What is an Architectural Engineering Technology Degree?

Architectural engineering technologists, also known as architectural technologists, play a vital role in turning the design ideas of architects into practical, workable buildings.

They help research and prepare architectural drawings using special drafting software. They research building codes, test building materials for suitability, calculate cost estimates, prepare building models based on architects’ designs, and oversee construction projects by monitoring and inspecting the work of builders.

Programs in architectural engineering technology are comprised of coursework and hands-on learning opportunities in architectural design, computer-aided design and drafting, building materials and structures, residential and commercial construction, architectural history, and more.

Program Options

It is important to select a program that is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Associate Degree in Architectural Engineering Technology Degree – Two Year Duration
Architectural engineering technology students in associate programs learn to convert designs of architects and engineers into working drawings and specifications.

In addition, they learn to plan, supervise, and conduct preliminary cost estimates of construction projects. The associate degree is the most common credential held by architectural engineering technologists.

Here is a snapshot of a typical associate level curriculum:

  • Technical Communications – a study of various technical communications such as definitions, processes, instructions, descriptions, and technical reports
  • College Algebra – topics include polynomial, rational, logarithmic, and exponential functions; inequalities; systems of equations and inequalities; matrices; determinants; simple linear programming; solutions of higher degree polynomials; combinatorial algebra, including the binomial theorem; and introduction to probability
  • World Geography – a geographic analysis of the regions of the world: North America, South America, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa; the diversity of each region is emphasizing its physical environment, natural resources, social, cultural, economic, and political systems
  • Introduction to CAD – the operation of a computer aided drafting system; includes interaction with a CAD station to produce technical drawings
  • Architectural Drafting – an introduction to the principles of architectural planning and design with an emphasis on residential and light commercial construction
  • College Trigonometry – topics include circular functions; trigonometric identities; solution of right and oblique triangles; solution of trigonometric equations; polar coordinates; complex numbers, including De Moivre’s Theorem (a formula form computing powers of complex numbers); vectors; conic sections; sequences; and series
  • History of Architecture – a study of the origins, influences, and aesthetics that underlie the various styles of architecture from prehistoric times to the present
  • Architectural Graphics 1 – students will produce a set of working drawings of a residential or commercial building; exercises incorporate construction methods, materials, building code requirements, site development, and technical skills required to draw and graphically present projects; a further study of architectural design; introduction to perspective construction (a technique for depicting three-dimensional volumes and spatial relationships in two dimensions)
  • Construction Methods and Estimating – basic construction techniques with emphasis on cost estimating; introduction to quantity takeoff, the process whereby a construction cost estimator reviews the drawings and plans to forecast upcoming construction costs; tabulation of data in spreadsheet format
  • Building Systems 1 – a study of the fundamental concepts of design and construction techniques in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings
  • Physics – topics include mechanics, wave motion, sound, heat, electromagnetism, optics, and modern physics (physics based on the two major breakthroughs of the early 20th century: relativity and quantum mechanics)
  • Engineering Computer Applications – the utilization of applications software to solve engineering technology problems
  • Building Systems 2 – the mechanical systems, electrical systems, and code requirements for residential, commercial, and industrial buildings
  • Architectural Computer Graphics – a study of computer aided design (CAD) commands with architectural applications and routine; students will produce a complete set of working drawings of a residential or commercial building using the computer as the drafting tool
  • Surveying – surveying theory and practice, care and use of instruments; traversing procedures (a traverse is a series of connected lines whose lengths and directions are to be measured; the process of surveying to find such measurements is known as traversing); and computation of closure; differential and trigonometric leveling and computation of the area of real property
  • Statics and Strengths of Materials – external and internal forces in structures and/or machines, including conditions of equilibrium, systems of force, moments of inertia, and friction; the stress/ strain relationships in materials
  • Concrete and Steel Design – the study of reinforced concrete and steel structural components
  • Architectural Graphics 2 – students will produce a model and set of working drawings of a complex architectural project
  • International Building and Residential Codes – an introduction to the international building codes and the international residential codes, as well as local code requirements

Bachelor’s Degree in Architectural Engineering Technology Degree – Four Year Duration
In addition to covering all of the subject matter of associate level programs, the bachelor’s curriculum incorporates advanced courses in the architectural, structural, and mechanical aspects of the design and construction of buildings.

This level of undergraduate education prepares students for careers in the field, as well as for successful entry into graduate programs in architecture and related areas.

Degrees Similar to Architectural Engineering Technology

A degree in architecture will appeal to individuals who have an interest in and appreciation for both the sciences and the arts. This is because architecture is itself the art and science of designing and engineering structures and buildings. It is a field with a foundation in creativity, technology, and social and cultural trends.

Architectural Engineering
Degree programs in architectural engineering combine architecture and engineering. Their goal is to produce engineers with technical skills in all aspects of building design and construction. Courses, therefore, cover subjects like architectural drawing and design, building construction, lighting and acoustics, energy systems, and fire safety.

Building Inspection
Degree programs in building inspection prepare students to work as building inspectors, who ensure that construction and renovation projects meet building codes and standards, zoning regulations, and contract specifications. Students learn how to recognize construction defects in areas like building foundations and frames, electrical wiring, plumbing, insulation, heating systems, drainage, and sewers.

Computer-Aided Drafting and Design
Computer-aided drafting and design (CADD) is a subfield of engineering which deals with the drafting and design of objects and materials through the use of specialized software that visualizes designs as modular 3D computer models.

Drafting Technology
This degree field teaches students to use computer programs to create specialized drawings that are used in engineering, construction, and manufacturing.

Interior Architecture
The focus of interior architecture is interior construction versus interior design. An example of the work of interior architects is the transformation of a centuries-old church into a residential building. The goal is to preserve the heritage exterior while creatively adapting the interior space. The field of interior architecture is more technical than interior design. It involves design analysis and collaboration with builders and contractors.

Interior Design
Design degree programs in interior design teach students how to apply both technical/scientific and creative/artistic solutions to produce functional and attractive spaces within a building.

Surveying Engineering
Students of surveying engineering learn how to use geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and various technologies to measure and map land surfaces and their features.

Skills You’ll Learn

Students of architectural engineering technology gain a considerable set of soft skills that are very transferable to any field of work:

  • Ability to work independently or as part of a team
  • Ability to work well under time and budget pressures
  • Analysis / Problem-solving / Design thinking
  • Attention to detail
  • Budgeting
  • Communication / Relationship-building
  • Creativity / Imagination / Vision
  • Drawing / Computer-aided design and drafting (CADD)
  • Mathematical skills
  • Planning and organization
  • Presentation
  • Project management
  • Spatial Reasoning / Visualization

What Can You Do with an Architectural Engineering Technology Degree?

Architectural engineering technology graduates work in both the private and public sectors. The following are some of their most common employers:

  • Architectural / engineering firms
  • Building contractors / construction firms
  • Municipal government departments
  • Construction product manufacturers and material suppliers
  • Real estate development companies
  • Surveying companies
  • Drafting services
  • Interior design firms
  • Utility companies
  • Colleges and universities
  • Self employment / private practice

Job titles include:

  • Architect Assistant
  • Architectural Engineering Technology Instructor
  • Architectural Model Maker
  • Architectural Renderer
  • Architectural Technician
  • Building Materials Sales Associate
  • Building Plan / Code Inspector
  • Computer Aided Design (CAD) Drafter
  • Construction Supervisor
  • Cost Estimator
  • Design Coordinator
  • Engineering Technician
  • Facilities Specialist
  • Field Inspector
  • Manufacturing Architectural Product Manager
  • Product Supply Representative
  • Project Coordinator
  • Specification Writer (an architectural specification is a a written document describing in detail the scope of work, materials to be used, methods of installation, and quality of workmanship for a parcel of work to be placed under contract)
  • Structural Designer


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