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Architect

Architects design and advise clients about building projects. They provide a wide range of services, from developing sketches and construction drawings to estimating costs. They write specifications, review on-site construction work, and provide design solutions to complex problems.

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

  • 2151: Architects

2006 NOC-S

  • C051: Architects

2011 NOC

  • 2151: Architects

2016 NOC

  • 2151: Architects

2021 NOC

  • 21200: Architects

2023 OaSIS

  • 21200.00: Architects
Duties
Updated Mar 17, 2023

Architects meet with clients to discuss their needs and desires. They visit proposed building sites, analyze their requirements, and review land-use bylaws as well as other codes and regulations. They work with construction companies on costs, construction schedules, and site supervision. Architects also develop concept sketches of proposed designs for presentation to clients. This results in presentation drawings that include site plans, perspective drawings, models, and videos.

With a client’s approval of the design and budget, architects finish developing the design and move on to creating construction documents. These documents, created on a computer, include:

  • Detailed working drawings
  • Specifications (written requirements of the contract, description of all materials, and installation requirements)
  • Contract documents, which comprise both working drawings and specifications

When architects plan layouts, they consider how site requirements relate to interior, structural, electrical, and mechanical systems in terms of placement and space. They account for building codes and regulations and their influence on layout. They recommend ways to maximize sustainability and energy efficiency, including the operation and maintenance of the finished structure.

Architects estimate construction costs using information from building contractors or cost consultants. They may also consult with:

  • Soil engineers and surveyors
  • 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
  • Community organizations
  • Contractors and construction companies
  • Materials and equipment manufacturers and suppliers

Architects frequently meet with clients to:

  • Evaluate designs and discuss concerns
  • Offer advice about building sites, tenders, and the selection of contractors
  • Report on progress and costs
  • Review plans
  • Choose materials, finishes, and colours

Architects also may prepare reports, such as land-use studies, and take part in fulfilling long-range plans for land development.

Architectural firms invest time in marketing their services to potential clients to ensure they have a steady and growing workload. This includes networking and developing a wide range of promotional material.

Some architects specialize in:

  • Project programming (describing a project’s needs)
  • Sustainable design
  • Building and construction technology
  • Specifications writing and cost estimating
  • Project management
  • Arbitration

Individual architects or architectural firms may focus on designing specific types of buildings. These could include:

  • Residential buildings such as single- and multifamily homes or high-rise apartments
  • Commercial structures such as office buildings and shopping centres
  • Institutions such as churches, schools, or hospitals
  • Historic or heritage rehabilitation (restoration of older buildings)
  • Urban design (the overall design of towns and cities, streets and public spaces)
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 17, 2023
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Architects spend much of their time in offices, communicating with clients and consultants, and working with colleagues. At times, they visit building sites to do construction administration (managing the contract between owner and builder).

Some architects take on very large projects. Others work on smaller projects. On all projects, architects work closely with the users.

Architects have a wide range of opportunities all over the world.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Architects

2006 NOC: 2151

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
INNOVATIVE

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

SOCIAL

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

DIRECTIVE

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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 17, 2023

Architects need:

  • Creativity and imagination
  • Confidence and self-motivation
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication and writing skills
  • Organizational and problem-solving skills
  • Spatial awareness
  • The ability to work collaboratively with clients, stakeholders, and large teams
  • A strong interest in technical work

They should enjoy synthesizing information and developing innovative designs. They should be at ease working with people on precision tasks.

If self-employed, architects must also be good business managers.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Architects

2016 NOC: 2151

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 11 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Feb 13, 2022 and Jul 05, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Monitor activities on construction sites to ensure compliance with specifications
Tasks: Prepare sketches and models
Tasks: Consult with clients to determine the type, style and purpose of renovations or new building construction being considered
Tasks: Conceptualize and design buildings and develop plans describing design specifications, building materials, costs and construction schedules
Tasks: Project management
Tasks: Conduct feasibility studies and financial analyses of building projects
Attention to detail
Art Exhibition Credits: Commercial
Construction Specialization: Team player
Construction Specialization: Client focus
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 17, 2023
  • Minimum Education 6 years post-secondary

The minimum educational requirement is either a bachelor of architecture degree or a professional master of architecture degree. At this time, the master of architecture degree is the only degree offered by Canadian schools of architecture. The University of Calgary currently provides the only professional program in Alberta. The accreditation of professional programs in Canada is managed by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB). For the current list of professional programs in Canada, visit the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) website.


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.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 17, 2023
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

Architect

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

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Architects Act [pdf] and Architects Act General Regulation [pdf], registration with the Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) is mandatory. Only registered members may:

  • Engage in the practice of architecture as defined in the Act and Regulation
  • Use the title Architect or Registered Architect
  • Use the terms architect, architectural, architecture, or any derivative in titles or to describe services provided
  • Affix a registered architect seal or stamp to architectural documents

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Architect.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 17, 2023

Architects may be self-employed or employed by:

  • Architectural firms
  • Government agencies
  • Commercial or industrial organizations
  • Developers, real estate companies, or contractors
  • Post-secondary schools
  • Related industries, including film, exhibition design, furniture design, or interior design
  • Project management companies

Registered architects may become project architects or specialize in other areas of the industry. With experience, architects may move into project design or construction supervision and contract administration. They may have the opportunity to become associates or partners in larger firms. Some architects teach in post-secondary schools. Others do research or move into careers as writers or critics.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2151: Architects occupational group, 80.6% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 2151: Architects occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.7% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 31 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

As of February 2021, there were 1,653 architects actively registered with the Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) to practise in the province.

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 17, 2023

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Architects

2016 NOC: 2151
Average Wage
$51.85
Per Hour
Average Salary
$103,900.00
Per Year
Average Hours
38.5
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2151 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $25.50 $61.64 $34.99 $30.77
Overall $31.07 $68.98 $51.85 $46.15
Top $33.17 $96.15 $72.48 $63.95

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

ALL INDUSTRIES
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
18%
18%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
N/A
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
3%
3%
Vacancy Rate
2%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 17, 2023

Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) website: cacb.ca

Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) website: raic.org

Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) website: www.aaa.ab.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 17, 2023. 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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