How to become an Architectural Technician or Technologist. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does an Architectural Technician do?
Architectural technicians and architectural technologists use their knowledge and expertise to make sure building designs are practical and useable. They work on domestic, commercial and industrial projects.
As an architectural technician you would support architectural technologists, architects and other professionals in the construction industry. Your duties would include:
- collecting, organising and investigating technical information for use during project development
- preparing drawings
- creating plans
- developing specifications for construction work
- using computer aided design (CAD) as well as traditional drawing methods.
As an architectural technologist you would use a broader range of skills, and you would be able to set up in practice on your own. You could negotiate the construction project and manage the whole process from conception to completion.
Your work could include:
- assessing clients’ needs
- collecting and analysing technical data
- advising on legal requirements
- getting tenders and negotiating contracts
- advising on materials
- carrying out land and building surveys
- making drawings for use on site
- checking progress and inspecting completed building work.
You could also work with clients after construction, getting feedback and appraising the performance of buildings.
You would usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, although you may sometimes have to work extra hours to meet deadlines.
You would be mainly office-based, but would spend some time visiting clients and construction sites, which could involve working outdoors in all weathers. Travelling to sites and meetings may mean spending time away from home.
How much does an Architectural Technician earn?
Salary and pay information:
- Starting salaries may be between £18,000 to £22,000 a year.
- With experience, this could rise to between £33,000 and £48,000.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
You can either study for an academic qualification before starting work, or follow a work-based route.
Studying before starting work
The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) recommend the following qualifications:
- architectural technicians – BTEC HNC/HND in Architectural Technology or Construction, or a foundation degree in Architectural Technology
- architectural technologists – Honours degree in Architectural Technology approved by the CIAT.
Degree courses can take three or four years full-time (or the part-time equivalent). Four-year programmes often including a year’s industry experience, which is a good way for you to gain practical experience and make contacts.
See the CIAT website for details of approved courses. You should check with colleges and universities for entry requirements.
- Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists
When you have successfully completed an appropriate course you can apply for Associate membership of the CIAT. This means you can apply for relevant work and complete the professional qualification stage of your training – see the training and development section below for details.
You may be able to get into this area through an Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more about Apprenticeships, visit the Apprenticeships website.
Alternatively, some employers in this sector may take you on if you have around four GCSEs (A-C) and two A levels or a BTEC National Certificate/Diploma. Relevant subjects include science, technology, building services engineering and construction. Once you are working in a related area, you may then take one of the recommended qualifications (BTEC HNC/HND or degree) on a part-time basis.
Training and Development
Once you are in employment as a technician or technologist, you can work towards achieving:
- Technician membership of the CIAT
- Chartered (MCIAT) membership of the CIAT.
You will need to complete an assessment against the CIAT’s professional standards (known as a Professional and Occupational Performance (POP) Record).
As an architectural technician, your POP Record is likely to take between one and two years. If you are successful you will be able to use the title TCIAT. You could continue to develop your skills and progress to qualifying as a Chartered Architectural Technologist.
To qualify as a Chartered Architectural Technologist would usually take three years, after which you would have a Professional Practice Interview. If you are successful in this you will have the right to use the title MCIAT.
Once you are qualified you will need to keep your knowledge and skills up to date through continuing professional development (CPD) activity.
Skills and Knowledge
- drawing skills
- attention to detail
- the ability to visualise objects in 3-D
- a practical and methodical approach
- good analytical skills
- the ability to interpret designs and technical drawings
- the ability to use software such as AutoCAD, SketchUp, Studio Max and Photoshop
- maths skills for technical and financial calculations
- good spoken and written communication skills
- the ability to work effectively in a team
- management skills for leading projects.
You will find most jobs with organisations like private architectural practices, housing associations, property developers and building and construction companies.
As an experienced and chartered architectural technologist you could set up your own practice or work as a consultant. You may also find some opportunities to work in universities and carry out research.