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How to Become an Architect

Do you enjoy designing? Have you thought about designing buildings? If so, becoming an architect could be the perfect job for you! Architects get to work on designing all sorts of buildings, and enjoy the satisfaction of seeing one of their designs come to live when they been built in real life.

This guide will tell you all you need to know to become an architect.

Why Become an Architect?

In the UK, the subject of architecture is becoming increasingly popular. Combining art, science and technology, this vocation helps one to develop personal, communication and professional skills and qualities.

It offers a balance of methodical and mathematical thinking processes with creativity and modern technology, allowing people to study for an extremely varied degree and become employed as architectural consultants in a job where no two days are ever the same.

Qualified architects can expect to work on a variety of designs, regardless of whether they choose to specialise in residential or commercial architecture.

A Day in the Life of an Architect

As a fully qualified architect, you are expected to create residential or commercial designs that take into account all of your clients’ requirements into account, such as:

  • Budget – how much the client is prepared to pay for the design and construction of a building;
  • Safety – all developments will have to be safe and adhere to health and safety laws;
  • Social factors – this can include the aesthetics and location of the building;
  • Building regulations – standards compliance;
  • Planning laws – planning permission.

Upon client approval of the initial designs, a more comprehensive and detailed set of technical drawings will then be made by a drafter (or draughtsman), under the direction and supervision of the architect.

These more detailed drawings are to be utilised by building contractors, and will show precise dimensions for buildings, as well as providing details on the materials to be used for the construction of them.


An architect works closely with a range of different contractors, solicitors, engineers, and local authorities from concept to completion of a building, and will regularly inspect the construction work to check on its progress. Although architects may be based from a central office, they will often spend a lot of time on-site and can be visiting all sorts of construction projects.

On larger projects, an architect would work alongside a team of other architects and architectural technicians or technologists.

Working Hours

The majority of architects work a standard 9am to 5pm day, Monday through to Friday, however there may be occasions where unsociable working hours are required in order to meet deadlines

There are often cases where architects are required to be “on-call” (for example, with larger building projects where construction takes places 24 hours a day), and sometimes this may mean staying away from home.

Required Qualifications

Usually, architects in the UK have to train for a minimum of seven years before they can become qualified. To be qualified, the following degree courses and work experience are required:

  • University degree programme (3 to 4 years)
  • Work experience (1 year)
  • Higher university degree (2 years full-time, or 4 years part-time)
  • Work experience, and a Professional Practice Examination (1 year).

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