Q: I am a junior in high school and as I start to take these standardized tests (SAT, ACT, etc.), I need to have an idea of what major I want to go into. Since I was maybe 8 or 9 I have always wanted to be an architect so I can design buildings, structures whatever... but after doing much research, I am starting to think such majors as engineering, more specifically architectural engineering or civil engineering are more what I am interested in... So what I need is a little advice from people who have maybe gone through this: o Which should I choose? o Which is less "artsy" and more design? o Even though everyone tells me to do what I want to regardless of salary, what are average salaries for each? o Anything else I should know (advice, etc.)
A: You are taking the right approach to choosing a major in college. I'll give you my opinions, but you should take all the opinions you get and make your own decision. The choice between architecture and engineering is important, because they are quite different, even though they are closely related. Architects consider the entire building with respoect to its function, interior space use and efficiency, apperaance, and those types of things. The architect will design the building on those bases, and will get engineers, such as structural, to design the specific components to meet the architectural design. Obviously, Architecture is more artsy simply because of the conceptual work that is done. The engineer does more pure design with specific parameters from the architect. As far as pay goes, I believe that structural engineers are generally among the highest paid in te engineering profession. They also have a much more significant responsibbility for life safety. If an architect designs a building that leaks or looks lousy, people are mad and the architect receives a lot of criticism. If the structural engineer does a faulty design, the building may collapse and people may die. Architects make less than engineers, especially ay the entry level. Architect seem to have more opportunity to make a lot of money and stil be in architecture, while engineers usually have to get out of the actual engineering work to move ahead. Both Architects and engineers can open their own firms, but architects seem to stay with the design far much moreso than engineers. Architects will hire young architects, but will exercise direct control over the design porcess, especially when the 'concept' is involved. Engineers hire young engineers to do the actual design under the engineer's supervision, and then concentrates more on the selling process. There is actually no such thing as an architectural engineer, but several schools offer a dual degree program leading to a BA in Architecture and a BS in Engineering. This is usually a 5 year program.