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Becoming an architecture apprentice

If you want to become an architect, architecture apprenticeships are a different way into a career in architecture. They combine practical experience in an architecture practice with academic training from a university. You'll earn a salary and you won't pay for your academic tuition.

As an apprentice, you’ll complete assessments during and at the end of the programme. These test both your academic learning and occupational competence developed during your time at work.

Each UK nation manages their own apprenticeship programmes. Currently, architecture apprenticeships are only available in England, but local authorities in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland will be able to provide updates.

What architecture apprenticeships can I take?

There are two architecture degree apprenticeships. The Level 6 Architectural Assistant apprenticeship includes a Part 1 degree qualification, and the Level 7 Architect Apprenticeship includes both the Part 2 and Part 3 qualifications.

Both apprenticeships typically take four years to complete, but this depends on your experience.

Entry requirements for both architecture apprenticeships are set by each university provider and employer. Generally, to enter an Architectural Assistant apprenticeship, it’s likely you’ll need a CV, portfolio and qualifications equivalent to 5 GCSEs and 3 A Levels. To enter an Architect apprenticeship, you need a minimum of an ARB prescribed Part 1 qualification or Part 1 equivalent as prescribed by the ARB.

What are the benefits of an architecture apprenticeship?

As an apprentice, you don’t pay tuition fees and you earn a salary throughout your apprenticeship.

Current apprentices say:

“Having no financial burden is substantial, especially when you are being paid to study. I have been learning and experiencing something new every day at work, which is priceless and something I wouldn’t have learnt at university otherwise. When I need any help with job or university related work, I have an amazing apprenticeship mentor, as well as plenty other architects that I can seek help from.”

“The architectural apprenticeship has enabled me to continue my path to becoming fully qualified, alongside maintaining a financial independence and keeping a professional foot in the door. It’s given me an alternative route back into academia without postponing my professional development.”

You can read more about one apprentice's thoughts in this article.

How do I find an apprenticeship?

You can look for apprenticeships on RIBA Jobs, the Find an Apprenticeship platform, or by searching elsewhere online.

You can also contact the universities which offer apprenticeship training, approach local or nearby practices directly, or see if there are any RIBA events near you where you may be able to network.

Where can I complete my academic apprenticeship training?

At least 20% of your time during an apprenticeship will be spent on academic training at a university. It’s up to your employer to choose which training provider to work with. It’s likely that your university will be local to you, so you can go to campus regularly, or the university may be further away and offer blocks of training.

See the universities currently offering RIBA validated apprenticeship courses.

What will I be doing on my days in the office during my apprenticeship?

What you’ll do day to day depends on the architecture practice you’ll be working with. Your employer and university will agree responsibility for guiding you through the various elements of the apprenticeship. Ultimately, you will need to adapt to balancing typical work commitments with study commitments and possible travel to other offices and sites.

What will I earn as an architecture apprentice?

The salary for an architecture apprentice must be at least the National Minimum or National Living Wage, depending on your age. This applies when you are in work and when you’re in your academic training.

If you’re employed by a RIBA Chartered Practice, you must be paid at least the relevant level of the Living Wage for apprentices set by the Living Wage Foundation.

What are my career prospects when I’ve completed an architecture apprenticeship?

If you’re taking the Level 6 Architectural Assistant apprenticeship, you can continue the route to qualification as an architect by moving onto the Level 7 apprenticeship or any of the other academic routes to gain your Part 2 and Part 3.

If you’ve completed your Level 7 Architect apprenticeship, you’ll need to register with the ARB to call yourself an architect. Then, RIBA Chartered Membership offers many benefits and services to you throughout your career.

Further information

There are lots of resources online which can help you as you decide whether an apprenticeship is the right path for you, including elsewhere on our website. Take a look through the links below for more information.

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