Is Building Design a Good Career? 10 Things To Know

Published Categorized as Building Design
Building Design Career

If you have a knack for creativity but are looking for a job that appears more financially stable, Building Design might be the right path for you. It combines math and business with a side of artistic flair.

Building Design is a great career choice for anyone interested in the construction of buildings and has a clear vision for the future of buildings. However, Building Design as a career may not be for everyone due to the level of stress that comes with it aside from other reasons.

Keep reading as we’ll discuss 10 things to know about Building Design as a career path.

1. Building Designers Can Earn High Salaries

Let’s be realistic here. You likely won’t be hitting the six-figure mark at the start of your building design career. It takes experience, time, and patience to build enough knowledge to start demanding the big bucks.

However, the opportunity is there. According to, the national average salary for Building Designers is $124k. shows an annual median salary of $74k. Those are not bad!

2. You Can Always Switch to Self-Employment Down the Road

As a building designer, you can work with an existing company to hone your skills. Once you feel comfortable with the job and ready to branch off on your own, you can switch to self-employment and be your own boss.

Working in Building Design can be very stressful, so many Building Designers may choose to become their own boss later down the road. Owning your own business will give you time and project freedom, which can be rare (or non-existent) when working for someone else.

3. Building Designers Aren’t Architects

It’s easy to confuse Building Designers with Architects. One may assume that the two titles are interchangeable, but that’s not the case!

Architects will work on the design of a building and meet with clients, like a Building Designer. Then, they go one step further and ensure the design will meet all physical specifications and is logistically sound.

Architects will generally take charge of the entire process of drafting and construction of the project.

Building Designers have similar responsibilities as Architects. However, they don’t sit for the testing required for all architects. Also, Building Designers’ projects tend to gear toward residential homes or small-scale commercial products. Architects would typically handle any large-scale housing or commercial projects.

Furthermore, Building Designers are known as draftsmen due to the significant time they spend on design software. But their responsibilities also include knowledge of local laws and regulations.

4. You Don’t Always Need a License To Be a Building Designer

The other main difference between a Building Designer and an Architect is the required education. Becoming an architect requires a lot of schooling and training to claim that title.

All architects must have a Bachelor’s Degree, with most going on to receive their masters. They’re not finished after their graduation, though. Architects must then acquire and maintain the proper licensing required for their area. All architects must pass their Architectural Registration Exam. Building designers don’t need to live up to those rigid expectations.

This isn’t to say that a degree wouldn’t be advisable (or potentially required) for a Building Designer. In some areas, a degree or license is required, and in some cases, both! It also may lend some credibility to you.

5. Building Design Requires Math

Building designs must be precise, meaning you must get your numbers right. A lot of math is involved with being a Building Designer.

You’ll likely be adding inches to feet and then incorporating those numbers into the measurements of your materials. We’re talking, “how many two-by-fours will you need to frame a wall with two 24×36 windows?”

And this kind of math isn’t the easiest to do on a calculator. It takes time, some natural skill, and a drive to make the best building possible.

6. Building Design Is a Growing Industry

The pandemic is hindering growth across many industries. This ranges from supply chain concerns on raw building materials to worker shortages.

Fortunately, building designers aren’t directly using the raw materials or staffing. There’s a lot of freedom for them to develop plans and sketches for future building plans.

Remote work is becoming much more common. This means the needs of workers and companies are changing. The old designs are no longer functional for the new workplace arrangements.

7. You Need To Know Local Laws and Codes

There’s a little bit of law involved in building design. Having a solid working knowledge of the local permits required for your ideas is essential. Before beginning a project, the building designer must read the legal contract and become intimately familiar with local regulations.

8. The Best Building Designers Are Great at Drafting

If you have a lot of experience with computers or a desire to learn, becoming a Building Designer may be excellent for you.

Building Designers spend a lot of time behind a screen working on drafting programs. AutoCAD, SketchUp, and Rhino3D are just a few examples of the software building designers use every day.

These design software programs can be learned from your own home. Many courses and information about AutoCAD, SketchUP, and Rhino3D — and other program options — are available online.

The beauty of a program like AutoCAD is that you don’t need to download any software. Just visit

9. Customer Service Skills Are Necessary

Building designers spend a lot of time at their desks. However, that’s  not the only important part of their day. A significant (both in time and importance) amount of their time is spent with clients.

Building designers must acquire new clients with their visionary brilliance. Then, they must maintain the relationship with their follow-through on design. This includes mapping out their needs and wants. It also means recognizing the structural limitations of those needs and wants. You need to be able to manage their expectations without ostracizing them.

Not all client work is stressful. Building designers get to be part of clients’ excitement when they can see their dream home or business coming to fruition. You’ll be a big part of that!

10. Creative Minds Welcome

Trying to create an entire building from scratch isn’t for the creative faint of heart. You need to visualize something from completely nothing – and then turn around and figure out how to make it work in the physical world.

Yes, there’s math and engineering involved, but none of that would be possible without a firmly tuned creative side to guide the plan. This makes building design a great career path for students interested in STEM careers, even art students.


Building Design is a fascinating subject and career path for the right person. If you’ve read these facts and are excited about the prospect, now’s the time to start your future. The resources out there are as endless as your potential.


By Giovanni Valle

Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.

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