So you want to be an architect?

Architecture is arguably one of the most interesting and rewarding professions, but the training is not to be taken lightly.

If you want to become an architect then you must be prepared to spend five years completing studies in architecture, which must be complemented by at least two years spent acquiring experience.

Although the path to qualification is long and requires a lot of work, the rewards are potentially immense because architects can be creative, even experimental, and can see the tangible results of their work. Not to mention the positive impact that their designs can have on people’s lives.

Architecture training and qualifications are overseen by The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and there are RIBA validated courses at more than 45 different UK architecture schools. The courses will differ in their approaches and their entry requirements, so it makes sense to do plenty of research before applying.

RIBA Part One

The first step towards your goal of becoming an architect will necessarily involve taking an undergraduate degree course, which normally lasts for three years. An architecture degree course is unusual in that it may be classed as a BA or a BSc.

There are sometimes opportunities to spend part of the course in another country, as part of an exchange programme with other universities. Some students might also gain specialist qualifications in subjects such as conservation. All architecture students are eligible to become members of RIBA without paying a fee.

Gaining practical experience

Also included in the first step of architecture training is practical experience, which normally lasts for around a year. RIBA offers guidance for students while they are undertaking their year’s experience, and you are encouraged to work under the supervision of an architect or other professional in the construction industry.

RIBA Part Two

The second stage of the qualification involves an advanced degree, normally lasting two years and this could be a Diploma, a BArch or an MArch. Students further their knowledge of the trade and become familiar with more complex projects. This second degree doesn’t necessarily have to be taken at the same institution as the first one.

Gaining further experience

Around two years of further practical experience is then required, which qualifies graduates to take what is known as the part 3 exam. While undertaking this experience, you are likely to take on more responsibility than previously and you will have the option of becoming an RIBA Associate member.

At least 12 months of your experience has to be gained under the supervision of an architect in either the European Economic Area, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

RIBA Part Three

The final qualifying exam is the last step before registration, and you will face written and oral assessments. You will also present a case study, alongside having your CV and practical experience evaluated.

Once all three parts of the RIBA qualifications have been achieved, you may register with the ARB (Architects Registration Board) as a fully-qualified architect and become what is known as a Charter Member of the RIBA.

Posted by Adam Lloyd
June 10, 2014

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