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Architectural Engineering Careers

by Julie Davoren

Architectural engineers must have logical and creative abilities as their careers require complicated calculations and an aesthetic sense at the same time. In addition to an engineering degree, computer-aided design skills can be helpful for a career in this field. Competencies in detailing and visualizing concepts are sought after requirements. Many roads can lead to a lucrative future in architectural engineering, despite stiff competition. Architectural engineering jobs encompass branches of engineering such as civil, electrical and acoustic as they are interdependent and often inseparable.

Civil Engineers

Commanding median salaries of $82,710 in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, civil engineers are an integral part of the construction industry. Their jobs involve designing and supervising large engineering projects such as airports, dams, stadiums, mass transit systems and bridges. They usually work indoors, and they occasionally visit sites for inspection purposes. Civil engineers test soil and building materials and analyze survey reports to manage construction costs and adhere to government regulations. To obtain licensure, civil engineers must hold a bachelor's degree in civil engineering or a related discipline from a school accredited by Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology Inc. The BLS states that 20 percent of all civil engineers hold a master's degree, which, along with a license, is required for management positions.

Electrical Engineers

Electrical engineers are in charge of designing, developing, supervising and manufacturing electrical equipment for buildings. Their job involves the generation of power supply and creation of energy efficient systems. Green engineers study efficient use of daylight and use sensors to trigger lighting automatically and only when lighting is insufficient and necessary. Other aspects of the job include quality control and design feasibility studies. The median salary in 2011 for this position is estimated at $89,200 annually, as reported by the BLS. Electrical engineers must hold a bachelor's degree, and for teaching or research positions, they must acquire a graduate degree.

Construction Managers

Planning and development and construction project coordination form the crux of the construction manager’s responsibilities. The role involves pre-construction cost estimation, scheduling and feasibility studies. The construction manager in some cases may be required to hire and deal with contractors and undertake licensing for construction projects. Their other duties include selecting material, establishing job site safety measures and removing and managing hazardous work conditions. Construction managers earned a median annual salary of $83,860 in 2010, according to the BLS. Although an associate's degree with experience in the field might suffice for some positions, employers often require that candidates hold a bachelor's degree in construction science, architecture or engineering. Certification is also helpful.

Acoustic Engineers

Acoustic engineers deal with sound levels when building large structures. This specialization is required for structures that are likely to have high levels of footfall traffic such as movie theaters, shopping malls, hotels and schools. Acoustic engineers study the noise level of an area and its compounding effect within and outside the structure. Acoustic engineers must have a combination of architectural and acoustic knowledge to study and provide relevant information to project managers and owners. To become an acoustic engineer, you can combine a bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline with a background in acoustics, as most universities don't offer a degree specifically in acoustic engineering, according to the Acoustical Society of America. The BLS groups acoustic engineers with electronics engineers and reports their median salary in 2011 at $94,670.

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