Updated December 2022
Like the idea of working with architects to bring new buildings to life? Want to get into the architecture field without investing years in university training? A building design diploma could be just what you need.
This training teaches building design principles, the Ontario Building Code, and drafting software like AutoCAD and Revit. Most building design programs take well under two years, and some can be completed in just 12 months. It's the quickest way to start a career in architecture.
But what might that career look like? What kinds of opportunities are open to you once you graduate?
Read on to explore six different career paths you could take with a building design diploma.
1. RESIDENTIAL DESIGN
Many building design graduates focus on the places people live: houses, cottages, condo developments, and so on. Some go even more specific and focus on particular types of rooms, like kitchens or bathrooms.
You could be involved with custom home builds, renovations, or additions.
The cool thing about residential projects is that they can usually be completed more quickly. You'll get to see the fruits of your labour in less time.
Working in residential design gives you the chance to participate in a creative, highly personal process that turns a homeowner's vision into reality.
2. LANDSCAPE DESIGN
Building design can also encompass the outdoor environment. That includes things like gazebos, porches, and decks. Today, many decks are multi-level structures that feature pergolas, hot tubs, fireplaces, BBQ grills, outdoor kitchens, and even TVs.
As the building design technician, you will help figure out how to incorporate all those elements.
You will produce the detailed plans that indicate how the exterior design will look and what materials will be used in its construction.
3. COMMERCIAL OR CIVIC DESIGN
Want to help create new offices, restaurants, retail stores, fitness centers, or medical clinics?
Commercial and civic buildings have very different design needs than private homes. With these projects, you have to consider things like parking, elevators, bathroom amenities, emergency exits, accessibility laws, and loading bays.
And this is a high-opportunity area. According to BuildForce Canada, non-residential construction is on the rise in Ontario. Over the coming years, the province will need more design technicians who can help construct museums, healthcare facilities, and other public buildings.
4. INDUSTRIAL DESIGN
Building design technicians can also work on smaller-sized warehouses, factories, breweries, and manufacturing plants.
Industrial buildings are all about functionality and efficient workflow. They need to accommodate heavy machinery and allow people to move about in a logical, safe way.
These types of buildings tend to have open floor plans, higher ceilings, wider hallways, and bigger doors. They must also meet industry-specific safety standards.
5. PRODUCT DESIGN
You could also use your building design diploma as a springboard to a career in architectural product design.
Ikenna Okpara had a background in electronics before completing the building design course at Herzing College. He now works for a company that specializes in high-end lighting.
"Zaneen Lighting is an exclusive distributor of European designed and manufactured architectural, design, and exterior lighting products. I was hired as an Electrical Lighting Laboratory Rep.
I design and edit products with CAD software applications. My electrical background also allows me to test European lighting fixtures and applications for quality standards.
It's the perfect combination of my skills."
6. DESIGNING WITH SPECIFIC MATERIALS
Some building design technicians even focus on particular materials, like wood or steel.
That's how Albino Jr Geanga started in the field after he graduated from Herzing's building design program in 2018.
"In my first job after Herzing, we were doing steel works. We designed architectural steel features and steel detailing.
But now, I just joined a new company and my new job is in timber design and detailing. All of the projects are related to architectural design.
That's the advantage if you are in the field of architecture. There are so many specializations to choose from, depending on the discipline you are interested in."
Do you need a licence to become a building design technician?
No. However, if you want to call yourself an "architectural technologist," you will need to fulfill specific training requirements and pass a challenging licensing exam.
Architectural technologists are licensed by the Ontario Association of Architects. They need to complete a three-year program at an approved Ontario college and get at least 5,580 hours of relevant work experience to qualify for licensing.
Building design technicians do not have to go through this process. But that means they can't do everything an architectural technologist can do -- like personally supervise and direct architectural services for a building.
On the plus side, becoming a building design technician takes much less time and still offers a wide variety of employment opportunities at architecture firms, design companies, and construction companies.
KICK-START YOUR CAREER WITH A BUILDING DESIGN DIPLOMA
Interested in learning more about training and careers in building design?
Explore the Building Design Technician diploma program at Herzing College Toronto. It takes just 12 months to complete and includes a two-month work placement at a local design firm.
The diploma is taught by a licensed architect and includes preparation for the provincial building code (BCIN) exam. Passing the exam allows you to become a registered designer who can "stamp" building drawings when applying for permits. That's a key advantage.
Click below to learn more about the building design program and chat live with an admissions advisor. We're here to help!