Becoming an architect can be an extremely rewarding career and is a role that helps shape the look of our towns and cities. If you have been considering a career in architecture, you may have wondered how much does an architect earn in the UK once qualified and if the compensation is fair for the work carried out? Below, you’ll find out more relating to architecture roles available as well as information about an architect’s starting salary in the UK that you can expect.
At QuidMarket, we know that finding a career you love has to be balanced with one that helps cover essential living costs. As a short term loan direct lender, we know that no matter how much you earn, there can be circumstances that mean you need money quickly to help resolve an issue. Hopefully, the information below will provide an insight into whether becoming an architect will provide the job satisfaction and income you require.
What Do Architects Do?
Architecture gives you the freedom to use the creative side of your brain. The aspects of an architect’s role can be varied and fascinating as they lead the process of creating functional spaces from concept to design, all the way to full realisation. As a leader of various projects, an architect works to bring these together from the creative ideas and visions of the client and keeps in mind the needs of those that will be using this brand new space.
Architects are not just involved in the design of a building; they are also responsible for public safety and overseeing the full project. Their role is important in every stage of the building’s construction, starting from the initial concept all the way to the grand opening once the building is complete. They are obligated to protect the health, welfare, and safety of a building’s occupants, so it’s essential that an architect has construction knowledge as well as design skills.
How to Become an Architect
An entry-level architect role requires a university degree first and foremost. There are around 40 different institutions across the country that run architecture courses and which are highly competitive to enter. You must complete approximately 7 years of training which is broken into 3 stages:
- Complete a 3 year degree course followed by 12 months in a recorded and supervised work placement.
- Complete a further 2 years of study, followed by another 12 months of work experience. This can be whilst working towards a master’s degree.
- Written and oral exams in professional practical management before registering as an architect.
Once qualified, architects need to register with the Architects Registration Board (ARB). This statutory body regulates the industry, ensuring working standards and guidelines are maintained. You must be registered with the ARB in order to call yourself an architect. Newly qualified architects will also want to become members of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). This is a professional organisation that ensures the high standards expected by the public and the industry are met.
So, where can newly qualified architects work? Well, many different industries require the help and expertise of an architect. They can work within architecture firms as well as in engineering and construction companies, central or local government, and various commercial or industrial organisations. Architects can work in private practice as freelancers too, although this tends to be for those with more experience that have a specialist area of expertise.
If with experience you have a specialism in residential or commercial construction, you may want to set out on your own and freelance your services instead of working for a firm. Like any freelancing role, this comes with less financial security.
How Much Does an Architect Earn in the UK?
Once qualified as an architect in the UK, you would expect an architect starting salary to be high. However, it seems many architects can still have difficulties getting by and covering the costs of living.
Like any industry that you enter as a trainee or as newly qualified, the salary will be much less to start with. So, how much do architects get paid when beginning their careers?
According to RIBA, the median salaries will vary depending on the role, for example, an architect that is less than 5 years ARB registered can earn between £31,350 and £37,500. Those with over 5 years of ARB registration can expect £36,000 to £45,000. As you can imagine, architectural assistants will earn less. If you are part 1 qualified, salaries are between £20,000 and £24,000, whereas those with part 2 can earn £25,744 to £30,000.
Your location, experience, and qualifications all make a difference when looking at how much are architects paid, so some may relocate to help boost their earnings. There is plenty of potential to progress over the years, with those who want to become an associate expecting to earn between £40,000 and £53,181, and those looking at going higher to become a director or partner commanding between £50,000 to £70,571.
Although an architect’s starting salary in the UK is relatively high compared to other careers, pre-qualified architects may have to work long hours. This may involve working nights and unsociable hours to catch up with work. This can cause a huge strain on work/life balance and may decrease the value of an architect’s starting salary in the UK. This has to be considered when comparing the pros and cons of this career compared to others.
For recently qualified architects, this on top of the lower pay to start with can be a huge cause of stress, especially when needing to maintain financial commitments. Whilst the rewards and status of being an architect can be good, comparing this with the culture and expectations of the role means careful consideration is needed to ensure this is the right career for you.
Should I Become an Architect?
Architects work hard but may not have much time to play hard. Their salary can be low compared to the hours put in, and many hours are required to qualify before your career has even started. This can increase the need for financial help, especially when unexpected bills or emergency expenses can happen.
At QuidMarket, if a small loan can help cover the costs of an emergency you otherwise would not be able to cover, and you can afford the repayments, we may be able to help. You can apply online if you do not have the savings to settle this, and you have already exhausted other options first.
Hopefully, the above has provided more context into a career in architecture and whether this is the role for you. If you need any further information regarding money issues whilst looking to change careers, please visit Money Helper.