“As an architect, you design for the present, with an awareness of the past, for a future which is essentially unknown.“
Norman Foster, Architect
Pros and Cons of Working as an Architect
You consider becoming an architect but are not entirely sure whether you should go this career path or rather go for different job options instead?
Great! Stick with me since I will show you all the pros and cons of being an architect in the following chapters.
Table of Contents
Architect Job Profile
|Architects plan, design and oversee private as well as commercial construction projects.
|$103,000 per year on average, most architects make between $92,000 and $124,000 per year.
|Decent since there is a shortage of good architects.
|Good if you love planning construction projects.
|Decent since you will have free weekends and also don’t work many extra hours.
|Physically / Mentally Demanding?
|Can be mentally demanding.
|Decent since good architects will always be needed.
|You need a college degree for becoming an architect.
Advantages of Working as an Architect
- Architects can make decent money
- You can work for many different clients
- Good architects have decent job prospects
- You may be able to travel the world
- Architects don’t work many extra hours
- You have free weekends and holidays
- Architects have decent work-life balance
- You can start your own architecture company
- Healthy mix between office work and hands-on work
- Architects can work indoors most of the time
- You can be creative as an architect
- Architects don’t have to do heavy physical work
- Working as an architect can be interesting
- Can help you for your own life
- You can help out your family and friends
- Teleworking may be possible
Architects can make decent money
One advantage of being an architect is that you can make serious money from what you are doing.
Even as a beginner, you will be able to earn close to six figures and the longer you work in this field and the more knowledge you acquire, you can make lots of money and afford a fancy lifestyle.
Not only will you be able to afford a nice car and a nice home, but you will also not have to worry about money that much in various aspects of life.
You will also be able to afford proper health insurance which can help you finance expensive medical treatment in case you need it.
Moreover, you will also be able to save and invest lots of money for retirement.
Consequently, while welders and many other people out there struggle with old-age poverty, you will be the one who will not have to deal with these issues, at least if you don’t overspend and invest your money wisely.
As you can see, becoming an architect can definitely make sense when it comes to the monetary perspective and all the important things that come along with it.
You can work for many different clients
As an architect, you will also be able to work for many different clients.
Quite often, you will plan a home for a few months, finish the planning phase and then work for a different client.
While it can be challenging to always adjust to new requirements and tastes, it can also be pretty exciting since you will have to improve your skills in various different fields.
Not only will you learn how to become a better architect, but you will also learn how to communicate with clients in case something goes wrong and the more clients you have, the more you will be able to improve these skills.
Good architects have decent job prospects
Another upside to becoming an architect is that you will also have pretty good job prospects.
Not only will there be a lack of qualified architects in your region right now, but this will also be true in the near future.
While there are many architects out there, only few of them really got the experience to carry out really complex work.
Hence, if you are willing to work hard on your skills and to improve continuously, chances are that you will get more job offers than you could ever carry out and this gives you the freedom to choose the jobs that are most interesting and lucrative to you.
Also in case you lose your job one day, you don’t have to worry about it that much since chances are that you will find a new job pretty soon.
You may be able to travel the world
If you are really good at what you are doing and work for a renowned global architecture company, you may even be able to travel the world.
Quite often, your special expertise will be needed in big international construction projects and this means that you will be able to stay in many different countries for a certain period of time until your work has been done.
Sure, not all people love traveling and seeing the world. Some people rather want to stay at home with their favorite people.
Yet, if you are the kind of person who is adventurous and also really wants to grow in character, traveling while working at the same time can be a great way to go for you as an architect.
Architects don’t work many extra hours
Another benefit of working as an architect is that you will also not have to work many extra hours.
In fact, many architects don’t work more than 40 hours and some of them even work significantly less.
You will also have lots of freedom when it comes to structuring your workday.
For instance, say you do the best work in the early morning. In such a case, you can just get up early and finish your workday within a few hours. Sure, you will also have some meetings.
However, on days when this is not the case, you will be able to have a rather short workday and plenty of time left to spend with your favorite people.
You have free weekends and holidays
Not only will you often have rather short workdays as an architect, but you will also be able to enjoy free weekends and holidays.
While you may take this for granted, there are still many people like train drivers who have to work during those unpleasant times.
As an architect, you don’t have to work during those times and can rather enjoy nice weekend trips or barbecues with your family and your friends.
Architects have decent work-life balance
You will also have a pretty decent work-life balance as an architect in general.
Since you will have free weekends, don’t work many extra hours and also don’t work at nighttime, you will have more than enough time left to spend on your hobbies or to meet up with your favorite people after work.
You can also start some side hustles and make some extra money if you really have enough power left.
You can start your own architecture company
If you build extensive knowledge in the architecture field, you will also be able to start your own business sooner or later.
In fact, many architects go this career path.
After finishing college, they just work for a few years as an employed architect, build some knowledge and build a strong client network.
After a few years, many of them quit their jobs and work self-employed instead.
While having your own business implies more paperwork and also requires you to work more, it also gives you the chance to be your own boss and if you have this entrepreneurial spirit, chances are that you will just become much happier with your own architecture business compared to just being an employee in the long run.
Healthy mix between office work and hands-on work
While you will do quite a lot of work with your computer, you will still be present at your clients’ homes in person.
This gives you the opportunity to get out of your office chair from time to time instead of sitting in your office for the whole workday like many other people out there actually do.
Not only will those breaks be healthy for your body, but they will also help you to become more creative and to think about your projects in a different way.
In turn, you will be more likely to find solutions to complex problems you are working on right now.
Architects can work indoors most of the time
As an architect, you will also have the privilege of working indoors most of the time.
While many other people have to work outdoors during extreme rain or heat, you will be able to work in a rather cozy office environment or even from home.
This can be quite nice and many people out there secretly wish to change places with architects in this regard.
You can be creative as an architect
No project will be the same and this also means that you can be pretty creative as an architect.
In fact, creativity is often the one thing that helps you overcome certain issues in the architecture business and if you are gifted with a high level of creativity, you will be able to propose many different solutions to clients.
In fact, the more creative you are, the more impressed your clients will usually be and the higher the chance that they will recommend your work to their family and friends.
Architects don’t have to do heavy physical work
While you will do lots of planning, you will not do the actual construction work with your bare hands.
Hence, this means that you can outsource the heavy physical work to construction workers while you can rather work with your brain.
Not only will this make your workday more convenient, but it also helps you to protect yourself against physical health issues.
Quite often, construction workers and other people who lift heavy things all day long suffer from serious spine issues in the long run.
In contrast, you as an architect will likely not have to deal with these issues at a rather young age since you don’t have to stress your body as much.
Working as an architect can be interesting
Since design opportunities are almost endless in the architecture world, you will be able to try many different things and the more open your clients will be, the more interesting your work will be as well.
If you are able to build a certain reputation, you will get lots of freedom for the design of the buildings you are responsible for and it can be really exciting to work on those complex and unique projects.
Can help you for your own life
Being an architect can also greatly help you for your own life in case you want to build your own home.
In such a case, you will not have to outsource the architecture work to an architect who would charge you lots of money.
Instead, you can just do all the work yourself.
Moreover, you can also make sure that your house will exactly look like as you want it to be while many people who have to outsource this work will never get their dream house due to planning mistakes along the way.
You can help out your family and friends
Not only will you be able to plan the construction phase of your own home, but you can also help out your family and friends.
For instance, if one of your friends wants to build a home, you can be the one who does all the planning at a fair price so that your friend will not have to rely on third parties to do the work.
Not only will your friend be able to save lots of money, but he or she can also be sure that you will do the work properly and this knowledge will help your friends sleep well at night while many other people who build a home have sleepless nights since they often worry about potential issues in this regard.
Teleworking may be possible
As an architect, you may also be able to work from home quite often.
Sure, you will also have to be present at your clients’ homes from time to time.
Yet, if you don’t have any meetings, you can just work remotely and save plenty of time for commuting to work.
You will also be more flexible regarding how to structure your day and can do some private work every time you want to take a break from your architecture work.
Now that you know all the advantages of becoming an architect, we also have to talk about the downsides that come along with it to give you a better impression of what working as an architect really looks like.
Disadvantages of Being an Architect
- You may be liable for mistakes
- Architects have a high level of responsibility
- Working as an architect can be stressful
- Clients can be demanding
- You have to acquire new jobs
- Few mistakes can ruin your reputation
- You need a degree for becoming an architect
- You may be dependent on your parents for a rather long time
- Hard to get out of the construction sector
- You have to keep up with latest technological developments
- You have to deal with numerous regulatory requirements
- Some jobs will be replaced by machines in the long run
You may be liable for mistakes
One problem with being an architect is that you may be liable for mistakes you make during work.
For instance, imagine you design a building and this building collapses one day.
Chances are that your clients will blame you for that and you may have to compensate them for what happened.
Since we often talk about huge sums of money, it is advisable that you get proper insurance in this regard so that you are covered in case of emergency.
Architects have a high level of responsibility
As an architect, people also rely on you and hope that you do good work so that they can live in their homes in a safe manner.
In fact, you will have a high level of responsibility for those people and every mistake of yours can potentially result in a disaster.
In turn, you will also feel a certain pressure at work since you will always have to stay focused and double-check all your work properly to minimize the risk of mistakes.
Working as an architect can be stressful
Another disadvantage of being an architect is that it can also be quite stressful.
Quite often, you will have significant time pressure while you will still have to do your work in an accurate manner to avoid any mistakes that could lead to serious accidents.
Especially if you have to work on multiple projects at the same time, your stress level can be enormous and you should therefore make sure that you know how to handle those situations properly since you would get into dangerous territory otherwise.
Clients can be demanding
You should also not expect all clients to be nice.
While many clients will really appreciate your work, others will always find something to complain about.
Some people out there just can’t be happy and instead of being happy with your decent work, they will find minor mistakes that actually have no impact on the project at all.
Nevertheless, you will be the one who will have to remove those obstacles and this can be really annoying, especially if you have plenty of other work to do at the same time.
You have to acquire new jobs
If you work as a self-employed architect, you will also have to acquire new jobs on a continuous basis.
Sure, once you have achieved a certain reputation, you may no longer actively have to search for new clients since people will recommend you to their friends.
However, it is still a long way until you reach this point and especially at the beginning, you will have to do lots of acquisition work and also spend lots of money on advertising.
Few mistakes can ruin your reputation
Once you’ve built your reputation, you should also not expect that it will last forever.
In fact, only few mistakes can ruin it since people will talk to each other and news about your bad work will spread much quicker than news about your good work.
Hence, you can never relax with your own architecture business since you will always have to expect bad news in this regard.
Even if you do great work, competitors may still try to leave bad reviews about your work on the internet which may prevent you from getting enough new clients.
You need a degree for becoming an architect
Another downside of a career as an architect is that you will also have to spend many years in college.
While college can be a great time, it also implies huge costs and you may even have to go into student loan debt to finance your degree.
In turn, you would have to pay back this money for quite a long time and this may prevent you to afford nice things until your student loans had been repaid while your friends who work as carpenters and many other people don’t have to worry in this regard.
You may be dependent on your parents for a rather long time
If you take on student loans, you may also become dependent on your parents.
In fact, many people move back in with their parents after finishing college to save money on rent and while many of your friends may start their own families, you will be the one who may not be able to do so due to your bad financial circumstances.
Hard to get out of the construction sector
While you will acquire plenty of knowledge in the construction sector, you will not develop many other skills as an architect.
This will not be a problem if you want to stay in construction forever.
However, in case you want to change fields one day, it may become an issue since you will lack many hard skills that are required to work in those other fields and companies may therefore not be willing to employ you.
You have to keep up with latest technological developments
Due to our rapid technological progress, you will also always have to adjust to latest developments in the construction sector and if you are not willing to inform yourself about those things, chances are that you will be left behind and become obsolete in the near future.
You have to deal with numerous regulatory requirements
You should also not underestimate the number of regulations that are present in the architecture business.
In fact, you would be shocked about all the norms that you have to comply with and it can be really annoying to deal with those things since those regulatory requirements often prevent you to be more creative at work.
Some jobs will be replaced by machines in the long run
While good architects will always be needed, some jobs will still vanish in this industry and if you are not willing to learn digital skills, you may face serious issues and may no longer be able to compete with your competition out there.
Top 10 Being an Architect Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being an Architect Pros
|Being an Architect Cons
|Architects enjoy decent job security
|Clients can be demanding
|You can make good money
|Architecture work can be stressful
|Decent future job prospects for architects
|You may be liable for mistakes
|Teleworking may be possible
|Few mistakes can ruin your reputation
|You can help your family and friends
|Hard to get out of this industry
|Can help you for your private life
|You have to adapt to latest technologies
|You can work for many different clients
|Some architects may become obsolete
|Architects may be able to travel the world
|You have to acquire new projects
|Decent work-life balance
|You need a degree
|You can be creative as an architect
|Student loans may be an issue
Should You Become An Architect?
As you can see, there are many advantages and disadvantages of being an architect.
In the end, you have to decide for yourself whether the job as an architect meets your personal skillset and preferences.
If you are still interested in a career as an architect, also make sure to have a look at the salary, job prospects, future outlook, educational requirements and working hours of architects.
Also make sure to check out the following articles:
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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