If you told your parents that you wanted to be an architect when you grew up, the chances are that they did not discourage you. This field conjures up images of interesting, secure, well-respected and well-paid work.
These are the people who design new houses or make alterations to buildings. They also offer guidance on the restoration and conservation of older buildings.
Architects must have good interpersonal skills, as they work closely with their clients and have to deal with lots of people. There is a lot to being an architect and there are three main types: building, landscape and naval.
A typical architect will need to communicate ideas, meet clients’ objectives, stick to budgets, and sometimes even choose a site. They will work with other professionals to discuss ideas, such as the strength of a particular tensile fabric structure. IT is used a lot these days, both in the design side and in project management.
An architectural assistant or part II architect can expect to earn between £24,000 and £31,000. Once fully-qualified (part III), salaries will rise typically to £30,000 to £45,000 depending on experience. By the time you reach senior associate or partner level, you can command anywhere between £50,000 and £90,000 – perhaps even more.
There will be regional variations in salary, of course, and the salary can be dependent on the sector and the size of the employing organisation. Someone working in fabric architecture in London, for example, could earn more than someone doing the same job in a rural location. Experience and obtaining chartered status usually results in higher pay.
What to expect
An architect will generally be office-based, working standard office hours; however, the nature of project work means that some long days and even weekend work may be required from time to time. You will need a portfolio of work, a degree, and registration with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) to practise as an architect in the UK. Being a member of Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is not essential but can earn you chartered status.
Career Igniter goes into more detail about the different roles under the architecture umbrella.
If you think a creative, innovative career might be for you, do your research and see whether a career in architecture could be the perfect choice.