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Can Architects Work For The Government (Pros and Cons)

Architects will be happy to learn they can work for the government.

A government position is ideal for many reasons, including fair salaries, job stability, structured work hours, professional development opportunities, excellent insurance, and retirement plans.

However, some architects may find a government position unsatisfying due to limiting work, slow-moving projects, and hierarchical structures.

Read through this helpful guide to find out if a government job is the right choice for you.

Can Architects Work For The Government?

The government does hire architects regularly, as they need expert designers and planners for governmental departments, agencies, and organizations.

Additionally, they need architects to help with public works, functional infrastructure, and state, city, or town aesthetics.

The federal, state, and regional governments hire architects to assist with these projects.

In some cases, they may hire external architects, self-employed architects, or use architectural firms to find professionals.

Since they consistently rely on architectural and engineering teams, they also hire architects for stable positions.

What Does A Government Architect Do?

A government architect performs many duties, depending on their rank in their team or department.

They may carry out some or all of the following:

  • Consulting with boards, agencies, or organizations to determine the goals of a new build, renovation, or restoration.
  • Designing buildings or infrastructure.
  • Preparing technical drawings or computer-aided designs of the work.
  • Planning materials, team members, schedules, and costs.
  • Ensuring building designs and their components meet all codes, regulations, and laws.
  • Ensuring any renovation or restoration work respects or protects essential elements.
  • Monitoring construction site activities regularly to make sure builds are following design plans.

Architects may qualify for different job positions, depending on their education and experience.

Potential career options include senior architects, architectural project managers, junior architects, architectural technicians, architecture technologists, urban planners, construction managers, landscapers, and interior designers.

Is Working For The Government A Good Idea?

Many individuals enjoy working for the government, as they have an interest in the type of projects available.

Architects may enjoy working on government or government-regulated buildings such as office buildings, city halls, courthouses, prisons, police stations, army bases, schools, hospitals, and libraries.

They may have a passion for designing and developing aesthetically-pleasing green spaces and parks, public courtyards, bridges, highways, and parkways.

Additionally, government positions offer job security.

As an architect, job opportunities and job stability can be challenging aspects.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are only 9.400 job openings per year for architects.

Since this is the case, a government job can be a dream career for many architects.

If they work hard, showcase their skills, and accomplish their projects, they can secure a career for life.

These are the main reasons working for the government can be an excellent choice.

Find out more about the pros and cons below!

What Are The Pros And Cons?

If you would like to work for the government, you may find it beneficial for many reasons:

  • Fair Salary: Finding a firm that will pay you the equivalent of your worth can be challenging. Governments fix their salaries based on your education and experience.
  • Job Stability: Governments create jobs out of necessity. Typically, their projects and departments are long-lived.
  • Work Hours: In most cases, government employees have set work hours. There are few cases where they expect employees to work overtime.
  • Professional Development: Governments need their employees to stay up-to-date with their field’s latest knowledge and skills. For this reason, they provide educational resources and training regularly.
  • Benefits: Government jobs come with excellent benefits. You can enjoy the best insurance packages, reasonable paid time-off and leaves, and retirement planning.

However, working for the government may not be a good choice for everyone.

A few downsides:

  • Limited Work: The government always has projects for their architects. However, the types of buildings and infrastructure can be repetitive. That said, this may be excellent for those who enjoy predictability or specialize in a specific kind of building.
  • Slow-Moving Projects: Projects do not move quickly within the government. It may take months for boards to approve designs, receive funding, hire a team, or start construction.
  • Hierarchical Structures: While hierarchies exist in nearly every corporation, the structure is critical within the government. Every role or position has a specific set of responsibilities. Furthermore, it can be challenging to advance career-wise in some domains, such as architecture.

What Do You Need To Work For The Government?

Whether you wish to work for the federal, state, or local government or one of its entities, you will need at least:

  • U.S. Citizenship
  • Successful Passing of a Background Check
  • An undergraduate degree (or higher) in architecture, architecture, engineering, or a related field.
  • Specialized architecture experience for large commercial buildings or government facilities. Years of preferred experience may vary depending on the position.
  • Architecture License

How To Find An Opportunity?

Architects looking to work in government can find jobs by:

  • Look for architecture firms specializing in government projects or working directly with the government.
  • Contact their city, region, or state government to find out about job openings or applications.
  • Browse official government websites for job listings such as USA.Gov or USAJobs.Gov
  • Search job listing websites such as GovernmentJobs, FederalJobs, Indeed, Glassdoor, or LinkedIn.

What City Pays Architects The Most?

According to Indeed, reporting and organizing architect salaries across the United States, the top five ranking cities are:

  1. New York, NY: $123, 097 per year
  2. Washington, DC: $123, 019 per year
  3. Chicago, IL: $115, 335 per year
  4. Atlanta, GA: $111, 692 per year
  5. Austin, TX: $110, 145 per year

These salaries are all well above the national average of $80,180 per year.

What Percent Of Architects Are Self-Employed?

Some individuals prefer to work for themselves rather than for architectural firms, construction companies, or the government.

Roughly 17% of architects are self-employed workers.

Comparatively, 71% work for an architectural service company or firm, 3% for construction companies, and 3% for the government.

Final Thoughts

A government job can be an excellent decision for many architects, securing fair wages, long careers, and unmatched benefits packages.

Likewise, architects working in the government have the chance to work on interesting, functional builds and infrastructure.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can earn a government position.

References

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/architects.htm

https://www.usa.gov/government-jobs

https://www.usajobs.gov/

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/architects.htm