High-paying careers you can pursue with an architecture degree

There’s nothing more rewarding than completing a degree in architecture. All those nights poring over drafts, sobbing on your desk because your creativity is running out and studying for tests can pay off one day when you get licensed. However, many fresh graduates remain clueless about what paths to take after graduation. Some even decide that they don’t want to be architects at all, which is also fine. 

Luckily, Tools to Design have come up with a list of high-paying careers in the US that aspiring architects can pursue! Since you have an architecture degree on your end, you’ve developed a variety of visual, creative and design skills you can bring to the table. This will allow for career-shifting in a way that maintains your love for architecture.

Here are the options you can consider:

Town planner

If you have an interest in sustainability and development, then being a town planner might be right up your street. Your main responsibilities include managing and developing towns, cities, villages and the countryside. You’ll be working alongside other professionals in the field such as architects where your goal is to balance the issues of the environment and economy. 

This means that you have to come up with sustainable solutions to accomplish development goals within the required time. Your competencies should include economic analysis, city planning and community engagement, among other things. 

Aside from architects, you also have to collaborate with real estate developers and civil engineers in drafting city plans from scratch. As a town planner, it is your duty to get familiarised with zoning laws and building codes since the needs of the population are ever-changing. 

Political architect

The term ‘political architect’ is still relatively new in the field of architecture. There have been debates that the nature of this job mostly revolves around political aspects, so is it valid that it’s included in this field of work? However, it’s a whole different thing when you’re involved in the decision-making process of politics. 

Keep in mind that architecture does not solely focus on visually appealing building projects. Architecture is also about taking up significant space in establishing the society and everything that comes with it. 

Let’s take a look at an Australian architectural firm called Terroir. They have worked alongside the political bodies of the country like the Parramatta City Council and Burnie City Council. Together, they would establish ideas that will improve the overall structure of the city and think of criteria targeting its growth.

It’s safe to assume that just like any other profession, architecture is always influenced by politics. 

Building Surveyor

A career as a building surveyor in the US is the best option for people who are interested in modifying, conserving and restoring old and modern buildings. You would enjoy this job if you love problem-solving, especially if you have a strong interest in the construction of buildings. The job will allow you to study the history of a certain landmark, and why it holds so much significance in the field of architecture.

As a building surveyor, you’d be involved with taking safety measures to make sure the building remains in good condition. It’s also important that you can communicate with clients and understand their needs. You need to discuss material requirements, construction designs and renovation costs, to name a few.

To become great at this job, you need to have an extensive experience first in construction, as well as an eye for detail. Through constant practice, you can instantly evaluate the condition of a building and advise on the historic value, energy efficiency and adaptive designs.


Of course, the most obvious career path you can pursue with an architecture degree is being an architect. This career can be challenging, inspirational and amazing at the same time—placing you at the spearhead of improving people’s lives through creativity. You’ll be collaborating with clients and other professionals like engineers in designing new buildings. The safety and functionality of these establishments are also included in your duties.

The usual responsibilities of an architect often include resolving planning concerns, reducing environmental impacts and supervising the construction process. If you want employers to hire you, you should have prior experience in the design and architectural field. You should also be updated on the latest trends happening in the industry.

Research architect

Thanks to technological advances, digital design is helping the industry of architecture make greater strides. The impact of information technology paved the way for the tools of digital design, allowing for a more advanced representation of art and sketches.

Even though IT takes all the credit for this revolutionary shift, the research conducted by architects is also a big factor in making this change. They are called research architects, exploring new possibilities in building state-of-the-art tools for design enhancements.

Production designer

Do you love architecture but hold the same passion for the entertainment industry? If yes, then being a production designer has you covered. You don’t have to give up one thing just to pursue another career because this path allows you to enjoy both. 

Even though being a production designer strips you of the experience of designing a skyscraper or a landscape, working in movie sets still allows you to be an architect. It’s on a much smaller scale, but it still allows you to push your creativity to the limits and think outside the box.

The best thing about this job is it removes the heavy demands of building the perfect design in mainstream architecture. Instead, you focus on something that creates experiences and situations that move the story forward. Yourarhictecture degree gives you the advantage to be incredibly creative, especially when building conceptual environments. 

Tips on how to become a successful architect

Now that you know the possible paths of someone who has an architecture degree, it’s time for you to learn some tips on how to become a successful architect. Since you need to have a great deal of prior experience before you become successful in this industry, Tools to Design is here to offer some advice. Take a look at them below:

Prepare a portfolio

When you’re an architect, always remember that you are in a creative industry. That’s why a strong portfolio will be your best ally when it comes to finding clients and employers you can work with within the US. You have to show your portfolio when landing your first role, up to the moment where you want to design your very first skyscraper.

Keep in mind that your portfolio should help you stand out from the rest of the candidates. Think of it as a work of art that represents who you are and what you want to achieve in your career. 

This isn’t to say that you should include all your work. Choose the best ones to leave your clients wanting more. 

Be prepared

No matter how talented you are as a young architect, you’re bound to face challenges that will make you doubt your abilities. For instance, if you think landing a job is the hardest part, think again. Your first few months and years are extremely tough, but they will build your character. You might deal with a difficult boss who won’t recognise your efforts, or have your proposals rejected every time.

Patience is a virtue. Someday, all your hard work will pay off. A client will fall in love with your work and work with you, and a boss will finally take note of your persistence and talent. Besides, you’re going to do a lot of work not related to drafting and design. At some point, you have to learn how to market, make contracts and manage an office.

Find a mentor

Finding a great mentor that can guide you through the field of architecture is a big help. Look for someone who you look up to and who has the skills that you want to achieve one day. A job can probably hone your skills, but a great architect has the power to mould your career into something meaningful.

Don’t be afraid to fail

Some people give up their careers in architecture because they are too afraid to fail. Every failure is disappointing, but each one of them teaches you something that success cannot. You need to embrace every situation that doesn’t feel great because it teaches you the difficult side of your profession. In this way, you can finally embrace the sweet smell of success when things go your way. 

Failing also means that you’re learning about the mistakes you should never make again. Remember that the greatest architectures in history never found their place without being rejected or ridiculed. They had their hardships, too. 

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