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Career Spotlight: Architect

Responsible for designing living, working, learning, worshipping, shopping, meeting and eating places, an architect uses his or her creative flair and practical understanding of structures and materials to come up with plans, specs, and detailed drawings for new buildings and restoring old ones. That said, here’s a look at what the job entails, how in-demand these skills are, and what salaries are earned within the sector.


What does an architect do?

Although this is by no means a complete list, here’s a roundup of the most common tasks you’ll be expected to perform if you work as an architect:

  • Discuss the requirements of your clients and prepare briefs
  • Prepare sketches, production drawings, and detailed drawings (either by hand or with Computer-Aided Design) equipment
  • Include the use of structural, mechanical and artistic elements in the design
  • Obtain the required approvals from authorities
  • Prepare specs and contract documents before observing, inspecting and monitoring the building work
  • Evaluate completed projects


What qualifications do I need?

You’ll start off by studying a Bachelor of Science: Architecture degree or a National Diploma: Architecture at a South African university. To get there, you’ll need a National Senior Certificate (Matric) that meets the requirements for a diploma or degree course. After your theoretical studies are complete, you can do in-service training where you’ll be supervised by a registered architect. At the end of your practical training, you’ll write a professional practice entrance exam after which you’ll have to register as an architect with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession.


The demand (and pay) for architects in South Africa

At the moment, architecture is a skill that’s high in demand. The average salary for an architect in South Africa is about R650,000 per year, but architects in Gauteng make, on average, R100,000 more annually than those based in the Western Cape.


At the end of October 2019, there were 1,100 architecture jobs on offer across the country with 55% of those vacancies listed within the Gauteng province. Mpumalanga was the province with the lowest demand for architects, having only 1 job on offer.


Where can I study architecture?

You can obtain your BSC in Architecture by studying at any one of the following South African Tertiary Education Institutions:


University of KwaZulu Natal –

University of the Free State –

University of Witwatersrand –

University of Pretoria –

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University –

Cape Peninsula University of Technology –

Tshwane University of Technology –


If you’re interested in learning more about architects in South African and the sector in general, you can browse the websites of the South African Institute of Architects, the South African Council for the Architectural Profession and the South African Institute of Architectural Technologists.


What jobs am I qualified for after studying architecture?

Once you’ve obtained your BSC in Architecture, you can go into a wide range of career paths including:

  • Architectural Technologist
  • Draughtsperson
  • 3D Visualisation
  • Architecture
  • Interior Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Urban Design
  • City & Regional Planning
  • Conservation
  • Master Planning
  • Project Management
  • Mediation and Arbitration