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Architects design building projects and advise clients regarding building projects. They prepare programs, sketches and cost estimates, produce scale construction drawings, write specifications and review on-site construction work.

  • Avg. Salary $80,216.00
  • Avg. Wage $40.35
  • Minimum Education 7 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 1,700
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Designer, Environmental Designer, Site Designer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Architects (2151) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Architects (C051) 
  • 2011 NOC: Architects (2151) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Architect is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Interest in synthesizing information to conceptualize and design buildings, and to develop plans describing design specifications, building materials, costs and construction schedules


Interest in precision working to prepare sketches and models according to clients' specifications; and in participating in contract negotiations


Interest in supervising and monitoring activities on construction sites to ensure compliance with specifications; and in awarding construction contracts

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Dec 14, 2016

Architects meet with clients to discuss their needs and desires, visit the proposed building site, analyze requirements, and review land use bylaws, and other codes and regulations. Then they prepare sketches of proposed layouts and present them to clients.

Upon client approval of the design concept and budget, architects proceed through design development to the construction document stage. These documents, usually produced on computers, include:

  • detailed drawings
  • specifications (written instructions for contractors)
  • contract documents.

In planning building layouts, architects must keep in mind the space relationships of the interior, structural, electrical and mechanical systems, and current codes and regulations affecting site planning. They also make recommendations on the sustainability and energy efficiency related to site and building design, operation and maintenance. Architects prepare estimates of construction costs from information obtained from building contractors. They also may consult with:

  • soils engineers and surveyors (hired by clients)
  • structural, electrical and mechanical engineers
  • urban planners
  • landscape architects
  • interior designers and kitchen consultants
  • cost estimators
  • acoustical engineers
  • local planning, zoning and building code officials
  • contractors
  • materials and equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

Architects frequently meet with clients to:

  • evaluate designs and discuss concerns
  • provide advice concerning building sites, tenders and the selection of contractors
  • report on progress and costs
  • review plans
  • choose materials, finishes and colours.

Architects also may prepare land use studies, and carry out long-range land development plans.

Architectural firms must spend a considerable amount of time marketing their work with potential clients to ensure a steady and growing workload of projects. This requires socializing with clients as well as producing brochures and proposals.

Some architects specialize in areas such as:

  • programming
  • design
  • building and construction technology
  • specifications writing
  • cost estimating
  • project management
  • arbitration.

Individual architects or architectural firms may choose to specialize in, or become associated with, the design of particular types of buildings:

  • residential buildings (for example, single or multi-family homes, highrise apartments)
  • commercial buildings (for example, office buildings, shopping centres)
  • institutions (for example, churches, schools, hospitals)
  • historic or heritage rehabilitation (restoration of older buildings).
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Architects spend most of their time working in offices and meeting with clients, consultants and co-workers. At times, they are required to visit building sites. The pressure of deadlines and unexpected delays can be stressful.

Architects may work anywhere in the world. International work is common for some Canadian firms.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Architects need the following characteristics:

  • creativity and imagination
  • confidence, self-motivation and attention to detail
  • good organizational skills
  • ability to manage stressful situations and to adapt to change in work environment
  • ability to visualize spatial relationships in three dimentions
  • good problem solving skills
  • good oral, written and graphic communication skills
  • ability to accept criticism and work effectively in a team environment
  • ability to lead and work well with clients and other professionals.

They should enjoy synthesizing information and developing innovative designs, working with people at tasks requiring precision and supervising the work of others.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

The minimum educational requirement is a 4-year bachelor's degree and a 3-year master's degree in architecture.

Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016


Architects design building projects and advise clients regarding building projects. They prepare programs, sketches and cost estimates, produce scale construction drawings, write specifications and review on-site construction work.


Under Alberta's Architects Act and Architects Act General Regulation, you must be registered with the Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) to practice as an Architect and use the title Architect. If you are not registered with AAA, you may work under the supervision of a registered architect. Licensed interior designers and restricted practitioners may practice architecture on projects of limited scope with AAA approval.

What You Need

Registration requires the equivalent of:

  • Completion of an approved bachelor's or master's degree program in architecture
  • An internship of at least 2 years of work experience under the supervision of an architect
  • Successful completion of registration examinations

For detailed official information about registration requirements, contact the Alberta Association of Architects (AAA).

Working in Alberta

Architects who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered architects in Alberta and the jurisdiction which the applicant originates have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada? and the Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) website.

For information on the certification process for internationally educated architects, see Architect Registration Process [pdf] at

Contact Details

The Alberta Association of Architects (AAA)
Duggan House
10515 Saskatchewan Dr. NW
Edmonton, Alberta  T6E 4S1

Call: 780-432-0224

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Architects may be self-employed or employed by:

  • architectural firms
  • government agencies
  • commercial or industrial organizations
  • developers, real estate companies or contractors.

Some architects work on very large projects; others work directly with users on smaller projects. Architects who are self-employed must be good business managers.

Registered architects may become project architects or specifications writers. Experienced architects may become project designers or, if skilled in all stages of architectural design and construction, associates or partners in larger firms. Some architects teach in post-secondary schools and some do research or pursue careers as writers or critics.

In Alberta, 89% of people employed as architects work in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting the provincial economy and overall employment (especially in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

In 2016, over 1,100 architects are registered with AAA to practise in Alberta.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $19.78 $53.55 $30.60 $24.81
Overall $27.45 $63.19 $40.35 $36.86
Top $28.21 $64.62 $48.91 $48.08

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related High School Subjects
  • Fine Arts
    • Visual Arts
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Physics
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Design Studies
  • Natural Resources
    • Environmental Stewardship
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Construction
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) website:

BuildForce Canada website:

Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) website:

Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 16, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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