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How to Become a Junior Architect/Designer

If you have a passion for creating and constructing, then becoming a junior architect/designer could provide you with exciting work. Junior architect/designers work with architects and lead designers to assist with various projects. It is important for people interested in this role to have an architectural background and experience with designing software such as AutoCAD and SketchUp.

Junior architect/designers will be found working alongside architects and engineers to assist them in the coordination and execution of architectural projects. Some of their main responsibilities include drawing up various sketches and designs, planning and designing buildings, and filling out required paperwork for specific projects to move forward. Junior architect/designers will need strong interpersonal and time-management skills to work effectively with their teams in order to complete projects on time.

This job opportunity is incredibly rewarding for anyone looking to enter the architectural field. A position as a junior architect/designer will help you learn how to effectively plan and execute building plans in a way that will make clients happy. Junior architect/designers who continuously add value to their team and projects will have the opportunity to be promoted to higher leadership roles such as senior partner or architect.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is searching diligently for a skilled junior architect/designer. We are in need of an ambitious and hard-working architect who is passionate about furthering their career. As a junior architect, you will be responsible for providing bids on potential builds, drawing and designing structures, communicating with customers to assess requirements on structures to be built, and many other duties to learn and grow into senior architects. It is important that you have strong organizational, analytical, verbal and written communication, mathematical, and technical skills. This will be a very rewarding and valuable position to jump-start your career in architecture and design. If you are excited about a career in architecture and willing to work hard for success, then we may be a perfect fit!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Work with architects on various projects
  • Help plan and design buildings
  • Work on design drawings
  • Assist in reviewing project proposals and specs
  • Compile required paperwork and documents for projects
  • Coordinate details of architectural projects

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in architecture, ideally with an internship or previous experience

Required skills and qualifications

  • Proficient in AutoCAD, SketchUp, and related software
  • Experience producing construction documents
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal, and time-management skills
  • Design and problem-solving skills as well as an appreciation of, and sensitivity to, architectural design intent
  • Ability to work with minimal supervision
  • Expertise in Microsoft Office Suite

Preferred qualifications

  • Master’s degree in architecture 
  • 3+ years of experience
  • Certifications applicable to this position

Typical work environment

Junior architects/designers typically spend a good portion of their time in an office environment for meetings with clients and drawing up designs and reports. They work alongside other architects and engineers, therefore in close proximity to them. When they are not in the office, they are making construction site visits to make sure everything is up to par.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a junior architect/designer are from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, with after-hours and weekend hours as needed. 

Available certifications

For those looking to become a junior architect/designer, there are multiple certifications available to help set them apart from the rest of the crowd. Here are a few of the most popular ones:

  • Certified Urban Designer (CUD) – This certification recognizes overall knowledge relating to your experience and design principles. This certificate is popular among junior architects. Renewal is required every 2 years.
  • Certified Interior Designer (NCIDQ) – Obtaining this certification signifies that you have met the requirements and proficiency correlated to interior design. The NCIDQ will also educates you on public health protection, safety, and wealth. Renewal is required every year.
  • LEED AP Building Design & Construction (LEED) – This certification tests your knowledge and skills on the LEED system; green building. This is geared towards people who are working on green buildings. Renewal is required every two years.
  • Certified Agile Developer (CAD) – This certification can help you gain a better understanding on key principles of agile software, how to make process improvements, and receive experience through performing every role. This is popular amongst design architects and architectural designers. This certification does not require renewal, which is a plus.

Career path

Oftentimes, a new architect will begin at the junior architect/designer level. Through outstanding work, this fledgling architect can advance to mid-level and senior architect. All architects need to earn a license from the licensing board of the state where they plan to practice. Other ways to stand out in the architecture field include further schooling beyond a bachelor’s degree and passing the Architect Registration Examination®, created to assess knowledge and skills in the practice of architecture. 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 17-1011

2020 Employment126,700
Projected Employment in 2030130,700
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 3% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift3,900 increase

With a large number of students graduating with degrees in architecture, stiff competition for internships and jobs in the field are expected.