Build a Landmark Career in Architecture and Construction

Architecture and construction are highly valuable professions that help to shape our national landscapes, cityscapes, and infrastructure. While architects help design efficient, innovative, or aesthetically sublime structures, construction professionals help see those plans to fruition. Embarking on a career in architecture and construction can be fulfilling, offering a blend of creativity, technical skill, and the opportunity to shape the built environment. 

As existing buildings begin to age and new projects are approved, professionals in architecture and construction will continually be needed to maintain and grow the physical framework of society. Continue reading to learn more about pursuing a degree in architecture and construction, the array of career opportunities it unlocks, and the economic outlook for the field, providing a solid foundation for those considering this dynamic and impactful career path.

More Architects and Construction Professionals of Color Are Needed

More Black architects and construction professionals are critical for fostering diversity and inclusion within the built environment. This call for increased representation is not just about numbers; it’s about bringing a more comprehensive range of perspectives, ideas, and solutions to the table, which can lead to more innovative and culturally sensitive designs. 

Black professionals in these fields can play a pivotal role in addressing and rectifying the systemic inequalities and biases in urban planning and architectural design. Their involvement ensures that the design and construction of communities genuinely meet the needs of all their inhabitants, reflecting a diverse society. 

Increasing the number of Black architects and construction professionals can also be a powerful form of social advocacy, providing role models and opening doors for future generations, thereby creating a more equitable and inclusive industry.

In the US, the architecture and construction industries show a gradual increase in diversity, but significant disparities remain, particularly for people of color.

For architects, the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) reports increased racial and ethnic diversity in the field. In 2020, data from NCARB’s Record holders revealed that around 22 % of architects in the United States were from racial or ethnic minority groups. However, this growth was primarily seen in Asian and Hispanic or Latino populations. The percentage of Black or African American architects remained stagnant at two percent, mirroring the figures from ten years prior. Supporting Black students in architecture programs is one of the most effective ways to create a more equitable future in the industry.

Career Opportunities and Job Outlook

Graduates with a degree in architecture and construction can look forward to various career opportunities. Here are some of the roles they might pursue:

  • Architect: Designing new buildings and spaces while considering functionality, safety, and aesthetics.
  • Construction Manager: Overseeing construction projects from start to finish, ensuring they are completed on time and within budget.
  • Urban Planner: Develop plans and programs for land use in towns, cities, and counties to accommodate population growth and revitalize physical facilities.
  • Landscape Architect: Designing outdoor spaces and landscapes to be both beautiful and functional.
  • Sustainability Consultant: Focusing on creating environmentally sustainable designs and construction practices.

Economic Outlook

The economic outlook for careers in architecture and construction is positive. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in architecture and construction is expected to grow in the coming years, driven by the need for new buildings and infrastructure projects. Specifically, the employment of architects is projected to grow by five percent from 2022 to 2032, while construction managers can expect a similar growth rate over the same period, faster than the average for all occupations.

HBCUs Can Help You Start a Career in Architecture and Construction

Given the recent Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action in college admissions, more Black students are likely to turn to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) for their education. In response, these institutions will do everything they can to meet increased student demand. HBCUs help more students earn college degrees, compete successfully for well-paying jobs in competitive career fields, improve workforce diversity, and increase upward economic mobility.

People of all ages, races, and life paths can help to improve diversity in architecture and construction disciplines by supporting scholarships and other forms of funding for HBCUs with related programs. You can make a difference in the lives of students studying architecture and construction in one easy step by making a donation today.

Want to learn more about this possible career path and college major? Have questions about which UNCF colleges and universities offer degrees related to architecture or construction? Looking for help with financing this degree? 

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Tuskegee architecture students in front of statue

Tuskegee Architecture Students Win First National Organization of Minority Architects Student Competition as an HBCU

How to Prepare for Success

Prospective majors should understand math, science, and basic engineering well. Construction and design experience will naturally be a major asset as well. Solid design, analytical, and problem-solving skills, collaboration and team-building abilities, and good communication skills are also essential.

Start by focusing on mathematics, particularly geometry, and algebra, as they’re crucial for understanding architectural concepts and construction calculations. Enhancing your spatial awareness and visual thinking through drawing, modeling, and computer-aided design (CAD) will also be beneficial. 

Engaging in courses or workshops that offer insights into architectural history, design principles, and construction technology to build your knowledge base is also beneficial. Hands-on experience through internships or projects in related fields can provide practical understanding and professional connections. 

Improving your communication and project management skills will also be invaluable, as these programs often involve collaborative projects. Cultivating a portfolio of your work can also highlight your skills and creativity to prospective colleges and employers.

UNCF Schools to Consider

One UNCF-member school offers a specific architecture and construction degree: Tuskegee University. Engineering is another popular major for those going into the same field, with programs offered by these UNCF-member schools:

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Professional Organizations

There are various professional architecture and construction organizations that offer more insight into working in those fields. A sample list includes:

Scholarships Available

There’s no better way to start on your path toward a successful career in architecture and construction than with a solid financial foundation. Fortunately, many scholarships are available through UNCF. Keep an eye on the UNCF website for current scholarship opportunities and announcements. 

Search for specific scholarships and view those that are currently accepting applications here! Students should also check with each college or university to see if there are additional scholarships available to study architecture and construction.

As you explore your options, be sure to use our guide to applying for scholarships and grants. You can also receive guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in architecture and construction. Submit the form on our website to get started. And follow us on UNCF social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!

You can also show your support for students pursuing careers and furthering equity in architecture and construction by contributing to UNCF member schools. Education is the greatest tool we have in creating a just and equitable society where economic mobility is available to all. Help us achieve this future by donating today!