Architectural engineers are responsible for planning and designing buildings and other large structures. They apply engineering and scientific principles to ensure that residential, commercial and industrial buildings are safe and fit the needs of the client. Architectural engineers use computer-aided design programs to create models of proposed buildings as well as construction drawings. High school students who are interested in becoming an architectural engineer should take courses in mathematics and art or design.
Architectural Engineer Degrees
In order to become an architectural engineer, students must have a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering. Many schools offer a Bachelor of Science in architectural engineering, while others offer a Bachelor of Arts in architecture. The degree in architectural engineering generally requires more courses in mathematics and science, while the architecture program is more focused on design.
Algebra and Pre-Calculus
Like other engineering degrees, a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering requires a substantial amount of mathematics. Students can prepare by taking math courses in high school, starting with algebra 1, 2, and 3. These classes cover topics like integers, radicals, rational numbers, linear equations and inequalities. After algebra, students can take pre-calculus, which goes a step further in focusing on graphing linear equations and inequalities using a graphing calculator.
High school students who want to prepare for a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering can take more advanced math classes like calculus. This class introduces students to concepts they will encounter in the bachelor’s program. Calculus, the study of the rate of change of functions, is generally available as an elective course in high schools, and some schools offer an advanced placement course that may be transferred for college credit. In calculus, students learn how to take derivatives and integrals in one dimension.
While the architectural engineering degree is primarily focused on the technical aspects of building design, the program also requires students to consider the artistic elements as well. Architectural engineers have to balance between aesthetic and functional concerns, so a strong background in art and design is important. Students in high school can begin to prepare for the design challenges by taking art classes like drawing, graphic design, sculpture and photography.