How to become an architectural engineer (with job list)

Updated 16 August 2023

You can explore a job as an architectural engineer if you're interested in science, maths and building processes. Rather than creating a structure, architectural engineers create the mechanical and structural systems that keep the structure running. If you're interested in architecture, learning the role's requirements can help you decide if it's the right job for you. In this article, we explain what an architectural engineer is, outline how to become an architectural engineer and list architectural engineering jobs.

What is an architectural engineer?

Before exploring how to become an architectural engineer, it's necessary to understand the profession's duties first. An architectural engineer ensures the safe construction and maintenance of structures. They frequently collaborate with architects and construction firms to supervise the planning and execution of construction projects. An architectural engineer can work on new constructions and renovations to existing structures. Other responsibilities of an architectural engineer may include:

  • helping architects with the design process

  • examining plans and design sketches to identify and address potential safety hazards before construction begins

  • analysing architectural concepts for difficulties that relate to quality of life, such as a building with inadequate HVAC ducts or a home near a busy road with insufficient soundproofing

  • determining the structural integrity of a proposed or ongoing construction project to ensure the structure is safe

  • working with architects, civil engineers or construction workers during construction to provide solutions to structural problems

  • understanding all government compliance regulations and ensuring that initiatives adhere to the established standards and norms

Related: Engineer requirements, plus degrees, certificates and skills

How to become an architectural engineer

The following steps outline how to become an architectural engineer:

1. Earn a college degree

This is a vocation that demands highly specialised knowledge to be successful and to assure public safety. Therefore, employers typically expect an architectural engineer to have attended college or university and obtained a suitable bachelor's degree, such as civil engineering. Additional studies may be beneficial in improving work prospects, yet most entry-level architectural engineer jobs require only a bachelor's degree.

2. Gain work experience

Working as an architectural engineering intern or part-time employee may be possible while you're completing your degree programme. Getting professional job experience can help you learn more about architectural engineering. It can give you a clear image of an architectural engineer's responsibilities and duties, in addition to extending your knowledge base and boosting your manual and computer-aided drafting skills.

Related: What does an architectural technician do? Including salary

3. Join a professional group

By joining the Royal Institute of British Architects, you may be able to network with other architectural engineers. You can also become an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologies by taking their examination. With these memberships, you may maintain industry trends, developments, innovations and laws.

Related: How to become a structural engineer

4. Apply as an architectural engineer

When applying for a job, aim for reasonable listings. Unless the job posting states otherwise, include a CV and cover letter. Your CV and cover letter can greatly impact your chances in a competitive market because they're the first thing a potential employer sees from you. Your CV can emphasise relevant education, work experience and skills for an architectural engineer. By sending the same CV to each job posting, you may be able to apply to a larger number of positions more rapidly, whereas customising it for each job can improve your chances of employers hiring you.

When modifying your CV for a specific job, you may wish to make a note of any skills or traits that the job posting emphasises and highlight those attributes as much as possible. Use your cover letter to make an initial pitch for why the job appeals to you and why you believe you can do well if you obtain the position. Try to draw attention to areas that the potential employer thought were essential enough to mention directly in the job posting.

Skills for architectural engineers to develop

When you apply for a job as an architectural engineer, potential employers look at your skills. An architectural engineer typically requires both hard and soft skills to do their job well. Here are some examples of these skills:

  • Education: A prospective architectural engineer might receive a degree in architectural engineering or a similar field, during which they can take a number of technical courses, such as architecture and construction. Even though not all jobs in architectural engineering require further education, some companies may want or even require a master's degree.

  • Maths: An architectural engineer's job frequently requires them to solve complicated maths calculations. It's critical for the engineer to comprehend and correctly conduct calculating procedures to complete these jobs appropriately.

  • Physics: Architectural engineers usually have a thorough understanding of physics, as they're responsible for assessing the structural integrity of construction projects. This enables the engineer to evaluate forces and how they can affect a structure, ensuring that the design is strong enough.

  • Architectural design: An architectural engineer frequently works alongside an architect and evaluates the latter's blueprints. A foundation of architectural knowledge is necessary when altering a design individually or suggesting adjustments to an existing design.

  • Communication: During a project, architectural engineers communicate with a variety of people. Whether discussing ideas with an architect or visiting a construction site to speak with the construction crew, the architectural engineer ought to be able to communicate clearly and in simple words.

  • Teamwork: It's critical that the architectural engineer not only communicates well with others but also collaborates with them. Individuals who are skilled at resolving conflicts and collaborating with others to utilise each other's strengths can have a significant impact on the progress of a project.

  • Versatility: On a typical day, an architectural engineer may spend a few hours working in an office, talking on the phone and visiting construction sites. To perform at their best, the engineer is able to operate in a range of situations and with a variety of teammates.

  • Attention to detail: When establishing plans and ensuring their effective execution, it's critical to analyse every detail, as even minor deviations can have significant consequences for a structure. A skilled architectural engineer's ability to observe every detail is a crucial skill.

Related: Architect vs. engineer (with definitions and key differences)

Architectural engineering jobs

Within the field of architectural engineering, there are various distinct types of occupations to choose from. The following is a list of some of the most common architectural engineering occupations:

1. Computer-aided design (CAD) drafter

National average salary: £29,390 per year

Primary duties: CAD drafters turn architects' and engineers' blueprints into construction-specific technical drawings. These specialists create product and building schematics using CAD software. They may use building information modelling tools to incorporate the designs into the construction process.

Related: How to become a CAD engineer (plus duties and skills)

2. Engineering technician

National average salary: £26,154 per year

Primary duties: A specialist in engineering collaborates with other engineers to develop, produce and test a variety of efficient systems. They may also do repairs on existing equipment. Engineering technicians adhere to system and engineering record standards.

Related: What is the average engineering salary in the UK?

3. Production supervisor

National average salary: £28,480 per year

Primary duties: In industrial settings, production supervisors direct and oversee manufacturing operations. They're responsible for creating production goals, organising procedures and employee training. The aim is to improve manufacturing processes so that the company can make high-quality products with fewer costs.

4. Mechanical designer

National average salary: £37,988 per year

Primary duties: Mechanical designers develop models, machinery and other products using CAD software. Depending on client requirements, they may generate 2D or 3D technical drawings that include dimensions and material data for building purposes. They seek ways to improve production systems and procedures.

5. Electrical engineer

National average salary: £36,382 per year

Primary duties: They design and build electrical machinery, models and systems for a number of industries. An electrical engineer may work to improve current electrical products or to develop new technologies. Engineers typically build electrical prototypes using computer technologies.

6. Structural engineer

National average salary: £38,485 per year

Primary duties: A structural engineer's main goal is to ensure that an architectural project's structure is stable. Structural engineers review and analyse construction blueprints to achieve this purpose, then make revisions to comply with regulations and safety policies. These engineers may also attempt to design structures that are both attractive and cost-effective.

Related: What is a structural engineer? (Qualifications and salaries)

7. Civil engineer

National average salary: £36,127 per year

Primary duties: Civil engineers plan, design and develop infrastructures, such as roads, bridges, dams, canals and seaports. They might be in charge of overseeing a construction project or doing maintenance on existing structures. They frequently collaborate with plumbing, water system, sanitary, electrical, architectural, interior design and consulting firms.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.


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