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Architects creatively shape our environment by designing the buildings and spaces around us. They bring new structures to life and restore or renovate existing ones. Architects collaborate with others to ensure that designs are fit for purpose and safe, whether they’re working on individual buildings or large developments.

Average salary*




Typical hours per week

35 - 40

Number employed in the UK


How to become an architect

You can gain the qualifications you need by studying on a university course or doing an apprenticeship.

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.


To qualify as an architect you’ll need to complete a five-year university course recognised by the Architects Registration Board (ARB), followed by at least two years of professional experience.

To get onto an architecture degree you’ll need:

  • 5 GCSEs (including English, maths and a science) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent
  • 3 A Levels (including maths), or equivalent
  • An interest in art and design.

Many universities will ask to see a portfolio of your drawings before accepting you onto the course.


You can become an architect by doing an architect degree apprenticeship.

For this, you’ll need:


You could apply directly to an architectural company if you have an interest/experience in this type of work. You could start your career as an architectural assistant and gain qualifications part-time.

Work experience

To help decide whether architecture is for you, further your skills and impress employers, you could gain some work experience in addition to the placements you’ll undertake whilst training.

What does an architect do?

As an architect, you could be:

  • Liaising with clients to understand their needs
  • Considering budget, safety and community requirements for a project
  • Creating new building designs
  • Advising on the restoration and conservation of existing buildings
  • Ensuring building regulations, planning laws and environmental considerations are met
  • Drawing detailed plans and blueprints using computer design programmes
  • Working closely with contractors, engineers, surveyors, lawyers and planning departments
  • Inspecting structures during the build, to make sure they meet requirements
  • Supervising other architects throughout each phase of a building’s design and construction
  • Ensuring jobs are completed on time and to budget
  • Working in an office, with occasional or frequent site visits and meetings.

How much could you earn as an architect?

  • Starting salaries for an architect's assistant during the trainee stage usually range from £18,000 to £30,000 a year
  • Newly registered architects can earn in the region of £30,000 and £35,000 
  • Trained with experience architects can earn in the region of £35,000 and £60,000
  • Senior or chartered architects can earn in the region of £50,000 and £100,000*

Salaries depend on location, employer and level of responsibility. Salaries and career options also improve with chartered status.

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources and have been updated as of 2019


Check out the latest architectural vacancies: 

As these are external websites, the number of job vacancies related to your preferred job role may vary.

Career path and progression

Your progression will vary depending on what level of study you’ve completed, what you decide to specialise in, and where you choose to work.

Many architects specialise in one area, such as sustainable, restoration or residential architecture. Some go into architectural technology and create building plans and simulations.

Architects are employed by independent practices, central and local governments, construction companies, and commercial and industrial organisations. Some architects work in education, set up their own businesses, or become freelance project consultants.

If you work for a private practice, you may be able to move up into a senior architect, partner or associate role. In public sector roles, you could become a project manager or lead architect.

Progression Opportunities

Explore the progression opportunities below

  • Current role Architect Work with the construction team on a variety of projects to design and develop t...
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  • Current role Project manager Oversee construction projects from start to finish in order to achieve successfu...
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  • Current role Construction Director As head of construction, the construction director is responsible for planning &...
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