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Career Spotlights ~ Architect
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Basic Info
  • Hours: 30 - 40 per week
  • Starting Salary: £17,000 + per year

If you enjoy design and you are interested in buildings and construction, this could be the perfect job for you. Architexts draw plans for new buildings, and for restoring and conserving old ones. Their work also involves planning the layout of groups of buildings and the spaces around them. To be an architect you will have to finish a five-year University course and complete at least two years' professional experience.

Architects needs to be methodical and logical. They need to have design and computer/CAD skills. They also need to be able to work under pressure and to deadlines.

The Work

As an architext, you would create a design that takes all of your clients' requirements into account, as well as other issues including:

  • Budget
  • Safety
  • Social Factors
  • Building Regulations
  • Planning Laws

Once a design is agreed, you would:

  • Produce a further set of detailed drawings for the building contractor, which has precise dimensions and materials
  • Work closely with contractors, engineers, surveyors, lawyers and planning departments
  • Regularly inspect the construction work to check progress

You would be responsible for a building project from the earliest stage through to completion. On larger jobs, you could work in a team alongside other architects and architectural technicians or technologists.


You would usually work from 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday. However, depending on deadlines and workload, you may sometimes need to work unsocial hours. In some organisations, you may be expected to be on a part of an on-call rota.

You could mainly be based at an office, although you may spend some time travelling to sites, and having meetings with clients, planning departments and builders. When visiting sites you may need to wear protective clothing such as hard hat and boots.


Salaries vary depending on role and location, with highest average rates to be found in London and the South East.

  • Average rates for pre-part 2 trainees on placement range from £14,000 to £19,000. With post-part 2 earning between £18,000 and £25,000
  • Registered architects can earn up to £30,000 a year
  • With three to five years' post-registration experience, this can rise to between £34,000 and £42,000
Entry Requirements

The most common way to qualify as an architect involves:

  • Five years' study on a University course recognised for registration with the Architects Registration Board (ARB)
  • and at least two years experience

You would complete this in the following stages:

  • A three-year full-time undergraduate BA or BSc degree (known as part 1)
  • Paid professional experience in an architectural practice, typically for one year (known as stage 1)
  • A further two-year full-time degree, for example a BArch, Diploma or March (know as part 2 - final award)
  • At least one year's further paid experience (known as stage 2) and professional exam (known as part 3)

As part of the qualifying process, you would document your work experience and development on your Professional Experience and Development Record (PEDR). This would be signed off at regular intervals by your employment supervisor and Professional Studies Adviser from your University

Skills & Knowledge

To become an architect, you will need to have:

  • An interest in buildings and their uses
  • Practical and Scientific skills
  • A methodical, logical and analytical approach
  • Design and Computer/CAD Skills
  • Strong Mathetmatical ability
  • Good Business awareness
  • Strong communication and negotiating skills
  • The ability to manage and lead a team
  • The ability to work under pressure
  • An awareness of the social and environmental impact of your work

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