How To Become an Architect In Australia: A Complete Guide

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Students want to know how they can become architects in Australia.


Becoming an architect is worth pursuing if you like beautiful designs and want a career that utilises your abilities to impact society.


With the endless demand for architecture in different sectors, including education, health care, residential dwellings, shopping centres, restaurants, and businesses – there is an increasing need for skilled licensed architects in Australia.


This post will discuss everything you need to know about becoming an architect in Australia, including education and licensing requirements, how long it takes, and the tasks involved in this exciting industry. So keep reading.



1. What Does an Architect Do?


An architect is a skilled professional involved with every stage of building projects, from design to construction and maintenance.


Here are a few project phases that an architect usually works on.


  • Starting The Project: In this phase, the architect talks with the client about their budget and project expectations. Keeping this in mind, they create a design brief for the client.


  • Design Phase: Here, the architect analyses the site conditions and design brief. He then works on models and sketches to create conceptual drawings.


  • Design Documentation, Development, and Building Approvals: In this stage, the architect works with the project team to prepare elaborate drawings for the builder and finalise the building's structural details. Later, they submit the drawings to get the building approved.


  • Construction Phase: The architect works closely with the project team members and the builders to ensure the project complies with the sketches and other specifications.


  • After Construction: The architect checks the unfinished work and other issues and discusses them with the client. He also asks the builder about the warranty period of the project.


An architect may work with several others, including engineers, tradespeople, accountants, and lawyers. Therefore, he needs to possess excellent communication skills. 


Besides, he may require negotiation skills to balance the client's desires with concerns such as complying with environmental standards, building codes, and the budget. This helps him to achieve an optimum outcome within the parameters of each project.



2. Major Duties and Tasks of an Architect


Practising architects may undertake a wide range of duties and tasks, which includes the following:


  • Prepare production drawings, sketches, and detailed drawings using CAD (Computer-Aided Design Software) or by hand. 

  • Meet with builders or clients to discuss their requirements and create a design brief. 

  • Discuss cost estimates and designs with clients and others involved in the project. 

  • Prepare contract documents and specifications for tradespeople, builders, and legal advisers. 

  • Travel to the building site and other different office locations for meetings regularly.

  • Inspect construction work in progress to ensure specifications, plans, and quality standards are met.

  • Provide information to the client regarding materials, designs, and the estimated building time. 

  • Incorporate mechanical, structural, and artistic features into the building's final design, such as air conditioning systems, atriums, decks, lifts, and other decorative finishes. 

  • Obtain advice from management and clients to determine the planned building's style, type, and size and what improvements need to be made in the existing building.

  • Get the requisite approvals from the authorities.

  • Adapt plans based on local government feedback and resolve any issues that could occur in the building process.

  • Once the project is completed and occupied, evaluate it. 



3. Where Do Architects Work?


Many architects work in firms or corporations with comprehensive building programs. Some may even start their practice after gaining experience for a few years.


Architects develop the potential to combine scienceart, and technology through architectural training and can find job opportunities beyond architecture.


These are interior designurban planning and design, teachingproperty development, industrial design, furniture design, construction management, research and journalism.



4. What Are The Requirements To Become an Architect in Australia?


Architecture is a forward-thinking field that leads to exciting and varied career opportunities. If you want to become an architect in Australia, you must meet requirements that will help you to get accreditation.


Let us check the requirements you need to fulfil to become an architect in Australia:



  • You must complete a three-year undergraduate degree in architecture (usually a Bachelor of Design in Architecture, Bachelor of Architecture, or a Bachelor of Architectural Studies) before pursuing an accredited Master of Architecture qualification. This makes it a total of five years of academic training. Before attaining an undergraduate degree, you must complete Year 12 prerequisites or equivalent and earn the required ATAR.


Note: Some universities may have flexible entry requirements, so you must contact the institution of your choice to gather more information. Additionally, you can obtain previous learning recognition if you have an approved overseas equivalent of the Australian Master of Architecture qualification.


  • You must have two years of experience working in the architecture industry.


  • You will also need to take the Architectural Practice Examination twice yearly. This exam aims to ensure that candidates applying to register as architects in Australia have a good understanding of the practice of Architecture. This three-part competency assessment consists of a written paper, completion of a logbook, and an interview with the current practising architects.


  • Each Australian state and territory has its own Architect Registration Board established to carry out disciplinary investigations, register architects, accredit programs of study, educate the public on architectural issues, and prosecute unregistered use of the term architect.


  • You must register with the Architects Registration Board of your respective state or territory. Just remember, you need to register individually, and you might also have to get the architecture firm registered as an entity in some states and territories of Australia. There are 8 Architect Registration Boards in Australia. Let us check them out:


  1. Board of Architects of Queensland

  2. NSW Architects Registration Board

  3. Architects Registration Board of Victoria

  4. Board of Architects of Tasmania

  5. Architects Board of Western Australia

  6. The Architectural Practice Board of South Australia

  7. Northern Territory Architects Board

  8. Australian Capital Territory Architects Board


Note: In Australia, only people who get accredited by following the above requirements may call themselves architects.



5. What Are The Best Architecture Schools In Australia?


Several universities in Australia offer architecture degrees at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Given below is a list of some of the top architecture universities in Australia and the programs offered by them:


State/Territory University Name Programs Offered
Australian Capital Territory
  • Faculty of Arts and Design
South Australia
  • School of Architecture and Built Environment

  • School of Art, Architecture and Design

New South Wales
  • School of Architecture and Built Environment

  • Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment

  • Faculty of the Built Environment

  • Faculty of Architecture, Design & Planning

  • School of Architecture

  • Faculty of Design Architecture and Building

  • School of Architecture & Design

  • Faculty of Science Engineering & Technology

Northern Territory
  • School of Creative Arts and Humanities
  • School of Architecture and Built Environment

  • Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment

  • Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture

  • School of Architecture and Design

  • Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning

  • Soheil Abedian School of Architecture Institute of Sustainable Development & Architecture

  • Griffith School of Environment (Architecture) Science, Environment & Engineering Technology Group

  • School of Design

  • School of Architecture

Western Australia
  • School of Built Environment Department of Architecture and Interior Architecture

  • Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts


Note: To get detailed information on architecture programs, contact the university you are interested in. You can also visit their website.



6. What Are The Skills Required to Become an Architect in Australia?


Architects use a practical understanding of materials and structures and their creativity to develop specifications, plans, concepts, and detailed drawings for structures and buildings. Not only that, but they also administer building contracts, negotiate with planning authorities, and inspect completed work.


All these roles require them to possess specific attributes and skills, which are as follows:


  • Excellent verbal communication skills

  • Customer service skills

  • Creative and design-oriented

  • Analytical thinking skills

  • Experienced with CAD software

  • Precise and technically capable

  • Mathematical skills

  • Ability to use your initiative

  • Be thorough and pay attention to details

  • Areas of Specialisation in Architecture


As an architect, you can specialise in multiple areas. The job of an architect entails both technical expertise and creative expression, which creates enough opportunity to specialise in the technical side of things like draughtsmanship or the creative side like interior designing. 


Let us check out a few architecture specialisations that you can explore:


  • Urban and Regional Planner: A regional planner is responsible for designing and considering urban growth and development plans. Therefore, they need to thoroughly understand a settlement's environmental and cultural backgrounds to plan further development of the area to withstand growth and economic change.


  • Interior Designer: The primary role of an interior designer is to discuss with clients what changes they need in their interior spaces. Additionally, this profession deals with the room's structural components and how to accomplish aesthetics and functionality by incorporating lighting design, furnishings, and colour schemes.


  • Landscape Architect: A landscape architect is primarily responsible for designing the layout of outdoor spaces like parks and gardens. They also consider the surrounding buildings, the slope and its aspect. They consider how to use the open green space and how it can shape the maintenance to create a space that functions well.



7. How Long Does It Take To Become an Architect in Australia?


Architectural studies in Australia may take around five to seven years to complete, depending on the length of the program and curriculum.


In addition to the time-investing and comprehensive studies, architectural students must take practice exams and register as architects after gaining at least two years of experience in the field.



8. How Much Does an Architect Earn in Australia?


The architect's salary in Australia depends on many factors like the firm's size, place of work, registration status, experience, and specialisation.


However, according to PayScale, the median salary of a Registered Architect in Australia is AU$86k per year


Architects with specialised skills and experience are in high demand at architectural firms, where they may receive a decent salary package and other benefits.


These benefits include building creative spaces, influencing the built environment, and getting both personal and professionally rewarding.


The most common factors that influence their income include:


  • Scope and size of the project 

  • Place of work 

  • Size of firm

  • Qualification

  • Work experience

  • Registration Status

  • Area of specialisation

  • Employer


Senior architects typically earn higher salaries than their counterparts in entry-level and mid-level roles. Also, those who live in urban areas have a substantial advantage over their peers in regional areas.


Highest paying areas for Architects in Australia are:


  • Canberra: AU$214,880 per year

  • Perth: AU$190,935 per year

  • Parramatta: AU$171,381 per year

  • Melbourne: AU$148,843 per year

  • Sydney: AU$147,453 per year

  • North Sydney: AU$122,897 per year

  • Brisbane: AU$117,757 per year

  • Surry Hills: AU$114,522 per year

  • Melbourne City Centre: AU$106,864 per year



10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



Do You Need A Degree To Be an Architect in Australia?


Yes. You need an accredited Master's degree in architecture or a relevant field, gain relevant industry experience and pass a three-part assessment.


Once you meet these conditions, you must register with your local Architect Registration Board.



How Do I Prepare To Be an Architect?


To work as an Architect in Australia, you must complete a three-year bachelor's degree in architecture and an accredited two years full-time Master's degree in architecture.


Alternatively, you can complete a 3-4 years bachelor's degree in a non-architecture discipline followed by a Master's In Architecture.


After completing your postgraduate study, spend two or more years gaining practical experience to pass the Architectural Practice Exam and get registered.


This exam includes a written paper, the completion of a logbook, and an interview with existing practising architects.


After you meet the above requirements, apply for registration with your local Architect Registration Board as a Registered Architect in Australia.



How Much is an Architect's Hourly Fee in Australia?


According to PayScale, the average income of a Registered Architect in Australia is AU$ 44.20 per hour.



Which Type of Architect Gets Paid The Most?


A registered architect can work in various roles.


Here are some of these roles with their national average salaries in Australia:


  • Landscape Architect: AU$105.66 per hour (highest paid architect position)

  • Building Architect: AU$65.69 per hour

  • Architectural Technician: AU$62.47 per hour

  • Design Architect/ Architectural Designer: AU$55 per hour

  • Senior Project Architect: AU$48 per hour

  • Project Architect: AU$46 per hour

  • Architectural Project Manager: $44.64 per hour

  • Architect: AU$44.20 per hour

  • Architectural Draftsman: AU$44 per hour



What ATAR Score Do You Need For Architecture?


Entry into architecture degrees usually requires an ATAR in the mid-70s to mid-80s. Therefore, aspiring architects should work hard during high school to qualify for undergraduate architecture courses in Australia.



How To Get Into Architecture With Low ATAR?


If your ATAR needs to be higher to qualify for bachelor's degrees in architecture, consider undertaking general courses in an architecture-related field, such as a Bachelor of Design/Bachelor of Arts.


Choose architecture-specific electives such as design theory and practical design to obtain the prerequisite knowledge for a postgraduate architect degree.


Once you complete your undergraduate degree, the university will examine your suitability to join the Master's program.



What Is The Number One University in Australia for Architecture?


The University of Melbourne is one of Australia's oldest and nationally recognised universities. Ranked in the top 50 universities globally, it is famous for its quality research and education.


Furthermore, the University of Melbourne has the broadest range of undergraduate and postgraduate architecture courses, making it the most preferred destination for pursuing an "Architect" profession.


  • Bachelor of Design (Architecture)

  • Bachelor of Design (Landscape Architecture)

  • Graduate Certificate in Environmental Design

  • Graduate Certificate in Design for Health and Wellbeing

  • Specialist Certificate in Design for Health and Wellbeing

  • Master of Architecture

  • Master of Architectural Engineering

  • Master of Architecture/Master of Landscape Architecture (double master degree)

  • Master of Architecture/Master of Urban Design (double master degree)

  • Doctor of Philosophy – Architecture, Building, and Planning

  • Master of Philosophy – Architecture, Building, and Planning



How To Become an Architect in Queensland (QLD)?


The University of Queensland and The Queensland University of Technology are the top universities to prepare for an "Architect" profession in Australia. Some of the good options you can consider are:


  • Bachelor of Design (Architecture) – QUT

  • Bachelor of Design (Landscape Architecture)- QUT

  • Master of Architecture - QUT

  • Bachelor of Architectural Design - The University of Queensland

  • Master of Architecture - The University of Queensland

  • Master of Urban and Regional Planning- The University of Queensland

  • Master of Urban Development and Design- The University of Queensland



How To Become an Architect in New South Wales (NSW)?


The University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales are nationally and globally renowned universities in NSW, offering plenty of undergraduate and graduate architecture programs.


The below courses are ideal for helping you pursue an Architect career in Australia:


  • Bachelor of Design in Architecture – The University of Sydney

  • Bachelor of Architecture and Environments– The University of Sydney

  • Master of Architecture- – The University of Sydney

  • Bachelor of Architectural Studies – The UNSW Sydney

  • Master of Architecture - The UNSW Sydney

  • Master of Landscape Architecture – The UNSW Sydney 



Can You Become an Architect at 40?


Yes. It is never late to acquire new skills or make a career transition.


With no upper age restriction, you can enter an Architect profession anytime if you have sound field knowledge and can perform the duties efficiently.


According to the Labour Market Insights, the median age of Architects is 39 years.



What Subjects Do You Need To Study Architecture?


As an aspiring architect, ensure you study enough units to gain their secondary school certificate and Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).


In high school, you must study common prerequisites such as English, art, and mathematics to gain admission to an accredited degree in architecture or a design degree in architecture.



What Does A Beginner Architect Do?


At the initial stages of your career, you might have to work under the supervision of a senior architect. He would guide you in sketching and creating computerised models for new buildings.



How Much Does an Architecture School Cost in Australia?


Tuition fees are crucial when deciding which university you should study at, mainly when on a tight budget.


The architecture course fee in Australia varies based on the university and type of architecture program.


Usually, the undergraduate architecture degree cost at the best Australian universities in 2023 is CSP $8,700 per year full-time. The Master's architecture degree fee in 2023 is CSP $8,400 per year full-time.


Note: The actual fees may vary based on what units you choose. As universities review fees annually, the above course fee may be subject to an increase.



Does Architecture Have Math?


Yes. Working in an "Architect" profession requires mathematics to perform various tasks to build an aesthetically pleasing structure. Knowledge of math concepts helps compute costs and work out design parameters.


Some other applications of math in an Architect profession include:


  • Conversion of units to measure standard building supplies.

  • Sketch and build models to scale.

  • Understand ratios compare dimensions, and ensure buildings are proportionate everywhere in your design.

  • Calculate the build cost.

  • Apply mathematical principles to create complex and functional forms. 

  • Balance your account books that require the knowledge of ratios, arithmetic, and percentages.



How Do I Get My First Architecture Job?


You need a Master's degree in architecture and at least two years of practical industry experience to apply for registration with your local authority.


Once you become a registered architect, you can apply for graduate jobs with building or architectural design firms.


While studying, look for internship and work placement opportunities with a local architectural firm. It will help current students and graduates to learn architectural practice, develop valuable design and construction skills, and acquire practical jobs to perform architectural work in Australia.


Another way to gain practical work experience is to register themselves on online job portals and find local architectural positions.



Is It Hard To Be an Architect?


Yes. The road to qualify for this role can be lengthy and complicated.


Most states require architects to gain practical experience and registration to work in this role. So, aspiring architects must have the commitment, ambition, and persistence to spend several years studying for postgraduate education and training before starting this profession.


Also, the ATAR for most architecture degree courses ranges between the mid-70s to mid-80s. Hence, they need to work hard during high school to qualify.



Is It Worth It To Be an Architect?


Yes. A career in architecture can be ideal if you wish to channel your creativity into a practical career. Aspiring architects with a passion for the spaces we inhabit and a knack for design will enjoy working in the Architect profession.


It is a gratifying profession where you play a vital role in creating the buildings people use daily and positively impacting society.


Furthermore, architects and landscape architects are in high demand in Australia. The broad job market opens the door to several career opportunities and paths in architecture that assures job security in this profession.


Over 80% of architects are employed full-time, compared to 66% of the general population. The government notes robust growth in the sector that should continue in the coming years. Professionals will likely grow from 37,100 in 2019 to 42,300 by 2024.


If you are enthusiastic about architecture and construction and have strong attention to detail, this could be the career you will love.



Do Architects Get Paid Well in Australia?


Yes. This occupation has a high earning potential for architects with experience and specialised skills.


Besides a good remuneration package, professionals also receive other incentives, such as the liberty to create inspiring spaces and positively impact the built environment. It makes a career as an architect both professionally and personally rewarding.



Are Architecture Jobs in Demand in Australia?


Australia is home to several construction and engineering firms that drive the demand for architects. Every year, the country offers plenty of opportunities for people wishing to work in architecture.


Architects with experience and specialised skills will continue to be in demand in local councils and public and private architectural firms across Australia.


The government projects the architecture job market to grow over the next few years. It will translate to a high demand for architects at all levels to match the growth expectations.



Is It Hard To Get a Job in Architecture in Australia?


There are a large number of entry-level architect roles available in Australia.


As each firm looks for capable staff, architects with relevant education, skills, and local experience can easily find a job in this sector.


To ease your job hunt, look for positions in developing areas where several corporations, hospitals, and housing constructions are getting built. Such places have a high demand for architectural firms, which implies higher chances of finding a job in these locations.


Furthermore, look for jobs in larger firms than smaller ones that are sole proprietorships. Getting into a smaller firm could be difficult as it may only hire a new architect once every few years.


Larger firms usually hire more frequently and have more openings, which makes it easier to land a role there. When the economy is strong and booming, they may employ anyone who meets a minimal skill level of skill and talent.



Is Studying Architecture in Australia Worth It?


Vibrant student cities, world-class education programs, and incredible career prospects are a few things that inspire countless students to choose Australia for their studies abroad.


For their top-notch facilities, globally-recognised curricula, and knowledgeable professors, Australian universities are among the top academic institutions worldwide to study architecture courses.


Their well-structured and career-oriented programs in architecture help students develop functional technical skills and knowledge to work in a range of roles and industries, such as:


  • Commercial Architect

  • Industrial Architect

  • Building Architect

  • Building Inspector

  • Interior Architect

  • Urban Planner

  • Landscape Architect

  • Lighting Architect

  • Historic Sites Architect


Furthermore, the country promises a vast employment market, job growth, and a positive career outlook for architecture graduates in Australia.



11. Final Words


Becoming a licensed architect in Australia takes a long time and is only for some.


However, the architecture industry is so vast that architects have many opportunities to succeed using their skills, strengths, and interests. As long as they are willing to work hard, to will achieve their dream.


Additionally, modern technology and the internet have influenced how this industry does business, further increasing the number of opportunities for people aspiring to become architects.


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