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Career profile: Architectural technician

Career profile: Architectural technicianDo you enjoy designing and problem solving? If so, perhaps a career as an architectural technician or technologist is for you. Read the job profile below to find out.

A what?

Architectural technicians (sometimes called architectural technologists) work closely with architects and other building professionals, providing architectural design services and helping to solve problems on construction projects.

On the job

As specialists in the science of architecture, building design and construction, architectural technicians negotiate and develop an architectural project and manage the process from conception through to completion. This includes architectural design management, contract management and post-construction work.

The work of an architectural technician might begin by negotiating projects, assessing the needs of clients and users, and agreeing the project brief. They would then design the project, preparing and presenting design proposals using computer-aided design (CAD) and traditional methods.

The technician will go on to manage the project, obtaining and evaluating offers to buy (also known as tenders) and contracts.
In general, architectural technicians also evaluate and advise on refurbishment, repair, reuse, recycling and deconstruction of buildings.
An architectural technologist differs slightly from a technician as they have a broader range of skills, and will contribute more to the design and construction process, including contract management, certification and post-construction work.

How much does it pay?

Salaries can start at around £15,000 but as you get more experienced you can earn £40,000 or more.

How do I get there?

There are a few entry routes available to begin a career as an architectural technician/technologist. You can start through a technician apprenticeship or other employment, or start directly in the profession after studying at university or college. Most apprentices start at 16 to 18 years.

Apprenticeships

For apprenticeship training, the qualifications are normally four GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3) usually from subjects such as English, maths, science, design technology, engineering, applied ICT and art.

There are different types of apprenticeship available, from Young apprenticeships to Advanced apprenticeships. Log onto the apprenticeships website to find out which would be most appropriate for you.

There are different arrangements for apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For further information contact My World of Work (Scotland), Careers Wales and for Northern Ireland contact COIU

HNDs, HNCs and degrees

The recommended qualifications for an architectural technician is a Higher National Certificate/Diploma (HNC/HND) in Architectural Design or Architectural Technology. To become an architectural technologist it’s recommended that you have a HND or a degree in architectural technology that is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT).

For an HNC/HND in Architectural Design or Architectural Technology, students usually need at least one or two A levels/two H grades and three GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3), or equivalent qualifications.

Degrees in architectural technology are offered at many universities, but other relevant subjects which are acceptable include architectural engineering, building services engineering, building/construction, built environment studies, civil and structural engineering and surveying.

Students applying for degrees in architectural technology need at least two A levels/three H grades, and five GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3), or equivalent qualifications. Entrants with a relevant HND may be accepted onto the second year of a degree course, or they can complete a one-year 'top up' course to convert the HND to a degree.

Further training

For apprentices, training is normally provided by employers in the workplace, with day release at college for BTEC/SQA or NVQ/SVQ awards. The training usually leads to an NVQ/SVQ Level 4 in Architectural Technology or an HNC.

Many employers and clients also expect architectural technicians/technologists to be members of CIAT. For information on various levels of membership available from CIAT and how you can qualify visit the CIAT website.