Employment Prospects


Approximately 128,800 architects are employed in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Most are employed by architectural firms or other firms related to the construction industry. About 20 percent of architects, however, are self-employed, the ultimate dream of many people in the profession. A few develop graphic design, interior design, or product specialties. Still others put their training to work in the theater, film, or television fields, or in museums, display firms, and architectural product and materials manufacturing companies. A small number are employed in government agencies such as the Departments of Defense, Interior, and Housing and Urban Development and the General Services Administration.

Starting Out

Students entering architecture following graduation start as interns in an architectural office. This training period is required by state architectural registration boards before architects can sit for the licensing exam. Interns assist in preparing architectural construction documents. They also handle related details, such as administering contracts, coordinating the work of other professionals on the project, researching building codes and construction materials, and writing specifications. As an alternative to working for an architectural firm, some architecture graduates go into allied fields such as construction, engineering, interior design, landscape architecture, or real estate development.

Architects can search for jobs via employment Web sites, networking events, their college's career services office, and other methods such as direct application to architecture firms.

Advancement Prospects

Interns and architects alike are given progressively more complex jobs. Architects may advance to supervisory or managerial positions. Some architects become partners in established firms, while others take steps to establish their own practice. Some architects choose to teach architecture in colleges and universities.

Tips for Entry

Create a portfolio of your student projects and other work so that you are ready to interview for jobs.

Visit for job listings.

Join the American Institute of Architects to access training and networking opportunities, industry publications, and employment opportunities.

Participate in internships or part-time jobs that are arranged by your college’s career services office.