Architectural Engineering

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Architectural engineers are responsile for the building planning, design, and construction. This usually means essentials like the plumbing, lighting, etc. as well as construction management. It is common to confuse architecture with architectural engineering but the two are very distinct. Architects takes care of the design, while engineers in the same field apply the science of engineering and construction to make sure the design meets the safety standards. However, these definitions changes by location as well. For example, in countries like Japan and some European countries, the two professions are blended together and the architect is also responsible for the engineering part of the building construction. Thus, students graduating from architect school receive an engineering degree.

Salary and Outlook

The national average yearly wage for an architectural engineer in the US is around $77,000 a year. The highest annual salary can be $130,000 with the lowest being $11,000 but that is extremely rare. The common range any architectural engineer can expect to fall in to is from $57,500 to $90,000. With enough experience and additional education, one may reach a Senior Architecture engineer position which will very likely bring the employed to the upper margin of the average salary.

There is a very small percentage of engineers in this profession with a salary lower than the average but the same goes for more than average. Even with years of experience, it is very difficult to find a better paying position in architectural engineering jobs.

The BLS predicts a 6% rise in the employment of civil engineers from 2018 to 2028 and architectural engineers make a part of this category. Another fact to be taken into consideration is that during economic downturns, architectural engineers are less needed.

Job Responsibilities

Architectural engineers should be able to clearly communicate in both verbal and written format, work independently and also as a part of a team when a project requires. Finally, most companies also ask for a passion for building and improving buildings.

The responsibilities of an architectural engineer can vary depending on the position, the company, and even years of experience. However, the following duites are typical a part of the job:

  • On-site quality control inspections and field testing of building assemblies
  • Assisting in the project plan development.
  • Coordinating other services like design professionals and contractors.
  • Analyzing sketches and blueprints for environmental and safety issues.
  • Act as consultants in firms that specialize in a specific part of construction.

Sometimes, an architectural engineer my find a structural issue and they will have to find solutions while consulting architects and other civil engineers.

Higher responsibility positions like senior engineers will bring different types of tasks to the table. Developing and refining of used software, setting technical strategy, evaluating customer and operational needs and other duties suited for someone with adequate experience and knowledge.

In general, where an architect will be responsible for aesthetics and layout, an architectural engineer will focus more on the structure and stability of the building. In other words, all the important features that are not visible to a naked eye, or on the first glance but make sure that the building is safe.

Besides architects, architectural engineers work with construction managers. The manager have some similarities to the engineer's job as they are also there supervising throughout the project. Anoither related profession is that of a landscape architects. These professionals are involved in planning outdoor spaces such as parks.


Architectural engineers may specialize while still attending college. Since this is a multi-discipline profession, you may choose specific fields to study and later work in.

For example, some colleges will offer specialization like "mechanical system for buildings," a course designed to help students understanding building environment, HVAC, and efficiency when it comes to energy, along with automation and controls, indoor air quality, LEED buildings, etc. Another specialization such as "structural systems for buildings" helps students learn more about structural design and safety, and may include concrete and steel building design, structural building loads, and integration of structural design with other building systems.

Finally, with so many disciplines that make up an architectural engineer, one can specialize in one of them with additional education and more experience in a specific field, which can lead to better positions in the future.

Job Requirements

If you want to work as an architectural engineer, after graduating high school, you should look to enter a bachelor’s degree program in architectural engineering approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Another option would be to get a degree in civil engineering and then find working experience in construction, architecture, building science or another related field.

An important architectural engineering job requirement is experience with software. You should be proficient in AutoCAD, MS Office, InFocus, and also programs like Adobe DC, BlueBeam, etc.


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