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Published on: 5 Jun 2009
What is an architect?

An architect is essentially a trained designer licensed to plan and design buildings.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is the main organisation for supporting the architecture profession.

Becoming an architect

The practical, technical and academic requirements for becoming a licensed architect vary according to different countries. In the UK most of your studies will be studio based for design work and tutorials. There will also be additional history, theory, technology and computer-aided design (CAD) classes. Some colleges offer courses in specialist areas such as sustainability, urban design and construction technology.

The RIBA validates courses at more than 40 schools of architecture in the UK. Because entry requirements vary, you are advised to contact individual course operators for entry requirements and course structure.

The ideal architecture candidate will have studied a mixture of arts and sciences. It is not necessary to have studied art, but a passion for drawing and an interest in design and three-dimensional modelling would be useful.

A non-mature student would typically need at least two subjects at A level or one A and two AS levels, but some schools recognise other further education qualifications such as BTEC national diplomas. Mature students will be assessed on other grounds.

Salary expectations

Salaries vary enormously in architecture and depend on the size of the scheme, how well known the practice is, and levels of qualifications.

Part one architects, or first year outs, will earn roughly between £17,000 - £20,000. This will increase gradually to around £29,000 for part three and £34,000 - £42,000 for a project architect with three to five years post-registration.

After 10-15 years in role expect to earn somewhere between £36,000 - £80,000, depending on the practice.

The Fees Bureau produces an annual survey of earnings showing regional variations on these salaries. The Royal Institute of Architects also has a more on what you should expect to earn as an architect.

For more tips on how to become an architect visit the RIBA, Careers in Architecture or if in Scotland the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.


Search architecture jobs here.