Architectural technicians play a key role in bringing homes, offices, and other buildings to life. They create the detailed technical drawings that transform an architect’s or engineer’s vision into reality.
If you have an eye for structure and form, and enjoy being both creative and methodical, this could be an excellent career choice for you.
Even better: The training to become an architectural technician is relatively quick (no degree required!) And the Quebec government expects demand in this field to remain steady for the next few years.
So how do you go about becoming an architectural technician?
These 5 simple steps can get you started.
1. UNDERSTAND THE ROLE OF AN ARCHITECTURAL TECHNICIAN
The first step is to make sure you’re clear about what architectural technicians actually do.
Architectural technicians produce detailed building plans for construction projects.
They take the design concepts developed by an architect or engineer and create blueprints, schematics, and technical drawings. Some experienced technicians even provide creative input in the early stages of a project.
They’re responsible for ensuring that the final plans stay true to the original concept, comply with building codes, and meet client requirements.
In this role, you can expect to do things like:
☑️ Gathering information from construction managers and materials suppliers
☑️ Crafting 2D and 3D drawings that include plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems, along with landscaping details
☑️ Figuring out how much of each material is needed for a project
☑️ Estimating project costs
☑️ Carrying out site visits to check on progress and modify designs if required
2. RESEARCH POTENTIAL AREAS OF SPECIALIZATION
Think about what type of architecture interests you most.
Many architectural technicians focus on new builds and renovations in the residential sector (i.e. houses and condos).
You could also concentrate on commercial buildings (such as stores and offices), industrial buildings (such as factories and warehouses), or municipal buildings (such as schools and libraries).
Another option is to develop specialized expertise in a certain domain, like green architecture. This involves designing eco-friendly structures.
Within this specialty, you will focus on choosing renewable materials, maximizing a building’s energy efficiency, and minimizing the structure’s impact on the surrounding environment.
Some colleges (such as Herzing) offer green architecture training that prepares graduates for roles at mainstream firms as well as those that focus specifically on eco architecture.
3. REFLECT ON THE SKILLS ARCHITECTURAL TECHNICIANS NEED
You can learn the technical stuff like CAD software and building codes in an architecture course at a trade school or college. But that isn’t all you need to thrive as an architectural technician.
It’s also important to have:
☑️ Meticulous attention to detail
☑️ Strong organization and planning skills
☑️ Good problem-solving abilities
Herzing instructor Sam Graceffa says this field requires a special mix of traits.
"Most successful students have artistic/creative skills along with good spatial vision. Also, it's very helpful if you can visualize concepts in 3D.
You will also need soft skills like good communication, the ability to truly listen to the client, and fully understand their needs and requirements.
After all, architecture is a client-driven domain. You must have a strong sense of customer service."
4. COMPLETE COLLEGE-LEVEL ARCHITECTURE TRAINING
The next step is to complete a college diploma in architectural design. This takes about two years.
A good program will teach you how to:
☑️ Analyze a site
☑️ Select building materials
☑️ Use industry-standard software like AutoCAD
☑️ Create 2D blueprints as well as 3D models
☑️ Follow building codes
☑️ Estimate costs
A program like Herzing’s that focuses on eco architecture includes all of that plus training in green building standards and techniques.
Sam says his students develop their skills through plenty of hands-on design projects.
“For instance, we do an ecological renovation project where students work on updating and renovating older buildings to be more eco-friendly.
We also do a site analysis and feasibility project, which ties together a lot of different elements like environmental analysis, topography, site planning, building codes, and green building design.
Every student completes the program with a professional portfolio of design projects that are extremely relevant to the current economic environment in Quebec and Canada.”
5. GET PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE THROUGH AN INTERNSHIP
If you’re looking to get started as an architectural technician, there’s nothing better than actual work experience.
A good training program will include an internship that gives you the opportunity to connect with local employers, hone your skills, and build your confidence.
Sam says the aim of the internship is for students to apply what they’ve learned in class.
“This is their chance to work in a real architecture environment. They get to assist senior architects in their designs, and in some cases, create concept designs (3D models) for clients.
The internship is a very important part of training, as it helps students transition from school to their first job as professional building designers.”
READY TO BECOME AN ARCHITECTURAL TECHNICIAN?
Want short, practical architecture training that can help you get into the job market quickly? Especially interested in eco-friendly building design?
Have a look at the Sustainable Architecture diploma from Herzing College Montreal.
It’s just 24 months long, including a 13-week internship.
Students get thorough training in design principles, building codes, drafting software, and ecologically responsible design and construction techniques.
Click below to get complete details on the program and chat live with an Admissions Advisor. We’re here to help!