Do you have a talent for math and physics? Does a job integrating the design of technical and aesthetic elements of a building sound interesting to you? If so, you could pursue training and education to become an architectural engineer. Keep reading to learn more.
An architectural engineer must understand and master the principles of the mechanical, functional, structural and aesthetic elements of building design. If you pursue a degree in this field, you need to be able to solve problems mathematically and design complex systems that meet health, safety, environmental and economic standards.
As an architectural engineer, you could work in firms that design heating, cooling, structural and electrical systems for industrial, commercial and public facilities. Some architectural engineers work in specialty firms that focus on the design of only one of the building systems. You could also become a facilities manager, construction manager or consultant.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have wage information for the specialty of architectural engineering (www.bls.gov). However, the BLS reported that the median annual income for all types of engineers in May 2010 was $90,270. While projected employment growth was not given for architectural engineers, the growth for civil engineers, which is a similar occupation, was expected to grow by 24% from 2008 to 2018, the BLS noted.
To become an architectural engineer, you need to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering. These programs are often rigorous and require you to pass courses in geometry, calculus, chemistry, building construction, lighting system design and statistics, as well as many other math and science classes. You could also further your education with a master's degree in architectural engineering or a doctoral degree in engineering.
According to the BLS, all engineers who work directly with the public must be licensed in every state. This requires approximately four years of work experience beyond college. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (www.ncees.org) is a nonprofit group that administers and scores the licensing examination in the United States.