Building Designer: Career Profile

Individuals who are interested in architecture may want to consider a career as a building designer. Building designers may begin their career in less than two years, depending on their education and experience levels.

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Building Designer Overview

Building designers, also known as home designers, are professionals who specialize in single-family and small, multiple-family home designs. Unlike architects or professional engineers, building designers are not typically required to pass state board exams or obtain special licensing to operate. Prospective building designers may want to research their state's laws and requirements for building designers.

Because their work directly affects the safety, durability and appearance of a structure, building designers must excel in math, physical science and construction engineering. Building designers must be willing to function in extreme or uncomfortable environments. In addition to technical and professional skills, they must possess strong communication skills to work effectively with clients and contractors. Building designers must also keep up with changes in building codes and zoning ordinances.

Education Information

Though a degree isn't required for building designers to operate in every state, an associate or bachelor's degree program in the architectural field may help individuals learn the basics of building design. Prospective building designers may consider degree programs such as architecture, architectural drafting or architectural technology. Courses may include subjects such as construction, residential home design, advanced math, physics, computer-aided design and construction laws. Building designers may continue education with a graduate degree program in architecture.

Certification Information

Certification may help building designers prove their skills and abilities to potential clients and employers. The National Council of Building Designer Certification (NCBDC) offers professional certification for experienced building designers who pass a specialized exam (www.ncbdc.com). According to the NCBDC, eligible building designers must pay a fee, provide samples of their work and submit letters of recommendation to schedule a testing date. NCBDC-certified building designers may have access to exclusive benefits, professional networks and continuing education programs.

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