An architect can also design a masterplan for a larger development, planning where buildings will fit alongside public spaces, roads and public transport.
The title "architect" is protected and should only be used once you have achieved the appropriate level of qualification and registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB).
The ARB regulates the use of the title "architect" and has a code of conduct which sets out the principles of best practice for the profession. For the full list of registration fees click here
To secure your place on the ARB register you must have completed a full recognised architecture qualification and have at least two years of architectural experience. There are currently more than 40 different architecture courses in the UK validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects.
The usual route into architecture is to complete a three part qualification.
Part I is taught at undergraduate level as a three-year undergraduate degree course, a BA or BSC, and part II at postgraduate level.
Part III is achieved through professional practice, and an oral and written exam. It is usual for a full qualification to take at least seven years and students are expected to take years out in between parts I and II for paid professional experience.
It is also possible to qualify if you are already working or have studied outside of the UK. For more information on becoming an architect click here
Once registered, it is usual to work as an associate at an established practice, moving up to project architect, principal, associate director and director, although job titles vary from practice to practice.
Thirty percent of registered architects currently work as a principal in a partnership and 14% as sole principal, while a further 16% are associates in private practice. 25% work in private practice without either an associate or principal title. (source BD Careers supplement, 2008)
It is also possible to set up independently as a sole practitioner or director of a new practice. Many established architects also work in other areas of design.
Be prepared to work outside of usual office hours. There are very few professional architects who have not had to work late into the night or during the weekend to finish a project.
To find out what you can expect to earn as an architect, click here