Architecture, Construction and Engineering

When looking at some of the curricula offered at Henry Ford Community College, I found several courses training in the trades, along with different levels of architecture, construction and engineering. In the 2011 Occupational Outlook, the listing of careers related to these areas was lengthy.
According to Outlook, “Although most institutions offer programs in the major branches, only a few offer programs in the smaller specialties…programs with the same title may vary in content. For example, some programs emphasize industrial practices, preparing students for a job in industry, whereas others are more theoretical and are designed to prepare students for graduate work. Therefore, students should investigate curricula and check accreditations carefully before selecting a college.”
In the construction industry, construction managers work with architects, various levels of engineers and designers. The construction manager has the role of a project manager. As the project manager, they must coordinate the tasks and flow of an entire project with multiple skill levels and training. Therefore the project manager (construction manager) must be knowledgeable and competent in what is entailed in these different disciplines. Outlook describes the education for construction managers as on-going, as the technology in projects continues to advance and change.
When reviewing these careers, I found that mathematics, science and design are basic to all three. The career paths can be evolving or overlapping. Self-employment and entrepreneurship are quite common to these fields, and salaried positions with private and government companies are also prevalent. In regard to engineering, careerpath.com states: “Engineers apply the principles of science and mathematics to develop economical solutions to technical problems. Their work is the link between scientific discoveries and the commercial applications that meet societal and consumer needs.”
The information from one four-year school in the area, Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, states that those who are looking at a major in Architectural Engineering “will study the fundamentals of engineering and building construction, as well as architectural history and design, math, the physical sciences, computer programming and surveying.”
At HFCC, “The Associate in Applied Science degree program in Architecture/Construction Technology teaches architectural CAD/drafting and building construction methods and materials. This includes both residential and commercial building types. A student will get an opportunity to gain experience in residential and commercial construction materials, computer-aided drafting and design, cost estimating, construction methods, presentation techniques, residential construction practices, and use of surveying equipment. Students learn the principles and skills of the architectural profession supported by an understanding of building construction through ‘hands-on’ activities designed to provide students with a practical ‘skill-based’ education.”
Knowledge of computers is also a must, particularly if you plan to be competitive and move up in these fields. Also, green industries offer growing career opportunities as more and more companies move toward environmentally-sound practices.
In my next article I will focus on each of the fields separately.

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