Careers in Architecture

Careers in Architecture

Author: Ms L Padma Swathy, Counselling Psychologist

Brief Insight

Architecture is a captivating and dynamic field that offers a wide range of exciting career opportunities. It involves the art and science of designing and constructing structures that not only serve practical purposes but also contribute to the aesthetic appeal of our surroundings. From designing magnificent skyscrapers to creating sustainable homes, architects play a crucial role in shaping the world we live in.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of careers in architecture, exploring the educational requirements, various specializations, job roles and responsibilities, essential skills, industry trends, licensing and certification, as well as the potential for career growth and advancement in this field. Whether you are a student aspiring to become an architect or an individual considering a career switch, this article will serve as a valuable resource to help you navigate the exciting world of architecture.


What is Architecture?

Architecture is the art and science of designing buildings and other physical structures. A detailed description includes the design of the total built environment from the macro level of town planning, urban design, and landscape architecture to the micro level of construction details and, sometimes, furniture. The term “Architecture” is also used for the profession of providing architectural services.

Architecture starts when you carefully put two bricks together. There it begins. - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe,German-American architect,one of the pioneers of modern architecture.

To say in simple words, Architecture is a specific area of study and work which deals with design, plan of buildings and structures. The construction industry is one of the largest economic sectors of our country. Architects often work with engineers, urban planners, interior designers, landscape architects and others.

When a question of construction of a house or a building comes there comes the role of Architecture. An Architect prepares the plan for the building, estimates the cost and looks after its construction till completion. While preparing a design the Architects take the following into consideration- functional aspects, safety, economy and the requirement of the client.

Who is an Architect?

An architect is a combination of technical and artistic aspects into one. He/she is involved in many activities like

  • Design: An architect primarily designs buildings. An architect carefully makes plans, based on which the building is constructed. An architect also looks at the way in which the space gets utilized, depending on what function the building will serve and how many people will use it. For instance a shopping complex has to be designed and built differently from a hospital or a school.
  • While making a plan, the architect takes into account many practical issues such as climatic conditions, water supply and drainage, electricity supply, orientation, topography of the land and multiple other such factors.
    He/she usually possess sound engineering knowledge as well as practical knowledge about building materials, public convenience facilities such as parking etc. Safety is another very important factor that Architects look at while designing the building.
  • The architect also looks into the aesthetics of the building based on what it represents.
  • Renovation and conservation: Many a times, the work of an Architect is also to renovate or structurally modify the existing buildings. He/she also looks into conservation of old and heritage structures.

Importance of Architecture in Society

Architecture plays a crucial role in a society, influencing our daily lives in ways we may not even realize. From the homes we live in to the public spaces we enjoy, architecture has the power to improve our quality of life. It creates environments that inspire, promote sustainability, and foster a sense of community. Good architecture has the ability to transform ordinary spaces into extraordinary experiences.

Overview of Careers in Architecture

A career in architecture offers a world of possibilities. Whether you dream of designing skyscrapers, restoring historical landmarks, or creating innovative spaces, the field of architecture has something for everyone. Architects work in a variety of settings, including architectural firms, construction companies, and government agencies.

They collaborate with engineers, contractors, and clients to turn ideas into reality. So, if you have a passion for design, problem-solving, and making a lasting impact, a career in architecture might just be your blueprint for success.

Educational Requirements for Architects

Bachelor's Degree in Architecture(B.Arch)

The undergraduate program provides a solid foundation in architectural design, building construction, and structural systems. Students will learn the fundamentals of design principles, drafting techniques, and architectural history. So, get ready to spend countless hours perfecting your sketches and models, because in architecture, attention to detail is key!

Master's Degree in Architecture

Though doing a bachelor's degree may qualify for some entry-level positions, pursuing a master's degree in architecture can open up more opportunities in the field. Post graduate program delves deeper into specialized areas of architecture, allowing you to develop your skills and expertise.

Students explore advanced design concepts, sustainability practices, and emerging technologies. Also they will have the chance to work on real-world projects and build a portfolio that showcases their creativity and expertise.

The Career Profile of Architects

Internship and Practical Experience

Education alone isn't enough to become a successful professional, architecture is no exception. Gaining practical experience through internships or apprenticeships is invaluable in this field. The Programs in Architecture require students to complete internships as part of their curriculum.

During the final year the students of Architecture have to undergo an internship in an architectural firm to gain valuable experience by working alongside people who have been in the field for a longer duration, before starting working on their own or joining an Architectural firm or Real Estate companies. These hands-on experiences provide an opportunity to work alongside professionals, learn about the practical aspects of architecture, and network with industry insiders.

Admission Procedure

Admissions to architecture courses are on the basis of an admission test to evaluate a candidate’s aptitude as well as proficiency in drawing. The minimum educational qualification to appear for this admission is 10+2 Science or equivalent level of education. Most institutions select students through an entrance examination. B.Arch. is a 5 years course after 10+2 with PCM. The P.G. the course is generally for 18 months to 2 years.

Courses & Eligibility

Bachelor's degree in Architecture (B.Arch., which is a 5 year course)
  • A candidate must have passed their 10+2 examination or equivalent with Mathematics as one of the subjects.
  • They must have secured a minimum of 50% marks (45% marks for reserved category) in 10+2 or
  • Should have passed 10+3 Diploma (any stream) recognized by central/state governments with 50% aggregate marks or
  • Should have completed their International Bachelor's Diploma, after ten years of schooling, with not less than 50% marks in aggregate and with Mathematics as compulsory subject of examination.

Course Fees

A 5-year bachelor’s degree in architecture from a government institute can cost between Rs 1.6 – 2.3 lakhs. In a private institution, it may cost between Rs 2 – 3.5 lakhs. The fee mentioned does not include hostel, library expenses etc.

Institutes of Architecture

There are around 86 institutions which impart training in Architecture. The Top 20 Institutions as per NIRF Ranking are: India Rankings 2023: Architecture

1 Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee Roorkee, Uttarakhand
2 Indian Institute of Technology ,Calicut Kozhikode, Kerala
3 National Institute of Technology, Kharagpur Kharagpur, West Bengal
4 National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli Tiruchirappalli,
Tamil Nadu
5 School of Planning and Architecture New Delhi, Delhi
6 Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi, Delhi
7 Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology University Ahmedabad, Gujarat
8 National Institute of Technology, Rourkela Rourkela, Odisha
9 Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh
10 Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur Howrah, West Bengal
11 School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal

Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
12 Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology Nagpur, Maharashtra
13 Malaviya National Institute of Technology Jaipur, Rajasthan
14 S.R.M. Institute of Science and Technology Chennai, Tamil Nadu
15 Chandigarh University Mohali, Punjab
16 Lovely Professional University Phagwara, Punjab
17 College Of Engineering, Trivandrum Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
18 School of Planning and Architecture Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh
19 National Institute of Technology, Patna Patna, Bihar
20 Birla Institute of Technology Ranchi, Jharkhand


Some other famous colleges of Architecture are:

  • Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University, Hyderabad
  • Jadavpur University Faculty Council of Engineering & Technology , Kolkata
  • University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering (UVCE) Bangalore
  • MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology (MSRIT) ,Bangalore
  • BS Abdur Rahman University (BSAR University) ,Chennai
  • L S Raheja School of Architecture ,Mumbai
  • Sathyabama University, Chennai
  • Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore
  • GITAM University, Visakhapatnam
  • IES College of Architecture Mumbai
  • Sri Venkateswara College of Architecture ,Hyderabad
  • Institute of Design Environment & Architecture -Indus University, Ahmedabad
  • MEASI Academy of Architecture ,Chennai
  • Asian School of Architecture and Design Innovation, Kochi
  • McGAN’S Ooty School of Architecture, Ootacamund
  • School of Architecture CSI Institute of Technology ,Secunderabad
  • Mohamed Sathak Engineering College, Ramanathapuram
  • J.J. School of Architecture, Mumbai
  • Naval College of Engineering INS Shivaji Lonavala, Mumbai
  • Vaastu Kala Academy, School of Architecture & Interior Designing, New Delhi
  • Punjab University, Chandigarh College of Architecture, Chandigarh
  • Lucknow University, Govt. College of Architecture, Lucknow
  • Goa University, College of Architecture, Goa

Entrance exams for Architecture

The major significant feature of the JEE that is conducted for the architecture stream is that it consists of questions to evaluate the knowledge of the students, besides their attitude towards the values and architecture perspectives.
Nowadays, the craze for architecture has increased tremendously, as equal to streams like engineering and medicine. The main Exams for Architecture are:

  • JEE Mains(Paper2)
  • NATA

The scores of JEE mains and NATA are accepted by all institutions for B.Arch/B.Plan admissions. Apart from these, a few institutions also conduct their own entrance exams for admission to B.Arch.

JEE Mains:

The Joint Entrance Examination (JEE Main) is an all India level entrance examination for both engineering/architecture streams. Hence, it comprises of separate question patterns and structure for both the streams. The Paper 2 is conducted for admission to Undergraduate Engineering Programs (paper 2A-B.Arch/ Paper 2B-B.Plan) at NITs, IIITs, other Government Funded Technical Institutions (GFTIs), Institutions/Universities funded/recognized by participating State Governments and other participating institutes.

It is an eligibility test for JEE (Advanced),and the student after clearing the same have to score in AAT(Architecture Admission Test) which is conducted for architecture admission to IITs.

The JEE mains Paper 2A (B. Arch): it comprises of 3 parts, Mathematics (Part-I) and Aptitude Test (Part-II) in Computer Based Test (CBT) mode only and Drawing Test (Part-III) in Pen & Paper Based (offline) mode, to be attempted on drawing sheet of A4 size.

JEE Mains Paper 2B (B. Planning): it comprises of 3 parts, Part-I: Mathematics, Part-II: Aptitude Test and Part-III: Planning Based.

It is a 3 hour examination and it is usually conducted at the end of 12th standard examination. It is conducted by National Testing Agency(NTA) in India. The JEE (Main) is being conducted in two Sessions (January/April) for admissions.
For Further details about eligibility, date of exam and exam pattern etc, pl do check the official website link given below:

National Aptitude Test in Architecture (NATA)

NATA is conducted by National Institute of Advanced Studies in Architecture (NIASA) which is a body of Council of Architecture, New Delhi in India. The National Aptitude Test in Architecture is a national level examination for admission to undergraduate courses in Architecture. It is Test conducted by the Council of Architecture for B.Arch admission across the country.

Admissions to B.Arch and B.Plan degree courses at all Institutes / colleges of Architecture in India (including Government, Government-aided, Private Unaided, University Departments, Deemed Universities, etc. ) will be on the basis of NATA scores.

NATA measures the aptitude of the applicant for specific field of study, i.e. Architecture, through assessment of cognitive skills, visual perception and aesthetic sensitivity tests, logical reasoning, and critical thinking ability, etc., besides the learning that the candidate has acquired over the past few years and is related to the specific field of study.

Scheme of Examination

  1. National Aptitude Test in Architecture (NATA) is being conducted by the Council of Architecture at national level for admission to 5-year B.Arch Degree Course at all recognized institutions across India.
  2. NATA scores are used by admissions authorities of different governments, Govt. Aided & Unaided schools/ colleges of Architecture.
  3. The test measures drawing and observation skills, sense of proportion, aesthetic sensitivity, and critical thinking ability.
  4. The test is in two parts. A paper-based drawing test for two hours and computer based online aesthetic sensitivity test.

NATA Eligibility Criteria

  • Those applicants who have passed SSC (Class 10th) or equivalent examination can appear for NATA but are not eligible to apply for the B.Arch courses.
  • Candidates who have passed 10+2 or equivalent with a minimum of 50% marks are eligible for NATA.
  • They must have studied Mathematics as a main subject in 10+2.
  • The National Aptitude Test in Architecture -NATA exam is conducted three times a year for admissions to B.Arch.

For Further details about eligibility, date of exam and exam pattern etc, please do check the official website link given below:

Industry Trends and Opportunities in Architecture

Career Prospects

A qualified architect may either work with an architectural firm or begin his/her own firm. He/she also has the option of being employed by various government organizations such as Public Works Department, the Archaeological Department, Ministry of Defence, National Building Organization, Town and Country Planning Organization, National Institute of Urban Affairs, Departments of Railways, Post and Telegraphs, Public Sector Undertakings, Housing and Urban Development Corporation, National Building Construction Corporation Ltd., etc.

While some other organizations or bodies like State Departments, Housing Boards, and Local Bodies for construction works, Builders, Architecture Firms, Consultants, etc. also hire architects.

Licensing and Registration for Architects

After the student has completed the internship, he/ she will be required to have a license so that he/ she can work professionally as an Architect. Furthermore, to obtain a license, one will have to register himself/ herself with The Council of Architecture (COA).

The Council of Architecture (COA) has been constituted by the Government of India under the provisions of the Architects Act, 1972, enacted by the Parliament of India, which came into force on 1st September 1972.

The Act provides for registration of Architects, standards of education, recognized qualifications, and standards of practice to be complied with by the practicing architects. The Council of Architecture is charged with the responsibility to regulate the education and practice of profession throughout India besides maintaining the register of architects.

Any person desirous of carrying on the profession of 'Architect' must have registered himself with the Council of Architecture. For the purpose of registration, one must possess the requisite qualification as appended to the Architects Act, after having undergone the education in accordance with the Council of Architecture (Minimum Standards of Architectural Education) Regulations, 1983.

The registration with Council of Architecture entitles a person to practice the profession of architecture, provided he holds a Certificate of Registration with up-to-date renewals. The registration also entitles a person to use the title and style of Architect.

Website link:

Pay & Remuneration

Architecture is a professional course. Like a Chartered Accountant or a doctor, an Architect can choose to work as an employee or start his/her own practice. The starting level earnings of an architect can be approximately Rs 2.5 lakh per annum. Of Course, the earnings would vary depending on the city and your area of specialization.

For example, in a Metropolitan City, a B.Arch graduate employed in an architectural firm may get Rs 2.5 to 3 lakhs a year beginning, while employment in a real estate company may fetch a salary of Rs 5-6 lakhs to begin with. However, on gaining experience the same may start his own practice and earn good money.

The students can do their specializations in postgraduate courses. few subject specializations are:

  • Master’s in architecture
  • Master’s in planning
  • Master’s in design
  • Master’s in technology
  • Master of Urban and Regional Planning
  • Master Program in Building Engineering and Management
  • Master’s Program in Landscape Architecture.
  • Master’s Program in Sustainable architecture
  • Master’s Program in Transport planning

Nature of Work

The design of a building involves a lot more than just appearance. So, an architect takes a lot of things into consideration, such as safety, function, economy and suitability. These duties demand a variety of skills-designing, engineering, managerial and supervisory. One can specialize in Naval Architecture which involves designing ships, ship building yards, construction of oil rigs on high seas etc.

Work Activities
  • Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment - Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
  • Decision Making and Solving Problems- Analysing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Create graphical representations of structures or landscapes. Incorporate green features into the design of structures or facilities. Direct design or development activities. Prepare contracts, disclosures, or applications.
  • Document technical design details.

  • Design - Should have the knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Building and Construction - Should have the knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Should be well versed in the principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. Like, customer needs assessment, Quality standards for services, and Evaluate customer satisfaction.
  • Administration and Management - Should have the knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modelling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

  • Critical Thinking skills - Should be able to Use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking skills - Should be able to Talk to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening skills - should give full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem-Solving skills - Should possess the skill of Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision-Making skills - Should be able to consider the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

  • Visualization - Should be able to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Fluency of Ideas - Should be creative and be able to come up with a number when required.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Should be able to apply general rules to specific problems to get answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Should have the ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions.
  • Information Ordering - Should be able to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any additional certifications or credentials that can enhance an architect's career?

The following are few certifications to enhance the career of an Architect:

3D Photorealistic Architectural Visualisation
The 3D Photorealistic Architectural Visualisation certificate validates proficiency in creating highly realistic three-dimensional representations of architectural designs.

Sustainable Architecture
Sustainable architecture is an architectural design approach that emphasizes environmental responsibility, resource efficiency and the creation of healthy, comfortable spaces for occupants.

Indian Green Building Council Accredited Professional (IGBC AP)
The IGBC AP certification is for individuals with expertise in green building practices and the application of IGBC's green building rating systems. To earn the certification, complete a comprehensive training programme that includes topics such as sustainable site development, green building concepts, water efficiency, energy conservation, material selection and indoor environmental quality.

LEED AP Building Design + Construction (LEED)
For professionals with expertise in the design and construction phases of green buildings, serving the commercial, residential, education and healthcare sectors.

Project Management Professional (PMP)
The Project Management Institute offers PMP certification to individuals who demonstrate exceptional knowledge and skills in project management. To get PMP certification, candidates require specific education and experience. They then complete a comprehensive training programme and pass a rigorous examination.

The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF)
TOGAF is a widely-adopted, industry-standard methodology for enterprise architecture that offers a comprehensive approach to designing, planning, implementing and managing institutional structure.

Certified Professional in AutoCAD for Design and Drafting
This certification from Autodesk demonstrates an individual's expertise in using AutoCAD software for various design and drafting tasks.

What are some popular specializations within the field of architecture?

Some specializations in the field of architecture are:

  • Residential Architecture
  • Commercial Architecture
  • Landscaping
  • Interior Architecture
  • Urban Design
  • Green Building Design /Sustainable Architecture
  • Industrial Architecture
  • Conservation Architecture
About the Author:

Ms. L. Padma Swathy is a Counselling Psychologist with a Post Graduation in Psychology. Trained and Certified in Art Therapy.
Trained and certified in using and interpreting the Career Assessment & Counselling assessment tool of Pearson India - MCMF (My Choice My Future) and various other assessment tools.
Trained and certified in the Promotion of Geriatric Mental Health workshop conducted by Vayomanasa Sanjeevani Geriatric Clinic & Services, NIMHANS, Bangalore.

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