least a bachelor's degree in architectural engineering or civil engineering; your degree program needs to be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). You can expect to take courses in areas such as engineering physics, mechanics of fluids, computer-aided design (CAD), thermodynamics, materials processing and other technical electives.
Master's degrees and doctoral degrees are also available in architectural engineering. The BLS reports that you could need a graduate-level degree for roles in research or development.
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