A career as an architect means you will literally get the chance to shape the future. Remember the three little pigs? Clearly, the first two weren’t architects, building their homes out of straw and sticks. The third pig however, was a bit more switched on and built his home from bricks to withstand the big bad wolf. That pig would have made a great architect.
In a nutshell that is what architects do – design all kinds of buildings and extensions, make alterations to existing buildings and advise on conservation and restoration of historical buildings to ensure they are safe, well-built, aesthetically pleasing and ultimately stand the test of time (as well as the odd wolf).
What experience do I need to be an architect?
It takes a high level of skill to be an architect and you’ll need to train for around seven years before you are fully qualified. You absolutely must have a university degree in architecture and competition for places is stiff – universities will normally interview students and will expect to see a portfolio of work (drawings, sketches, models etc.) which shows your enthusiasm for architecture and your desire to study.
A degree, though, is the just the start and you have to follow this training route:
- Part One: Degree in architecture (normally three/four years)
- 12 months recorded practical experience undertaken in an architect practice
- Part Two: Study for diploma, masters or further degree – two years
- Part Three: Further 12 months practical recorded experience
- Professional practice and management examination. Once passed, you register with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and can apply to become chartered with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
What are the day-to-day roles of an architect?
Broadly speaking, there are three types of architect - building, landscape and naval - but whichever area you specialise in, for most architects, their role is mainly office-based. There are opportunities to go out into the field for site visits and you’ll work closely with clients on different projects.
Typical duties include discussing ideas for projects, budgets, preparing feasibility reports, assessing clients’ needs, preparing tender applications and producing detailed drawings.
Seven years is a long time for anyone but it’s worth the wait – once you’re qualified the world is your oyster! The average salary during professional training is £24,000 to £31,000 but this can rise to £45,000 once qualified. Experienced architects and senior partners can earn as much as £90,000 in some larger companies.
Becoming chartered with RIBA and undertaking continuous professional development will let you to move onto more senior roles within existing architect practices or even allow you to start your own. And your qualifications are recognised globally enabling you to work all over the world.
Just imagine the kudos you’ll get if you can look at a world-renowned building like the Shard in London or the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and say: “I helped design that.”