Summary of occupation
Architects apply technical skills and creativity to design commercial, industrial, institutional, residential and recreational buildings that are both practical in use and beautiful in appearance. Unlike other construction or building professionals, architects focus more on the look of a building as opposed to its structure.
They work with a number of construction professionals as well as town planners and project clients to ensure that the use of the building is supplemented and complemented by its design and look. They may work on multi-level skyscrapers in the CBD, or small heritage buildings that require conservation work, as well as a wide range of domestic and commercial buildings.
Plans and designs buildings, provides concepts, plans, specifications and detailed drawings, negotiates with builders and advises on the procurement of buildings (registration or licensing is required).
Conservation or Heritage Architect
Architects work in offices when designing and drawing, but are often required to visit work sites. They may need to travel frequently to visit clients at their workplace or at building sites (locally or overseas). They may also need to work with the public when developing government-funded projects that have particular cultural significance. Work conditions can sometimes be stressful due to strict project deadlines and clients’ demands.
On average, architects and landscape architects can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As an architect develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Architects use drawing and measuring instruments and materials, as well as computer-aided design (CAD) and modelling software. They may also use a variety of stands and equipment for making and displaying three-dimensional models of their designs. Sometimes, it might be helpful to take cameras out on site visits. Architects work in an industry with constantly changing trends and must adhere to building regulations, so it is important that they have access to the most up-to-date information and technical manuals.
To become a qualified architect you usually need to complete an accredited architecture degree at university followed by postgraduate studies.
Curtin University offers a three year Bachelor of Applied Science (Architectural Science), followed by a two year Master of Architecture. The University of Western Australia offers a three year Bachelor of Design (Architecture), followed by a two year Master of Architecture.
To work as an architect in Western Australia, you must be registered with the Architects Registration Board of Western Australia.
To apply for registration you must complete an accredited Master of Architecture course, pass examinations set by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia, and have a minimum of two years practical work experience.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.