While an architect is a licensed design professional, an architectural designer is not. An architectural designer is one step below an architect when it comes to experience. Before an architect approves AREs and obtains their license, she is an architectural designer. Architects are qualified professionals who design residential, commercial or public buildings.
They create sketches, plans and technical drawings for customers and other professionals, such as engineers and lighting designers. This job requires advanced skills in CAD (computer-aided design) software, although sometimes hand-drawn sketches may still be required. Architectural designers can be people who have finished their studies and intend to get a license soon, or they can be people who don't want to get a license. In short, architectural designers are as creative as architects (even more so, according to some), but with fewer bureaucratic burdens.
Both architects and architectural designers are creative thinkers and understand how buildings are constructed and used. If you want the architect to manage the project and the bids, choose the contractor and subcontractors, control the money and supervise the works, you will charge an additional 5% to 10% of the cost of the project. Architects will draft contracts for contractors and research building regulations to ensure that the building code is complied with. When it comes to design skills, both an architect and a designer are perfectly capable of creating a great design for you.
When it comes to experience, an architectural designer is at least one level below a licensed architect. They usually pay less because they haven't been licensed; however, there's no reason to suppose that a licensed architect will produce “better” works than an unlicensed one. Arch, which is a combination of a bachelor's and master's degree in architecture that must be supplemented by additional years as an intern before obtaining the license. However, the disadvantage of hiring a designer is that, unlike architects, designers are not always insured against negligence or malpractice, since professional liability is rarely covered.
So if you're prepared to earn a little less, early in your career, architectural design could be the ideal career for you. As highly educated and trained professionals, an architect is responsible for protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public. If you study architecture at university, it will take you seven years to graduate, whether you continue with your degree or not. However, architectural designers are also likely to be paid less on average (see the “Wages in Architecture and Architectural Design” section below), reflecting the fact that they have not gone through the final qualification phase.