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Architectural Design Technician


So we all know about architects. They are the people who design and supervise the construction of buildings, additions and bridges. So then what's the role of these architectural design technicians?

When it comes to designing a house, architects are the ones who get to make the decisions. They come up with the creative ideas about shape, color, texture, and light. But it is the architectural design technicians who take those ideas, produce the drawings and blueprints, and figure out ways to make the architect's dream home become reality. Architects focus on design questions. Architectural design technicians focus on the technical questions. They make sure things don't fall apart when the wind blows.

These technicians have a few main functions. They make drawings and blueprints for the architects, often with complicated computer software. This includes more than just drawing and fiddling around with a mouse and a key pad, however. These assistants must do research into building codes and by-laws. They are the ones who make the models of the designs and the people who check the feasibility of the suggested materials and shapes.

They will also spend some time on site, supervising the technical aspects of the construction. They can oversee the work of the drafters, meet with the construction workers, plumbers, and test electrical installations. They may inspect steel framework, concrete forms, sewer systems and pipelines. If they work as the head technician, they may also supervise other technicians.

Architectural design technicians work under the watchful eye of licensed architects. They help build homes, bridges, dams, factories and office buildings. They are the people who put those dreams and ideals of clients and architects into being. Without architectural design technicians, we might have a whole lot of people living, working and playing outdoors, with no shelter, but with a whole lot of unrealized architectural dreams.
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  Average Earnings  
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  Interests and Skills  
Architectural design technicians are extremely creative, including have the ability to visualize three-dimensional structures and the ability to draw. They need good math and science skills as well as, an interest in engineering, and construction. They must also be comfortable with computer-design programs. Architectural design technicians need to be organized, detail oriented and able to follow instructions. It is also important that they have good people skills.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Create design plans for clients, including drawings, computer images and models
  • Draw blueprints for construction crews
  • Estimate costs
  • Research by-laws and building codes
  • Supervise construction, making sure the site is safe and the building is following the design
  • The architectural design technician may be working on a number of plans at once, so might research by-laws, draw some sketches and visit a construction site, all in the same day. Architectural design technicians spend most of their time at work indoors; however they will spend time outdoors when visiting the construction site. An architectural design technicians who works with a well-respected architecture firm will get to travel if their clients live in other cities, or are establishing a chain of businesses throughout the country.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Architectural design technicians usually work for architectural or engineering firms. They can also work for government agencies, corporations, or real estate and development companies. Their hours vary. Some days may be regular, but when major projects are underway, technicians may be at the office and on site for long hours, with fewer days off.
  • Architectural design technicians work in offices, where they draw, use computers, and meet with architects and other technicians. They will also work on construction sites, which are dangerous enough to warrant hard hats and steel-toed boots.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Architectural design technicians with enough experience can become supervisors of a team of technicians. They can always go back to school, and become fully recognized architects, or they may leave architecture altogether and get into real estate, graphic design, desktop publishing, building inspection or building maintenance.

  Educational Paths  
Architectural design technicians are required to complete a one-to-three year program at a college, specializing in architectural design technology.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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