architect careers

Architect Jobs – Young Jobseeker Info

Architect jobs… did you know?

One of the great things about an architectural career is the variety involved. If you’re designing a bridge, you’ll think about who will cross it, how often, and how heavy or big any vehicles crossing it should be. If you’re designing a sports stadium or music arena you’ll be thinking about light and sound and how people will use that space and enjoy it. Architecture jobs are a balance of artistic creativity, know-how and understanding what people want and need out of the buildings they use.

Industry: Construction

Architect job trends

How much money can you make as an architect?

£27,500 – £90,000 (UK average)

Recent labour market information says you can earn on average £27,500 – £90,000 a year as an architect in the UK.

Your starting salary can vary because of factors like level of experience, training, location or the size of the company. Your salary as an architect will increase over time as you build skills, knowledge and experience.

You can also become self-employed, start your own business and set your own pay rates.

What entry qualifications and training do you need for this job?

School and university

There’s usually no quick route into architecture, which makes sense as you’ll need to know all kinds of fascinating things like art, art history, sociology, maths, physics, politics, finance, globalism, urban planning, retail and engineering. You’ll get an incredible insight into all these things when you do a university degree to become an architect. It can be a great way to spend your uni years – you’ll learn so much about life, and also discover which areas of architecture excite you the most!

Architects have to spend a long time at university, completing two degrees as well as two years of paid experience, before they can qualify. In order to be accepted onto an undergraduate degree course in architecture, you will need at least five good GCSEs or the equivalent (including English, maths and physics or chemistry) and three A levels.

Many universities prefer you to have at least one A level in maths or a science subject, but some don’t mind what you studied.

You may be glad to hear you don’t need art GCSEs and A-levels or their equivalents to become an architect – for example, if you love taking photos, you could use them to build a portfolio for your application to show your artistic sensibilities. Many universities will want to see a portfolio of sketches, artworks and drawings when you apply, but there are so many ways to show universities you’re ready to explore your creative side in new ways.

Some course providers accept the Access to Higher Education diploma rather than the above qualifications – always check before you apply.

The ARB has info on courses.

If you’re already working in an architectural practice but can’t study full-time, you could do the RIBA studio.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has more information on becoming an architect.

Architect qualifications

Your first step is to enrol in an undergraduate degree course in architecture that’s recognised by the Architects Registration Board. Once you’ve completed your three-year degree, you will need to spend up to 12 months gaining paid experience in an architectural practice. This training is known as Stage 1.

For your fifth and sixth years of training, you will need to return to university and take another degree. This may be an advanced degree such as the MArch, or the second half of your undergraduate degree (usually the BArch in this case). Which route you go down will depend on where you’ve studied.

You’ll then need to complete at least one more year of paid training, known as Stage 2, and then pass your final exams. Seven years after first starting university, you’ll be a fully qualified architect.

If you’re already working in an architect’s office and can’t study full-time, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) offers a three-part examination for office-based candidates instead of the above.


Architecture apprenticeships now exist, and currently come in two flavours:

Career progression and further qualifications

If you’re working for a private architectural firm, you could get promoted partner or associate.

In public sector roles, you could get promoted to lead architect.

You could also set up your own business, once you’ve learned the ins and outs of the job, or become a freelance architectural consultant.

You could also get the chance to work overseas.

As an architect, you’ll be expected to complete regular courses in Continuing Professional Development (CPD). These are organised by your employer and RIBA, and will help you keep up to date with developments in the field of architecture. Many architects also want to give themselves an edge or improve their skills by completing postgraduate qualifications in areas like civil engineering, town planning or conservation. These are offered by most universities that have an undergraduate architecture school.

What experience do you need for architectural jobs?

Work experience

Doing work experience in an architectural, construction, engineering or design environment can help you decide if this is the right career for you.

Any work experience where you have demonstrated your design and drawing, maths, IT or problem-solving skills can help your application.

Examples of relevant work experience include:

  • Work shadowing (even if it’s just for a day)
  • Work placements in a company
  • Work placements on a degree course
  • Year in Industry work experience programme for pre-university/undergraduates


There are quite a few volunteering opportunities for budding architects. You’ll expand your personal horizons as well as your skills, CV and book of networking contacts. Try these organisations on for size:

What skills do you need for architectural jobs?

What life and work skills do you need to be a great architect?

Start building these skills right now – sign up for free Young Professional training.

What does an architect do?

Knowing a little more about architecture will help you show employers that you understand what this job is about. It can also help you decide if it’s right for you.

A good architect needs to have a mind that’s both logical and artistic – in an ideal world, your designs will be beautiful as well as practical.

From sports stadiums to landmark skyscrapers, buildings all over the world need architects to design them. Maybe you’d like to get into interior architecture, which can see you designing homes and smaller buildings – even fashion boutiques. Maybe you’d like to preserve old buildings so they can be enjoyed for generations to come. Then again, maybe you’re especially interested in working on huge mega-projects like urban planning and infrastructure. Whatever type of architecture excites you most, you’ll combine your artistic eye with logical designs to dream up safe, cost-effective buildings that do their job well and look as good as possible. As any skyscraper architect knows, the sky really is the limit when you explore an architectural career!

DID YOU KNOW? UK chartered architects can work anywhere in the world without taking extra qualifications. Unlike some qualifications, architectural ones are recognised the whole world over – so you could be doing your job wherever you like!

Example job responsibilities:

  • Handling every part of a new building project, including visual design, safety, costs, and ways to meet environment/social/planning needs
  • Overseeing construction to make sure your design leaps off the page to become the reality you imagined.
  • Working with clients to produce designs they’ll love. This can involve calls, emails, meetings and travel. It can also tweaking original designs on their journey to becoming a reality you can visit, touch and see.

Your first steps into architect jobs

To find jobs for young people in this role, search on job boards for positions with these words in the title:

  • Architectural technician
  • Apprentice architectural technician
  • Junior architectural technician
  • Architectural tech apprenticeship
  • Architectural assistant architect
  • Graduate architect

Useful organisations and links

Construction jobs you might like...

View job descriptions with average UK salary, useful qualifications and a variety of routes into this career. Or see our full list of careers in construction!

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