Kat Sonson

How to become an Architect

How do I become an architect?

Architects are responsible for designing buildings, planning and overseeing their construction from start to finish. This is a technical career which requires a high level of training and professional experience. We have specialist experience matching talented architects with roles where they can excel, so we know all about what it takes to succeed in architecture. Keep reading to learn more about qualifying as an architect and beginning your career.

What qualifications do you need to be an architect?

University degree courses in architecture will have entry requirements which vary according to the institution, but will generally include good passing grades at both GCSE and A-Level. This will most often mean that you need at least 5 GCSEs with grades of A*-C, including English, Science and Maths. At A-Level, universities may prefer that applicants have studied relevant subjects like Maths and Art.

Most architects in the UK need to have a university degree achieved by having completed a course validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). These courses allow students to develop the crucial skills and understanding needed to do the job of an architect; drawing, computer aided design, theoretical and historical knowledge and material and technical issues.
Alongside strong exam results, your application to an architecture course may need to include a portfolio of creative work, and you may be invited to an interview at your chosen university.

After their undergraduate course aspiring architects undertake at least one year of practical experience which they keep track of via a Professional Experience Development Record with the supervision of a Professional Studies Advisor from their university. Then they return to university to complete further studies and earn a BArch, a Diploma, or a M.Arch. Some institutions will class this as a postgraduate degree, while for other courses it will form a second part of their undergraduate qualification.

Having completed this further university study, it is often advisable to gain further work experience before you take your final exam. To prepare for the final hurdle, you have to first complete the Advanced Diploma in Professional Practices in Architecture. When you have studied this material, you can take your final exams. Alongside your results, your CV, PEDR log sheets, other documents and records will be required. If you pass, you will be considered a qualified architect!

How long does it take to become an architect?

The undergraduate degree course completed by an architecture student generally lasts for three years, but this is not the end of the process of becoming a qualified architect. It’s necessary to complete all of the following steps:

* Complete a three year RIBA-approved undergraduate degree in architecture
* Undertake a year of practical experience
* Return to university for a further two years as a postgraduate to finish your studies
* Spend at least a further year gaining more professional experience
* Prepare for and pass your final exam

This means that, in total, fully qualifying as an architect is likely to take about seven years.

How to get a graduate job as an architect

Once you have finished completing all the necessary qualifications, you can register with a professional organisation for architects such as the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) or the Association of Consultant Architects (ACA).

Thanks to the extensive training you will have had to complete in order to become a fully qualified architect, you should have plenty of examples of real life projects you have worked on which you can discuss with potential employers during a job interview. It’s important to have a strong portfolio of work to present, and also to have considered what you as an individual can bring to the table that makes you stand out from the crowd. Being able to cite unusual or unexpected sources of inspiration, or having an area of particular interest which you’ve researched deeply can help show that you are a promising and original candidate.

When looking for a graduate job it is wise to get in touch with a relevant and reputable recruitment agency who operate within the field which interests you. Staff at an agency will have the experience and networks of contacts necessary to connect you to firms and other architects who you can get to know, learn from, and find work with.

We provide recruitment services to employers working in the built environment sector. Find out more about how we can help you secure a position which will be a perfect fit.

To see our latest roles within Design & Technical, please click below, or do contact Ross Sowerbutts .

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