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Working In The Architecture Industry


An overview of the industry

Architecture physically shapes our whole world. You name it and it’ll have been designed by an architect. Put simply, they dream-up, plan and create entire buildings.

Architecture is an extremely well respected career and to become a fully-certified Architect requires a degree plus years of extra training. However, the rewards are also great as you get to see your designs come to life and be a part of the world for generations to come.

It’s also big business as governments and corporate companies compete for the most high-tech and aesthetically pleasing buildings. Large projects, like a new shopping centre, will have millions of pounds of investment behind them.

Working in architecture will require you to balance a number of priorities on a day-to-day basis and across the course of a project. At each stage in the process architects must balance aspects such as: aesthetics and design, the environment, new technology, safety, social value and the needs of the area.

Skills & interests required

To be an architect you’ll need to be creative and have a head for design whilst working to all the rules and regulations of creating a building.

- Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Adaptability
- Attention to detail
- Communication
- Creativity
- Financial Risk
- Multi-tasking
- Patience
- Strategic Planning

Typical Career Progression Routes for School Leavers

As an architect, the career progression route is quite clear. Once qualified, most enter an architecture firm in a junior position and will then work their way up with experience. To do this more quickly, you should register as a chartered member with the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects).

As you build your portfolio you will be able to take on larger and more prestigious projects. You may also eventually be able to work on a freelance basis for private projects. This process is similar for both design and landscape architects.

Architectural technicians progress their career by working towards chartered status, which requires further professional assessments after studying.

Tips for getting into the field

Shadow local architects – Shadowing those in the profession will enable you to see what the day-to-day work is like and demonstrate that you’re interested in the field when applying to university courses.

Build your network – Start building your network as soon as possible. Any work experience that you do could give you connections in the industry that may be useful later down the line.

Read up on the industry – Check out some of the largest firms’ websites, or read The Architects’ Journal, to keep up to date with the industry.

Study hard – Architecture has strict qualification requirements. To get onto an architecture degree, you will need to work hard and get strong academic results.

Types of jobs in Architecture

Earning potential

Due to the importance of architecture and the high level of skill that the roles require, the salary is quite high. However, bear in mind that salaries can vary depending on the project that you are working on.

Here are the average salaries for some specific roles within the industry, according to Payscale:

Design architect - £33,683
Project architect – £35,710
Project manager, architecture - £35,669
Architectural technologist – £24,591
Architectural technician – £24,333
Architectural designer – £26,545
Landscape architect – £25,264

Qualification requirements & subjects to study

There really is no way around this one, the only way to become an architect is to gain a degree that is accredited by the RIBA and then complete the necessary years of training. The degree structure for architecture is:

-RIBA Part 1 – A RIBA accredited undergraduate degree in architecture (three or four years)
-Stage 1 practical experience/year out (one year)
-RIBA Part 2 – a two year continuation of your degree (BArch, Diploma or MArch) at your previous university or a different one (two years)
-Stage 2 practical experience – (one year minimum)
-RIBA Part 3 – final qualifying exam

However, you can become an architectural technician with a HND or foundation degree in architectural technology. To get onto these courses, you will need at least a pass at GCSE in English, maths and a science.

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Industry bodies

The Royal Agricultural Society of England: RASE
The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland: RHASS
The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society
The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society: RUAS (Northern Ireland)