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Working as an architect is often seen as one of the most rewarding roles to have in construction, but it is arguably one of the longest to train for (an architecture degree takes 7 years). But there are other types of architect careers and roles that incorporate aspects of architecture. Find out the career path that you can take in architecture and the built environment, and the different job roles available.


What are the departments in an architecture firm?

Architectural companies are usually called practices. An architectural practice is usually comprised of some or all of the following departments (some smaller firms will not have so many departments as this, and may incorporate business development or marketing within other job roles):

  • Partners
  • Senior architects
  • Project management
  • Production
  • Administration
  • Business development
  • Marketing


What types of architectural careers are there?

There are many different types of careers in architecture.


Architects design buildings and draw plans for how new, restored and extended buildings will look, externally and internally. They work with other professionals in construction to establish the layout, structure and functionality of buildings, based on budgets, measurements and the requirements of the client. Architects make sure that buildings are safe and fit for purpose, meet building regulations and enhance the environment in which they are built.

Architectural technician

Architectural technicians or technologists work closely with architects and specialise in presenting building designs using technology. They use architectural CAD software to build virtual models, to show to clients before construction, as well as draw freehand. Architectural technicians and technologists coordinate detailed design information, prepare drawings, plans and documents, obtain tenders and prepare applications for approval by regulatory bodies.

Landscape architect

Landscape architects are responsible for producing designs for projects such as parks, gardens, housing estates or city centres, paying particular attention to the design of landscapes and natural features. Landscape architects work closely with architects civil engineers and town planners in surveying sites and carrying out environmental impact assessments, writing reports and drawing up contracts.

Architectural engineer

Architectural engineers have skills in both building engineering and architectural design, taking responsibility for how a building functions. They lead teams of architects, building services engineers and structural engineers, solving complex building design and engineering problems, applying the principles of engineering to architectural design and increasingly ensuring that buildings operate to sustainable templates.   

CAD technician

Computer-aided design (CAD) technicians use computer software to produce 2D and 3D drawings for construction and manufacturing projects. As a CAD technician, you may be designing buildings, machinery or parts. Also known as CAD operatives, CAD engineers or BIM technicians, in this role you will be taking complex information and using it to produce technical building diagrams for architects, engineers and other construction workers.

BIM manager

building information modelling technician or manager will use computer software and technologies to gather information about a project and produce a model in multiple dimensions. BIM managers work with designers, clients and architects to make sure production materials and designs are created and managed efficiently during a project. Read our case study on working as a BIM coordinator.

Interior designer

Interior designers help to curate or renovate the inside spaces of buildings, so they are functional and aesthetically pleasing to homeowners or business clients. Interior designers recommend wall colours, lighting, fittings, furniture and fabric to enhance a space. They also oversee structural design elements within a room, such as in-built shelving, stairs, ceiling designs and more. 

Town planner

A town planner, planning officer or urban designer is responsible for the design and development of residential areas in towns, cities and the countryside. Town planners need to manage the demands on the land being developed and the needs of the community. This can be on a national, regional, or local level and requires an awareness of the impact of developments on local economies, green space, infrastructure and historic environments.


What’s the difference between an architect and an architectural technician?

The main difference between an architect and an architectural technician is that while an architect will design buildings, an architectural technician will use technology to present those designs to a client. Less training is required to be an architectural technician, but they will need to be able to use CAD software to a high level. Architectural technicians use CAD software to build virtual models, and like an architect will also need freehand drawing skills.


What skills do I need for a career in architecture?

Architects need to be good at so many things – that is why training to become an architect is such a long process. These are the main skills that any architect will require:

  • Art, design and drawing skills
  • Mathematics
  • Analytical thinking
  • Understanding of engineering principles
  • Computer skills
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Good organisational abilities
  • Verbal and communication skills


Does your personality suit a career in architecture?

If you are creative, have an interest in both the arts and STEM subjects, and have a flair for drawing and design, working in architecture could be for you. To find out if you are built for a career in architecture, or another type of job in construction, take our Career Explorer quiz.

Find out more about a career in architecture

At Go Construct we have lots of resources and helpful articles for anyone interested in careers in architecture.


Discover architectural vacancies in your area

Architectural apprenticeships and graduate roles are regularly advertised on Talentview. You could also use the RIBA Jobs board.