architectural designer

Career outlook for architect

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


Five year job forecast


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

What's it like?

You would design new buildings so that people have practical, attractive, safe places in which to live and work

You might also restore old buildings so they can be used for a new purpose.

You'd be responsible for a building project from the earliest stages through to completion, including designing the land around the building.

You'd talk with clients about their needs and expectations and draw designs for them to see and approve.

Once you and your clients have agreed the design, you would:

  • Produce a set of detailed technical plans using computer aided design software (CAD)
  • Give the clients precise dimensions and materials of the design
  • Work closely with contractors, engineers, surveyors, lawyers and planning departments

You'd manage the construction process and regularly inspect the construction work to check progress. You'd control the budget and deal with planning issues.

You'd work closely with other construction professionals to ensure the building meets safety standards, building regulations and planning laws. It would also be useful to have an awareness of the social and environmental impact of your work.

On larger jobs, you're likely to be part of a team alongside other architects and architectural technicians or technologists.

Working conditions


You will usually work from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You may need to work longer hours, depending on deadlines and workload. In some organisations, you may be expected to be part of an on-call rota.


You will be based at an office but may also visit sites and attend meetings with clients, planning departments and builders. When visiting sites, you will wear protective clothing, such as a hard hat and boots.


You may spend some time travelling to sites.

UK employment status





Self employed


People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Verbal communication
  • Working with technology
  • Creative
  • Designing
  • Innovative
  • Working with numbers
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Taking responsibility

Build your skills

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


An honours degree (SCQF Level 10) recognised by Architects Registration Board (ARB) or Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Minimum entry to an Architecture degree (SCQF Level 9/10) is Highers at ABBB (some courses ask for AABB) or an HND.

Entry to postgraduate qualifications (SCQF Level 11) usually require a first or second class degree in architecture and an academic portfolio, though degrees relating to the built environment may be considered.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses)
  • Maths (required by most courses) 
  • Physics (required by most courses)
  • Art and design
  • Design and manufacture
  • Graphic communication
  • Product design
  • Science subjects

You will also need

A number of courses also ask for a portfolio.

To become a qualified architect you must complete five years’ study on a recognised university course and two years’ professional experience before sitting the professional exam to gain registration with ARB and become a Chartered member of RIBA.  

Once qualified you must complete 35 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) each year to maintain RIBA membership. 

Helpful to have

You may be able to gain entry to some Architectural Higher National Diploma (SCQF Level 8) with a National Qualifications or National Certificate (SCQF Level 6) in Architecture, construction or built environment.