Alternative Careers For Architects and Architecture Students

An architect has a skill set that ranges from design, art, management, and budgeting to legal affairs. And you can use this knowledge in many areas.

Architects can be industrial designers or construction managers, for all we know, and they can do wonders in these fields. If you have gone to an architecture school, you will have enough knowledge to work in several other areas.

Yes, you might have to skim through some more books or take up a separate course online, but that would help in exploring your skills beyond construction work. You can even become an urban planner or a consultant who can help with a client’s architectural project, there are multiple types of architects and you can specialize in the one that fits you best.

Here, we have listed down some of the top alternative careers for architects. You can go through the list and find one that attracts you the most.

So, dive in to make a choice.

Alternative Careers For Architects

Alternative careers for architects

The Transferrable Architectural Skills 

An architect graduate will be able to analyze and find solutions to complex situations. There are many areas where a lot of research will be needed to solve unique problems, and an architect should be able to do that.

They must spend a lot of time researching to know how to tackle unforeseen issues. In other words, architects should have a problem-solving nature to look out for the right kind of solutions.

Moving on to drawing, they will be able to create beautiful designs depending on the project at hand. Most architects who know design software like InDesign and Photoshop will know how to edit, blend, or stitch pictures.

Plus, architects may know how to work in a team and think outside the box. They can work with tight deadlines and meet them to ensure client satisfaction.

Alternative Careers For Architects 

1. Interior Design 

While you might need a license to be an interior designer in some states, there are places where it is not mandatory. Also, if you have the right kind of knowledge about decorating, building homes, and office spaces, people will trust you with their property.

Many architects do not want to create layouts and design the exterior structures but might be interested in making the interior space look aesthetic. They make great interior designers and can truly bring a change to how homes look from the inside.

To be a good interior designer, you will need to create design plans, draw them out, and show them to the clients. What’s more, remember to make budgets and ensure that the project is completed within a specific timeline.

2. Real Estate 

A property developer is one who takes up old properties and then designs and repurposes them into something new. You can purchase land and then make houses to sell them off.

Real estate property developers have to be responsible for all kinds of jobs beginning with construction, sales, design, and marketing. You will have to create aesthetically attractive spaces and provide all the basic (and not-so-basic) amenities to your clients.

While this does not require an architecture degree, it will surely help if you understand real estate and the market.

3. Graphic Designers 

If you consider yourself to be a very creative person, then graphic designing can be an alternative career. For those of you who want to spend your lives playing with fonts, images, cards, logos, and boxes, graphic design is a great job to have.

Instead of designing buildings, you will have to design landing pages and websites using your creative skills as a graphic designer. There are multiple courses online that can help in learning these techniques.

A video game that explores the physics of architecture

4. Industrial Designer 

Did you ever like a tea kettle because of the shape of its handle? Yes, that is what industrial design is all about. It generally involves developing and creating new products that will be useful while looking aesthetically attractive.

Architecture students can use their skills in 3D modeling and rendering to get an understanding of the material that is used for industrial design. You can look at unique ideas that will help create newer and better designs for products of different brands.

5. Set And Production Designer 

If you are wondering about what to do with an architecture degree, then this is another arena that you can look into. Yes, you can work in the film industry as good designs are essential for sets.

First of all, there are visual elements involved where you will need to search for the perfect location, design costumes, color code scenes, and create props and accessories. If you find this interesting or want to utilize your skills as an architect, look into creating or producing plans and scale models.

Then there is the management of the project as design ideas have to be researched and presented. Meaning, you can get into creating budgets for films and monitoring if everything is being spent right.

6. Business Entrepreneur 

You might be thinking that anybody can be a business entrepreneur, but if you have an architecture degree, there are better chances of successfully starting a business. With architectural skills, you already have experience with budgeting, accounting, project management, and timelines.

The business may not have any connection with architecture, but it may very well give you a head start, which is much needed.

7. Virtual World Designer 

If you can design buildings, you could design entire cities or planets too! You heard us right as there is great scope in the gaming, film, and marketing agency. One can create realistic worlds online using software and proper graphics like in the movie, Inception.

With your knowledge of architecture, you are already at an advantage compared to a large number of people and will be well-trained for the job. Look for software programs that you might need to learn before stepping into this job, and you will be doing great at project management and attracting clients.

8. Animator 

Graphic designers often choose to be animators even after attending architecture schools if they do not want to work on the ground. Being an animator, you can spend time indoors away from the real world on your computer, creating new figures and then using animation to design cartoons or videos.

Animation courses will give you technical and blending skills to develop worlds and planets online. However, animators have to learn a few software programs; hence, you can look for suitable courses.

9. Stage Designer 

There are many places that need props and planning, and that is where a stage designer comes in. You can start with designing small-scale concerts, music festivals, rallies for political events, and presentations for commercial projects.

Moreover, this job is very exciting as you will get to design a lot of different platforms. You can even design stages for music tours that run for a week or two, or you might need to make a stage for a single-day event.

Best gifts for sculptors and potters 1

10. Film Producer Or Director 

If you have a vision and a knack for creativity, then you can become a film producer or a director. Now, architects are generally known to be very creative with their work. If you want to invest more time and effort in building something creative and making a good movie, this is a great arena to explore.

Also, if you are interested in project management, then you will be able to manage the team better and get good funding from investors.

11. Event Planner 

An event involves coming up with a concept, deciding upon a location, and procuring the materials to create a stage. Then, you will have to convince clients and settle upon a budget before starting work.

Since events are time-bound, there will be strict deadlines to meet and contractors to manage. There are times you might also have to play the role of a diplomat while handling the location and client demands.

As an architect, if you feel that this is your forte, then look into event management. Join a good event planning agency and learn the work before you start off with your own enterprise.

12. Professional Photographer 

If you do not want to invest any time in getting more degrees, then this is a job role that could interest you. To be a good professional photographer, you need to have an eye for aesthetics, and you will have to learn some technical skills.

Now, this can be learned online but in case you already know how to use Photoshop, which is a part of architecture education, then half the job is done. If you can build a good portfolio, start looking for clients for wedding shoots, pre-wedding shoots, and modeling portfolios.

Next, you can also be a graphic designer and design logos, invitation cards, greeting cards, books, websites, and guides, to name a few. Many professional photographers do both as they have the design skills to invest in it.

13. Track Designer 

Building a racing track is no child’s play, and it can become an interesting project for architects. You will need to create a unique layout and then place adequate safety measures for the pit crew, drivers, and the audience.

Take care of the construction work and create proper pit lanes, comfortable seating, spectator flow, and ideal racing conditions. Also, make a note of the challenges that you may face on the racecourse and how you wish to overcome them.

Showroom eurobike - porsche, brazilia / 1:1 arquitetura:design

14. Automobile Designer 

While there are engineers who will create an entire car, automobile designers are needed to make the space more comfortable. The car needs to be attractive for people to choose it over other cars and that would be your job role. This is a great alternative career option for those who are interested in vehicles and their parts.

15. Furniture Designer 

Many people from the field of architecture have shifted to furniture designing as it involves a lot of qualities that architects already have. Here you will need to understand materials, shapes, forms, and their functions. If you have a good understanding of materials, then you can look into this.

16. Fashion Designer 

Next, if you are not interested in playing around with brick and mortar but you have a knack for designing, then fashion designing could be a great idea. It involves creating designs and then using 3D technology to create outfits. If you are tech-savvy and have a creative hand, then this is a great option.

However, if you have worked in an architecture firm, then the shift from designing buildings to designing clothes can be a big leap. However, you can earn a lot if you take the right path.

17. Web Designer 

Can you work on tight deadlines and deliver work within a short period of time? Then you can try web designing, which is a self-taught skill. Most web designers come from different fields and then create profiles on the internet and social media.

You can learn programming languages online, and it will turn out to be a fruitful endeavor. After all, every company needs a successful online presence in this digital age. Architects who are interested in people, design, and art can look into this as an alternative career option.

Why video game engines may power the future of film and architecture

18. Video Game Designer 

Nobody said that career options have to be boring, and you can spend your day designing fantasy universes and playing sports. If you like playing video games, then you might want to design one too. There are covers to look at, background to make, characters to design, and then historical context has to be added.

Making a video game involves a number of tasks that range from 3D rendering, CGI, virtual worlds, and graphic design. Architecture graduates can very well play a role here and can become good game designers if they have the passion.

19. Craft Artist 

A good craft artist can create a wide number of things, from stained glass windows to artistic sculptures. If you are interested in building design and want to focus on just that, then you can start doing DIY projects.

Some people start indulging in pottery and creating beautifully shaped pots and vases that can then be sold off. You can either start a store or sell off your work to another one. Understand what people want from you and then carry on with a project.

20. Creative Director: Advertisement And Online Marketing Agencies 

A person with an architectural background or one who has great project management experience can become a creative director. You will have to work with people and art, and it is best if you are creative.

There are concepts to be created, and then presentations have to be made. If you are a good speaker, you can even try client servicing and convincing clients why the design is worth a shot.

21. Teaching Profession 

If you have worked in architecture firms or have a proper architecture education, then you can get into the teaching profession. Learn about the history of architecture and how structures are made, and then get your required degrees. Make a list of the top places to apply and immediately drop it in your application.

Many architects also start this as a side hustle and teach adults who want to know more about architecture.

22. Food Industry 

Food is another thing that involves designing, and you can work with food as an alternative career. Here, you can choose between being a chef, cake and pastry designer, and food stylist. To be a chef, you will have to take a course in designing and creating dishes. Good project managers with design skills are often well-suited for this job.

Culinary styling can work very well for those who excel at design thinking. You could be a food production designer and a blogger who experiments with different culinary styles. Then there are chocolate makers and artisan bakers who create beautiful designs.

23. Conservationist 

As an architecture student, you must have studied historic buildings and how to preserve them. If you excel at critical thinking, then one of your alternative career options is to conserve old buildings or artwork.

One can also check out the role of environment conservationists and see if that interests them. You can act as a consultant and help conserve the environment while investing in sustainable projects. With the concrete jungle growing every day, eco-friendly building projects have become very important.

24. Golf Park Designer 

A park of any kind needs perfect planning, and one would need to get the basic layout first. With architectural education, you will already know how to create a layout of a space. You can benefit from that knowledge and create theme parks or golf courses. This can be a full-time job, and you can work with new clients.

25. Journalist 

If you have been interested in architecture history and you like reading about history, cities, and different kinds of buildings, then try being a journalist or an author. Architects make great authors, and you can write about your experience in a book.

You could also become a columnist if you have the required skills. Talk about architecture and its evolution over the ages and people will be interested. You can reach a lot of budding architects, and you can then tell them about how to build a big business around it.

Moreover, if you have people skills and can interact with them easily, then you can conduct interviews with famous architects and write that down.

26. CSR Or Corporate Social Responsibility 

If you were an architect before, then you will have enough skills that can be transferred to this field. You must already know client handling and how to talk to them. Also, you have skills pertaining to design, management, materials, and budgeting.

Nowadays, companies need to look after the environment and invest time in it. They need to reduce the negative impact on the environment, and that is where you can come in. You could talk to stakeholders, plan a budget, present your ideas and then convince them to invest in certain environment-friendly plans.

27. Building Specialist Consultant 

If you are an expert with sustainable designs, planning, materials that are fire-resistant, and such specialized areas, then you can look into being a consultant. Consultants are generally experts in a certain field, and they have a lot of knowledge about it.

You will then be paid so that clients can know more about how to do certain things without having to do the back-end research. They will get the knowledge, and you will not have to engage in any kind of physical labor.

28. Tour Guide 

Architects tend to have a lot of knowledge about buildings, history, and the culture of different places. One can use this knowledge to become a tour operator or a guide. If you know a lot about the hidden treasures of an area, tourists will love going around with you. Weave a charming experience, and soon you will be flooded with requests from tourists to be their guide.

Also, you can design a booklet that talks about the experience that you are offering. Share it online and reach out to travel bloggers with it.

29. Politician 

If you are good with human interaction and you know about the human psyche, then the parliament can be a place to be. You will be surprised to know that Anders Adlercreutz, who was an architect before, became a member of the parliament after studying architecture.

There are many other great examples of people studying architecture and then becoming politicians, and you can surely look into it.

Alternative careers for architects


Remember that your skills as an architect can act as a stepping stone to a future job opportunity. But before you choose a different path, make sure that you have thought it out well.

You can experiment for a while and then opt for a career change. Also, if you need to learn more about CAD software or any other tools that you may need to use, do that beforehand.

While all job opportunities will not require you to have prior qualifications and degrees, you will certainly need to have the right skills. With this, we have reached the end of this guide, and it’s time to wrap up.

Let us know about your favorite profession in the comment section below. Take care and goodbye!

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