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How to Become a Mid-Level Architect/Designer

Any construction project is a major undertaking and a highly collaborative one at that. You’ve got dozens, hundreds, even thousands of people tasked with entirely different jobs all working together to create one thing. Architectural design is one component of this machine and requires many different types of involvement from these professionals.

Mid-level architects and designers are the backbone force of any firm. They handle the vast majority of work and take care of reviewing plans, presenting information, and drawing up designs. 

In order to become a mid-level architect, you’ll already be expected to have several years of experience in a more junior role. Additionally, you’ll be expected to possess a license from a certified board in your state, and have strong communication and collaboration skills.

Sample job description

Are you creative? Can you make and carry out plans based on the ideas you have? If so, becoming a mid-level architect/designer could be a great and fulfilling career for you. Mid-level architects/designers are hired by firms to carry out most of their architectural work. They are primarily responsible for preparing architectural designs and developing building plans so they can eventually pass on their work to more advanced architects. Mid-level architects/designers will continue to oversee the project even when they collaborate with more advanced architects to build their work. [Your Company Name] is looking for a seasoned mid-level architect/designer that has a bachelor’s degree in architecture and has several years of architecture and design experience under their belt. If you’re passionate about this work and are eager to collaborate with others to create, then we would be delighted to have you on our team as a mid-level architect/designer.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Assist senior architects through all phases of a project, from proposal to delivery
  • Help to plan, draw, and design for project completion
  • Produce renderings, illustrations, and construction documents to support design concepts
  • Review project proposals and specs
  • Assist in directing junior architects and designers
  • Help coordinate details of architectural projects

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in architecture, and at least two years of architecture and design experience.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Proficient in AutoCAD, SketchUp, and related software applications
  • Expertise in hand drawing and designing, including color rendering
  • Excellent communications and presentation skills
  • Experience producing construction documents
  • Knowledge of physical model-making
  • Strong leadership and collaborative skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Master’s degree in architecture
  • 2+ years of experience working as a designer
  • Strong artistic skills

Typical work environment

Mid-level architects/designers are found in many industries working on a variety of different projects, including office and hospital buildings and college, retail, and restaurant projects. While the individual needs to have the specialized skills to create plans and designs around these projects, mid-level architects/designers will most likely be working with a team during these big ventures, so there are fewer errors. 

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a mid-level architect/designer are from 9 AM to 5 PM, generally in an office setting, with after-hours or weekend hours as needed. 

Available certifications

Many companies are looking for mid-level architects/designers that have taken the extra steps to learn more about their profession. Check out some of the best certifications for anyone to earn in this field:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP). This certificate is one of the most popular to earn in the architectural field. The PMP teaches its participants to become familiar with different techniques that help enhance critical decision-making skills, which is vital for any mid-level architect/designer to create and come up with effective plans regarding architectural work. PMP candidates are also taught how to better work in a team by learning how to create unity by reducing conflict and how to develop a consensus between colleagues. Becoming a project management professional is deemed valuable by many employers since the course essentially teaches you how to lead and execute projects, which is a significant part of a mid-level architect/designer’s role.
  • The Open Group Certified Architect (Open CA). The Open CA is a global certification that recognizes the advanced skills, knowledge, and experience of solution, business, enterprise, and digital architects. While this certification is difficult to earn with several evaluated projects, an experience application form, and completing the board, it will make any person highly valuable since it demonstrates your competence and your determination. Any employer would be lucky to have you on their team when you are an Open Group Certified Architect.

Career path

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. Mid-level architect/designers can earn advances and promotions to more senior levels by gaining experience and producing outstanding work.

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, there will be stiff competition for internships and jobs in the field.