Prospective architects may face competition for entry-level
positions, especially if the number of architectural degrees awarded
remains at current levels or increases. Employment of architects is
projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012, and additional job openings will stem from the need to replace architects who retire, transfer to new
occupations, or leave the labor force permanently for other reasons.
However, many individuals are attracted to this occupation, and the
number of applicants often exceeds the number of available jobs,
especially in the most prestigious firms. Prospective architects who
gain career-related experience in an architectural firm while they are
still in school and who know CADD technology—especially that which
conforms to the new national standards—will have a distinct advantage
in obtaining an intern position after graduation.
Employment of architects is strongly tied to the level of local construction,
particularly nonresidential structures such as office buildings,
shopping centers, schools, and healthcare facilities. Employment in
nonresidential construction is expected to grow because the replacement
and renovation of many industrial plants and buildings has been delayed
for years and a large number of structures will have to be replaced or
remodeled, particularly in urban areas where space for new buildings is
becoming limited. On the other hand, technology enhancements will
dampen demand for new commercial construction as nontraditional work
and retail environments, such as teleconferencing, home offices,
telecommuting, and electronic shopping, proliferate.
Demographic trends and changes in healthcare delivery will influence the demand for
certain institutional structures and should also provide more jobs for
architects in the future. A growing and aging population will drive
demand for the construction of adult daycare, assisted-living, and
other outpatient facilities, all of which are preferable, less costly
alternatives to hospitals and nursing homes. Similarly, the
construction of schools will increase to accommodate growth in the
school-aged population. Additions to existing schools (especially
colleges and universities), as well as overall modernization, will
continue to add to demand for architects through 2012.
Demand for residential construction is also expected to continue to grow. As the
baby boomers reach their peak earning years and can afford to spend
more on housing, demand for larger homes with more amenities, as well
as for second homes, will continue to rise. Some older, more affluent,
members of the baby-boom generation will want townhouses and
condominiums in conveniently located suburban and urban settings. At
the same time, as the "echo boomers" (the children of the baby boomers)
start to augment the younger age groups, the demand for starter homes
and rental apartments also should increase.
Growth in demand for new-home construction will be tempered by consumers’ preference to
perform home improvements and renovations—especially in attractive,
established neighborhoods—rather than construct new homes. Many starter
homes will be remodeled to appeal to more affluent, space- and
amenity-hungry buyers. Also, as buyers trade up, some may prefer to
remodel existing homes, rather than construct new homes.
Because construction—particularly office and retail construction—is sensitive
to cyclical changes in the economy, architects will face especially
strong competition for jobs or clients during recessions, and layoffs
may ensue. Those involved in the design of institutional buildings,
such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and correctional facilities,
will be less affected by fluctuations in the economy.
Even in times of overall good job opportunities, however, there may be areas of
the country with poor opportunities. Architects who are licensed to
practice in one State must meet the licensing requirements of other
States before practicing elsewhere. Obtaining licensure in other
States, after initially receiving licensure in one State, is known as
“reciprocity” and is much easier if an architect has received
certification from the NCARB.