How To Become an Architect (Career Steps and FAQs)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 8 March 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Architects are professionals trained in the science and art of building design. They are responsible for the design and construction of buildings and other structures that are erected and used in various settings. Discovering how to become an architect and learning more about this career path could help you determine if it is something you want to pursue. In this article, we explain what an architect does, list what types of architects there are, show how you can become one and provide the answers to some frequently asked questions about this career.

Related: Types Of Architectural Positions And Career Fields

What does an architect do?

While there are several types of architects in various industries, the primary objective of all architects is to plan and design all components of a structure. Architects oversee the aesthetic appeal of a structure and also ensure its safety and functionality. They also consider the economic aspects of buildings and ensure they meet the needs of the individuals who may use them. Their responsibilities may vary depending on their work environment and speciality, but common duties of an architect can include:

  • Developing architecture that best aligns with a client's needs

  • Overseeing architectural projects to ensure functional and high-quality design

  • Producing blueprints for a new project

  • Composing pre-design figures that may include cost analysis, land studies and the environmental impact of a structure

  • Researching and following zoning laws, building codes, city ordinances and other regulations that affect an architectural project

  • Using advanced computer technology to draft models of structures and explore different construction approaches

  • Finding and obtaining construction contracts and coordinating with construction workers

How to become an architect

Consider following these steps to help you become an architect:

1. Complete secondary school education

The first step in qualifying for an architecture programme is completing your secondary education. You have a few options, depending on the career path you select. Many aspiring architects complete a bachelor's degree programme, which requires completing year 12. The specific requirements can vary depending on the school you select, but typically, most architecture programmes require scores of at least 60% on all year 12 exams. Consider taking courses in math and physics to help you meet the university requirements. These courses can also help you develop your technical knowledge and skills.

Alternatively, you may apply for a diploma programme in engineering after completing year 10. This programme can help you gain engineering knowledge that may help your architecture career. It typically takes at least three years to complete, and then you may apply for a bachelor's degree in architecture. If you plan to apply for a different diploma programme, such as one in architecture, the courses typically require year 12 education.

Related: How To Share Your Education Background

2. Complete entrance requirements

After completing your year 12 education and earning the necessary scores, you may apply for a bachelor's degree in architecture. To qualify, students can complete one of three entrance exams:

  • Joint entrance examination (JEE) main paper one

  • Joint entrance exam (JEE) main paper two

  • JEE advanced

  • Architecture Aptitude Test (AAT)

  • National Aptitude Test for Architecture (NATA)

Universities may require one or multiple exams. For example, some programmes require students to complete both JEE mains and the AAT. Students can typically take these tests twice a year. Consider checking your ideal programme online to see which exams they require to ensure you meet the qualifications.

3. Earn a bachelor's degree

After passing the entrance exams, you may begin your bachelor's degree programme in architecture. This degree typically takes five years to complete. During this time, you may study courses in math, design principles and engineering.

4. Complete internship

At the end of your bachelor's degree programme, students typically complete an architecture internship. This can be at a local firm or design organisation. This internship is typically part of the programme, and your school may help place you with a local company. During the internship, you can gain technical experience working with expert architects.

Related: Guide: How To List an Internship on a Resume

5. Complete your registration

After completing your education, you may register with the Council of Architecture (COA). Typically, this involves completing an online application and submitting proof of your bachelor's degree. Consider checking the guidelines in your area to make sure you meet all regulations.

6. Apply for positions

Once you have registered, you may begin working as a professional architect. Consider creating a resume that shows your relevant skills, training and education. You may also list your internship experience. This can help show a prospective employer you are qualified for an architecture position.

Related: Resume Format Guide (With Examples)

Types of architects

There are different types of architects and specialisations you may consider as you begin your career. Here are some job areas you may consider within the architecture field:

Planning architect

This type of architect typically helps advise clients on local regulations. They work to ensure a project adheres to local and national requirements and regulations. Their duties include reviewing the local guidelines and creating designs that meet these rules. For example, a planning architect may outline a site's legal restrictions or submit a project to the local or regional authority for approval.

Site architect

A site architect is responsible for overseeing all activity on a construction site from start to finish. A site architect may assign instructions to construction workers and manage the construction contract. They may also ensure the construction team maintains quality and safety throughout the building process.

Design architect

This type of architect works on the overall design and structure of a building. A design architect may create the initial outline of a structure, formulate blueprints and adjust the building design to suit the client's preferences. This professional may also play a role in the selection of the materials used to build the structure and oversee the construction and design team throughout the build process.

Related: What Is a Design Engineer? A Comprehensive Career Guide

Interior architect

An interior architect focus on the interior designs within a building. They focus on the spatial elements of a project, such as the structure and shapes, rather than the furniture. They work to create functional and aesthetically pleasing interiors.

Landscape architect

Landscape architects design outdoor spaces, such as public parks, gardens and playgrounds. They may also design university campuses or large residential areas. They may plan the location and designs of the trees, flowers, walkways and buildings.

Naval architect

Naval architects design boats and submarines. They may also design marine structures, such as underwater oil rigs. They use scientific knowledge of ocean patterns to create function and safe designs.

Frequently asked questions about becoming an architect

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about this career path to help you decide if it is right for you:

How long does it take to become an architect?

The time it takes to become an architect depends on the education and training you complete. You may study for your entrance exams and take them during your year 12 education, or you can complete this step after graduation. Then you may enter a bachelor's degree programme, which takes five years to complete. You may also complete a yearlong internship, either after graduation or during your final year.

How much does an architect make?

The national average salary for architects is ₹24,834 per month. Your salary can depend on your geographic location, training and years of experience. Your employer and design speciality can also affect your salary.

What skills does an architect use?

Architects use a variety of technical and soft skills to complete their daily tasks. Here are some important skills they may use:

  • Math and engineering principles: While architectures are primarily involved in the design of a building, they also use math and engineering principles. An architect may use measurements, scales and engineering principles to complete a project.

  • Creativity: Architects may create their own designs. They can use creativity to envision new structures.

  • Leadership skills: Many architects oversee the construction of their designs. This requires good leadership skills, as managing the construction of a building can include motivating team members and delegating tasks.

  • Communication skills: An architect can use verbal communication to express their ideas to a client. They may ask questions to ensure they understand the client's preferences, and they may discuss their expectations with their design team members.

  • Problem-solving: Architects may solve design challenges and building constraints to create efficient and functional designs. They can use problem-solving to create the right design for a specific space.

  • Collaboration: Architects often collaborate with design teams and construction professionals. They can use collaboration and teamwork skills to complete group projects successfully.

  • Technical skills: Architects may use technical skills, such as blueprint drawing and computer modelling, to complete their projects. They may also use technical knowledge of structure and design to create unique buildings.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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