How to Become an Architect: Step-by-step Guide

How to Become an Architect: Step-by-step Guide

Step 1: Understanding the Role of an Architect

Before diving into the educational path, it’s essential to understand what architects do. Architects are responsible for designing buildings and structures that are functional, safe, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing. Their work involves:

  • Conceptualizing Designs: Creating initial designs and concepts based on client needs and regulatory requirements.
  • Developing Detailed Plans: Producing detailed blueprints and plans using computer-aided design (CAD) software.
  • Consulting with Clients and Stakeholders: Collaborating with clients, engineers, contractors, and other stakeholders to ensure the design meets all specifications.
  • Overseeing Construction: Supervising the construction process to ensure the project adheres to the design, budget, and timeline.

Step 2: Educational Requirements

  1. Choose the Right Subjects in High School:
    • Focus on subjects that will prepare you for architectural studies, such as Mathematics, Physics, and Art. These subjects help develop the analytical, technical, and creative skills necessary for architecture.
  1. Pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture (B.Arch):
    • Admission Requirements: To get into a B.Arch program, you typically need to complete your 12th grade with a focus on science and mathematics. Entrance exams like the National Aptitude Test in Architecture (NATA) or the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main Paper 2 are required for admission to many architecture schools.
    • Duration: The B.Arch program usually takes five years to complete. It includes both theoretical and practical training, covering subjects like architectural design, building materials, structural systems, and environmental studies.
  1. Internship and Practical Experience:
    • During your undergraduate studies, you will be required to complete internships. These internships provide hands-on experience and exposure to real-world architectural practices. They are crucial for developing practical skills and professional networks.

Step 3: Pursuing Advanced Studies

  1. Master’s Degree in Architecture (M.Arch):
    • After completing your B.Arch, you might choose to pursue a Master’s degree in Architecture (M.Arch) to specialize in a particular area such as urban planning, landscape architecture, or sustainable design.
    • Admission Requirements: Admission to an M.Arch program generally requires a B.Arch degree and a portfolio of your work. Some programs may also require entrance exams or interviews.
    • Duration: The M.Arch program typically takes two years to complete and includes advanced coursework and research in your chosen specialization.
  1. Additional Certifications and Courses:
    • Consider taking additional courses and certifications in specialized areas such as green building, CAD software, or project management. These can enhance your skills and make you more competitive in the job market.

Step 4: Gaining Professional Experience

  1. Work as an Intern Architect:
    • After completing your formal education, work as an intern architect under the supervision of a licensed architect. This phase is crucial for gaining the practical experience required for certification.
  1. Building a Portfolio:
    • Throughout your internships and early career, build a strong portfolio showcasing your best work. A comprehensive portfolio is essential for securing jobs and clients.

Step 5: Achieving Certification

  1. Register with the Council of Architecture (CoA):
    • In India, you must register with the Council of Architecture (CoA) to legally practice as an architect. To register, you need to have completed your B.Arch and gained the required practical experience.
  1. Architectural Licensing Examination:
    • The CoA requires candidates to pass the Architectural Licensing Examination. This exam tests your knowledge and skills in various areas of architecture and is necessary for certification.
  1. Continuing Professional Development (CPD):
    • Stay updated with the latest trends and technologies in architecture by participating in continuing professional development (CPD) programs. These programs ensure that your skills and knowledge remain current throughout your career.

Step 6: Starting Your Career

  1. Employment Opportunities:
    • Architectural Firms: Many architects begin their careers in architectural firms, working on a variety of projects and gaining diverse experience.
    • Construction Companies: Architects can also work with construction companies, contributing their design expertise to large-scale projects.
    • Government and Public Sector: Opportunities exist in the public sector, where architects can work on public infrastructure projects and urban planning.
  1. Starting Your Own Practice:
    • After gaining sufficient experience, some architects choose to start their own architectural practice. This path requires entrepreneurial skills, a strong professional network, and a comprehensive understanding of business management.
  1. Specialization and Niche Markets:
    • As you progress in your career, you may choose to specialize in areas such as sustainable design, historical restoration, or residential architecture. Specialization can open up new opportunities and allow you to focus on areas you are passionate about.


Career Prospects and Growth

The demand for skilled architects is expected to grow, driven by the need for sustainable and innovative building solutions. Architects with expertise in green building technologies, urban planning, and adaptive reuse of buildings are particularly sought after. The career offers not only financial rewards but also the satisfaction of contributing to the built environment and improving the quality of life for communities.


Salary of an Architect

The field of architecture in India offers a wide range of salaries, reflecting the diversity of roles, experience levels, and specializations within the profession. On average, architects in India earn an annual salary of approximately INR 7.20 Lakh per Annum (LPA). However, this average encompasses a broad spectrum, from entry-level positions to highly experienced roles.

Starting and Highest Salaries

  • Starting Salary: The entry-level salary for an architect in India typically begins at INR 2.10 LPA. This is the remuneration for fresh graduates who are just beginning their careers in the architectural field.
  • Highest Salary: At the upper end of the spectrum, the highest salaries for architects can reach up to INR 40.2 LPA. These high earnings are usually associated with senior positions, extensive experience, and significant expertise in specialized areas of architecture.

Salaries for Top Designations

Here’s a breakdown of the average annual salaries for various architectural roles:

  1. BIM Architect:
    • Average Salary: INR 5.40 LPA
    • Role: BIM (Building Information Modeling) architects use digital models to plan and manage building projects, ensuring efficient design and construction processes.
  1. Junior Architect:
    • Average Salary: INR 2.50 LPA
    • Role: Junior architects assist senior architects in designing and drafting architectural plans, often gaining foundational experience in the field.
  1. Design Architect:
    • Average Salary: INR 6 LPA
    • Role: Design architects focus on creating innovative and functional building designs, balancing aesthetic appeal with practical considerations.
  1. Senior Architect:
    • Average Salary: INR 17.20 LPA
    • Role: Senior architects oversee complex projects, lead design teams, and ensure that architectural plans meet all regulatory and client requirements.
  1. Project Architect:
    • Average Salary: INR 6.50 LPA
    • Role: Project architects manage specific building projects, coordinating between design, construction teams, and clients to ensure successful project completion.
  1. Principal Architect:
    • Average Salary: INR 14 LPA
    • Role: Principal architects are often the lead architects in a firm, responsible for major design decisions, business strategy, and client relations.
  1. Freelance Architect:
    • Average Salary: INR 4 LPA
    • Role: Freelance architects work independently, offering their services on a project-by-project basis. They have flexibility in choosing projects but may have varying income levels.
  1. Associate Architect:
    • Average Salary: INR 12 LPA
    • Role: Associate architects typically hold a senior position within a firm, working closely with principal architects and managing junior staff.
  1. Architectural Designer:
    • Average Salary: INR 3.60 LPA
    • Role: Architectural designers focus on the visual and functional aspects of building design, working on both the interior and exterior elements of structures.


Becoming an architect is a journey that combines rigorous education, practical experience, and a passion for design. By following the steps outlined in this guide, aspiring architects can navigate the path from high school to professional practice. The field of architecture offers a diverse range of career opportunities, allowing you to shape the world around you through creative and sustainable design solutions. Whether you choose to work in a firm, start your own practice, or specialize in a niche area, a career in architecture promises to be fulfilling and impactful.


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