An architect designs a building; however, an architectural engineer designs the engineering present inside of a building so the building can be safe, functional, and consistent with what the law requires. Architectural engineering work is analogous to mechanical engineers' or civil engineers' work; however, architectural engineering occurs within buildings as opposed to other settings. If you aspire to become an architectural engineer, you will generally need a college degree and postgraduate study.
Architectural engineers focus on a wide variety of things, such as developing plans and being involved in such building aspects as lighting, heating, air conditioning, and plumbing. The tasks architectural engineers perform are so varied and challenging, architectural engineering programs typically require five years of bachelor's degree-level study. Thus, if you hope to become an architectural engineer, you not only need high academic ability but also sufficient stamina to get through five years of coursework that includes the history of architecture, computer programming, physical science, and surveying.
Although many architectural engineers graduate from architectural engineering bachelor's degree programs, some architectural engineers graduate from architecture programs or engineering programs. Then, they take additional coursework to meet licensing requirements to become an architectural engineer. Thus, if you aspire to become an architectural engineer, you have some options in terms of how you academically pursue your goal.
After completion of the undergraduate training, you could choose to pursue a job. Working with the career services department at your college could be helpful in enabling you to find a job. You could also do an online job search for the purpose of finding a job.
Granted, if you do not pursue a job immediately after college, you could choose to go to graduate school to improve your knowledge and skills. If you go to graduate school for architectural engineering, keep in mind that the Master of Science (MS) degree can be useful because you gain increased knowledge of material that will be relevant to your career, such as computer design, building laws, building material, and building science. Also, you are able to get supervised research experience, which can be helpful for you on the job and in preparing you for doctoral study in the event that you decide to become a college professor some day.
Once you become an architectural engineer, you have various career options. You could focus on just being an architectural engineer. You could work in a job where the focus is on project supervising or building client relationships. By contrast, you could be involved with a job that requires focus on data analysis, cost estimation, and preparing bids. Or, you could choose to become a recruiter at a third-party staffing agency who recruits architectural engineers for jobs.