Architects lay the blueprints and plans for the appearance of offices, schools, homes, apartments, stadiums, arenas and other structures. To practice architecture in the United States universally requires a license from the jurisdiction or jurisdictions of the architect’s practice. As a prerequisite to that license, aspiring licensed architects must spend a certain amount of years on post-graduate on-the-job training. That training comes via a paid architectural internship. The following architectural intern job description outlines their responsibilities and the skills, education and training necessary to fulfill them and to earn the status of licensed architects.
Job Overview: What Does an Architectural Intern Do?
Under the direction and oversight of licensed architects, interns perform the tasks expected of architects. They propose designs and plans and help licensed architects ensure that those plans are executed by the contractors and construction crews. In their support of licensed architects, the interns may also research for information, field calls from owners, inspectors and contractors; and help procure needed permits.
Architectural Intern Job Description for Resume – Duties
- Assist with drawing plans of structures using computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software
- Build models and prototypes of buildings
- Draft specifications for building materials, construction methods, quality of materials and processes and other project details
- Assemble plans, documents and other information to be used in permit applications
- Research applicable building, zoning and land development codes
- Obtain information on feasibility and quality of proposed materials
- Help senior architects with project and contract administration, including evaluation of work for compliance with plans
Architectural Intern Job Essential Skills
Analytical. In preparing drawings and plans, architectural interns must be able to account for the dimensions of land and buildable areas, measurements, the quality of materials and applicable regulations. Analytical skills require an understanding of designs and the location of items such as utilities and road.
Computers. Architectural interns prepare plans and drawings using CADD software. The practice of architecture also relies upon graphic software packages, word processors, spreadsheets and email. Architectural interns should also be able to prepare drawings or assemble large bundles of materials in a manner to be transmitted electronically through email or cloud technology to owners, project managers or inspectors.
Design. The ability to design functional and innovate facilities, especially in irregularly-shaped or small spaces, requires creativity. Interns must also develop skills in sustainable design by incorporating principles of minimization of resources needed for or used by the structure. Visual skills help interns envision how designs relate to available space and how components of a building and the associated grounds fit with each other.
Interpersonal. Architectural interns, even in their subordinate or junior roles, must interact with clients, adjoining property owners, government inspectors and officials, contractors and engineers. These stakeholders often lend their perspectives and concerns to the overall design and project process.
Time-Management. Building projects come with deadlines, such as those imposed by the needs of the building owner, weather and government agencies. Architectural interns must note, understand and be able to meet the deadlines given them by their supervisors. Interns often must handle multiple projects or tasks simultaneously.
Becoming an Architectural Intern
Architectural interns perform many of the tasks or architects to build the required experienced to become licensed to practice. This means they must satisfy the educational requirements to become architect. Part-time or summer work during their studies can also help prepare prospective architectural interns and licensed architects.
Education & Training Requirements
An undergraduate bachelor’s degree program in architecture covers subjects such as the theory and history of architecture, design, math, CADD software and principles, construction, physics, physical science, geometry and math. Geometry teaches future architectural interns how to understand and apply angles and other shapes in their designs. Architects must also consider the impact of gravity, landforms and slopes on designing the foundation and length, height and uses of buildings and rooms.
With the emphasis of the construction industry on environmental-friendly designs, environmental science, earth science and biology also constitute helpful classes for architects.
Generally, architectural programs run five years for undergraduate candidates, especially those with no prior experience in architecture. Master’s students spend an additional one to five years in pursuit of the higher-level degree.
During school, prospective architectural interns may have summer positions with architectural firms. Some of the experience can count toward the three years of internship experience required for licenses.
Where a state does not require an architectural degree of its licensees, eight to 13 years of job experience can suffice for a permit for those without the architecture degree.
Those seeking architectural intern positions may have prior experience with engineering firms or construction contractors. Jobs with these employers may include engineers, project coordinators, project managers, construction workers and graders. Some architectural interns may hold licenses as general or other types of contractors. Being licensed in a related field demonstrates knowledge of the construction process, including management.
Candidates should also present samples of drawings from classes or summer internships. Engineering drawings can also show an architectural intern’s ability to calculate, account for distances and apply geometric, physics and technical principles.
Architectural interns work full time. To meet deadlines imposed by owners, general contractors and agencies, these professionals may put in evening hours or even weekends. Since interns do not hold a license, they cannot practice on a self-employed basis. The significantly reduces the flexibility of work hours.
Work settings include offices and construction sites. In the latter locations, architectural interns observe the work with or at the direction of licensed architects and report on compliance with the plans. In visiting work sites, architectural interns may spend significant time on the road and might have occasional overnight stays.
Office and travel time may prove necessary for interns to meet with clients or governmental officials to ensure their respective requirements are addressed in the drawings and construction.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, hiring in the architectural field should grow by seven percent, or 7,800, through 2024. In 2014, the United States had 112,600 architects.
Population growth should lead to a higher demand for architects and prospects should prove ample in areas with it. More residents mean more homes, schools and shopping centers that will require design by architects. Increased emphasis on buildings that consume natural resources, electricity and water more efficiently may also spur more construction. Skills and backgrounds through education and work in environmental sustainability provide advantages to candidates for architectural intern jobs.
Upon successful completion of their work requirements, architectural interns can sit for and pass their licensing exam and become legally able to practice architecture. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nearly 20 percent of architects were self-employed in 2014.
Architectural interns take normally the same path as licensed architects in career development. They accomplish many of the tasks as their licensed counterparts, albeit under their supervision. In the proving grounds of the architectural profession, these interns can display their creativity, problem-solving and analytical talents to help in creating high-profile structures or more practical, small-scale use buildings.