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Architecture is the most perfect blend of art and science.  Architects dream big and design big – whether it’s a multi level museum or a high rise structure that’s in the heart of Chicago.  They must have insight and the ability to see how the drawings and blueprints translate into real life and steel, bricks and foundations. They appreciate the big picture while never missing the smallest detail.  They’re focused, educated and committed to perfection.  We asked A. Harrison Barnes, founder of, for a more definitive idea of the responsibilities that come with being a professional architect.

“There’s a certain level of creativity involved”, says Barnes.  He also says a good architect is always aware of his budget, able to work with a wide array of people, from contractors to engineers to electricians and of course, he must be able to plan the completion while coordinating schedules with all of these other people involved in the project.  Communication skills are an absolute must and the architect must also remain current with zoning considerations since there is often millions of dollars at stake – and it’s always someone else’s millions.

Naturally, a degree is required.  A. Harrison Barnes explains the Architect Registration Examination is mandatory for licensing in every state.  There are excellent architectural programs in colleges around the country and your options are many.  For instance, some universities offer a five year program while others might offer a combination four year undergraduate with the two year master’s program.  Another important aspect of gaining the proper credentials is that the majority of states will require a successful internship before taking the licensing exam.  Further, depending on which state you choose to work in, you may be required to obtain continuing education hours on an annual basis.

Opportunities are plenty in terms of advancements.  Promotions to project manager and other positions with higher salaries are not uncommon in this field.  Architects can choose the private sector or those within local, state or even on the federal level; the potential certainly exists.

While it clearly takes dedication and commitment, for those who pursue this as a career will enjoy a higher than average job outlook, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Even so, it is a fickle industry and certainly not recession proof.  “Think of it as a trickle down effect”, says the founder, “money must be in the budget for new construction projects, whether it’s a government or private budget, without that, a project can’t move forward”.  And too, it’s important an architect remain flexible if he’s to succeed, especially with the unpredictability of contract changes and budget adjustments.

For more information on some of the current architecture positions available, be sure to visit

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