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Architectural Technologies Skills Guide

Recommended High School Level Background Courses

  • *Algebra I (required)
  • Recordkeeping
  • Woods
  • *Geometry
  • Art
  • Metals
  • Physics
  • Photography
  • Electronics
  • *Sociology
  • Drafting
  • Computer Literacy

* Courses available in the Academic Achievement Center or the
High School Completion Center.

Basic Skills in the Program and on the Job


First-semester texts are written at a twelfth grade level and above. These texts are used as a central feature of the courses, with tests based on a combination of text and lecture. Some important information in the texts is contained in photographs, dimensional diagrams, and charts.

Other reading materials used in the program and on the job include spec sheets and reference materials such as trade journals, manuals (e.g., International Building Code and Architectural Graphics Standards), and building materials catalogs.

View more information on reading skills in the Architectural Technologies program.


The required English course for this program is Composition I (ENG105). In other courses, speaking activities include group interaction and discussions of student work with fellow students, the instructor, and advisory board members. On the job, drafters meet with both architects and clients to discuss projects. Strong listening as well as speaking skills are needed in these situations.

Writing activities in the classroom include short answer essays on tests and brief summaries of textbook chapters. Students learn to write estimates and make notes on their drawings. Legible lettering is essential. On the job, they will also prepare weekly and monthly reports and write field orders describing changes needed in a project.

View more information on language skills in the Architectural Technologies program.


A strong foundation in basic arithmetic, including geometric formulas, is needed in the first semester to prepare building estimates. Trig functions are also used to determine pitch of roofs. During the first semester, students are also taught to read architectural and engineering scales. They must obtain figures from charts and use them in other calculations. Mathematical accuracy is critical in the planning of structurally sound buildings.

Introductory Algebra is a prerequisite for the program; some topics from this course will be applied during the first semester. In the following semesters, students will take Applied Math I and II (MAT 772 and 773).

View more information on math skills in the Architectural Technologies program.


Successful students in this program demonstrate dedication to achieving high quality work and a fundamental curiosity about how buildings go together; they want to see the parts of a whole and how they work together. They are also able to visualize three-dimensional objects from two-dimensional drawings. They must make careful comparisons in order to choose appropriate building materials based on both cost and structural considerations. Their overall task, both in the program and on the job, involves following a detailed step-by-step sequence in creating a plan for a structure. In completing this sequence, they must learn to establish time lines for the project and budget their time to get the project completed by the deadline.

View more information on learning skills in the Architectural Technologies program.


In the first semester, students are taught to use AutoCAD. Although instructors start with the basics, some familiarity with computers is necessary. For instance, students will be expected to use Microsoft Windows to start programs, manage files and folders, and resize windows. In addition to using CAD programs on the job, workers might also use databases to access information on building codes or standards, word processing programs, and spreadsheet applications.

View more information on computer skills in the Architectural Technologies program.

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