What does an architect do?
Architects design and create plans and technical drawings of buildings which are used in the construction industry. You may also work on the restoration and renovation of existing buildings, for example designing a new extension for a house. You may be working on commercial buildings or residential projects. You could work in a number of different places and in different areas of architecture. For example, you could be:
- an architect working on commercial buildings, like shopping centres or supermarkets
- working for a housing developer, designing plans for housing estates
- self-employed, working on residential projects like building extensions or converting attics
Day-to-day tasks – in this role you could be:
- creating detailed technical plans using CAD software
- creating a plan, following building laws and safety regulations
- working towards budgets
- managing construction
- choosing materials
- checking building work and progress
- communicating and sharing ideas with other architects and architectural technicians
What do I need to do to become an architect?
To become an architect, you will need to complete a five year architecture degree which is recognised by the Architects Registration Board (ARB).
To take a recognised degree you will need: five GCSEs A*- C including English, maths and science and three A levels. Some universities prefer a maths or a science subject. Many also require a portfolio of work, so an art & design based A level can be helpful. Entry requirements vary so check carefully with the the Architects Registration Board.
Other level 3 courses (e.g. science or engineering) may be acceptable for entry to a recognised degree at some universities – check with them direct.
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You'll need to complete:
- a degree recognised by the Architects Registration Board (ARB)
- a year of practical work experience
- another 2 years' full-time university course like BArch, Diploma, MArch
- a further year of practical training
- a final qualifying exam
Many course providers will also want to see a portfolio of your drawings and sketches.
You'll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You can get into this role through an architect degree apprenticeship.
You'll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
If you're already working at a high level in an architectural practice but can't study full time, you could qualify through RIBA Studio.
- A levels in science, art and design, maths
- Level 3 courses in science, engineering
- Architecture degree recognised by the ARB
- Two years of professional experience
Where to find out more
You'll need to be registered with the Architects Registration Board.
Professional and industry bodies
You could join the Royal Institute of British Architects, for training opportunities and to make industry contacts.
Where could I be working?
You could work in a creative studio or in an office.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
If you're working for a private architectural firm, you may be able to move up to become a partner or associate.
In public sector roles, with experience you could move into a lead architect job.
You could also work on projects as a freelance consultant, or set up your own business.
You may get opportunities to work overseas.
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0