General Ideas About Architecture and Construction Career Pathways

A solar light collector at the Shanghai World Expo. A stunning example of geometric architecture and technology.

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It takes a family to build a home. It also takes a team of workers to build a building. Architecture and Construction Career Clusters contain occupations in the same field of work that require similar skills. The careers in this cluster incorporate many of the moving parts required to construct and maintain buildings and structures.


Each job requires a different level of education. Career Clusters help students, parents and educators alike focus educations plans towards obtaining necessary knowledge, competencies and training for success. Education plans are a general guideline for what is needed to pursue a particular career. Some careers in the Architecture and Construction Career Clusters require more formal schooling than others. If you are interested in architecture and construction, it is worth consulting this cluster for ways to pursue a job in this field.


General Outlook

Careers in this cluster range from designing, planning, managing and building a structure to maintaining the finished environment. Because highways, tunnels, bridges and buildings will need upkeep and repair in the coming years and on into the future, there will remain a need for a variety of people skilled in architecture and construction. Although the demand for new housing is expected to decline, the demand for remodeling and repairs on existing residential structures should grow. Skilled labors will also be needed in construction trades, especially electricians. With the rising interest in “smart” buildings, there will be a demand for workers that can wire buildings to keep pace with this continuing growth in telecommunications and computer equipment.

Skills Required

Most architecture and construction jobs require that a person has solid math skills. Attention to detail is also important. Taking classes in art, algebra, trigonometry, geometry and drafting is a great way to prepare for careers in this cluster. Some careers require more schooling than others. Careers such as architects, engineers and city planners require at least a bachelor’s degree. Other jobs in this cluster may only require a high school education. Most of the jobs do require a period of formal training or apprenticeship. New employees may work beside experienced skilled workers, and after some time may be expected to pass a licensing examination in order to practice on his or her own.


Career Pathways

There are three pathways in this career cluster: design/pre-construction, construction and maintenance /operations.

  • Design/Pre-Construction – People in this area take ideas and put them on paper, creating blueprints and detailed design plans. These plans are used as the construction project gets underway. Most positions require at least a licensing and sometimes a higher degree. Careers in this area include architects, computer-aided design technicians, surveyors, city planners, cost estimators and civil engineers.
  • Construction – People in this area turn the plans created by designers into reality. They build, renovate and restore buildings and structures. This includes houses and office buildings as well as bridges, highways and factories. Many of these jobs required skilled laborers that have gone through training or an apprenticeship. Some positions even require a degree. Careers in construction include plumbers, construction laborers, electricians, construction inspectors, landscape architects and sheet metal workers.
  • Maintenance/Operations – People in this area keep existing structures maintained and running smoothly. They keep buildings up to codes set out by the government. There is some overlap between this pathway and construction. Jobs in this pathway usually require little schooling. Some positions may require some technical training. Careers in maintenance/operations include electricians, boilermakers, highway maintenance workers, janitors, elevator installers and repairers, heating and cooling technicians and pipe fitters.



Once you know what pathway you are interested in, it is much easier to plan for the future. Most of these jobs benefit from some technical training. Attending a one to two-year technical school can equip you with skills that will set you apart from the competition. If you are interested in a career in the planning and design stages, earning a degree from a four-year institute might be required. Gaining experience at a young age can help advance your skills in areas like carpentry, painting and plumbing. Doing repairs and home improvement projects can prepare you for your future. Joining the math club while in high school and volunteering to care for the flowers at a local park or community center are great ways to stay involved and gain skills.

The Architecture and Construction Career Cluster includes a wide range of career paths. It includes the planners, builders and maintainers of highways, bridges, houses and buildings. Individuals in these fields need various levels of education to be successful.


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