Architectural technicians/technologists work closely with architects and other building professionals, providing architectural design services and solutions on construction projects.
As specialists in the science of architecture, building design and construction, they negotiate and develop an architectural project and manage the process from conception through to completion. This includes architectural design management, contract management and post-construction work.
Manage or co-ordinate professionals working on a project.
After the construction project is completed, they obtain feedback from clients and people using the building, and report on the performance of the contractors.
Architectural technicians/technologists also evaluate and advise on refurbishment, repair, reuse, recycling and deconstruction of buildings.
An architectural technologist has a broader range of skills than a technician. They contribute more to the design and construction process, including contract management, certification and post-construction work.
Architectural technicians/technologists usually work from 9am to 5pm from Monday to Friday, although overtime may be necessary to meet deadlines. There is a limited amount of part-time work available.
Most work is based in the office, with some time spent visiting clients and sites. Site work may involve working outdoors in all weather conditions, climbing ladders and scaffolding, and wearing boots and a safety helmet.
Some work involves travel and time away from home. A driving licence is essential.
Starting salaries may be around £15,000 to £18,000 a year.
There are currently estimated to be around 15,000 architectural technicians/technologists, of whom around 7,000 are members and students of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT).
Most of them work in architectural technology practices, architecture practices or local authorities. Other employers include government agencies, housing associations, commercial companies, manufacturers and construction organisations. Work is available throughout the UK and there are also worldwide opportunities.
CIAT includes job vacancies on its website, and from time to time sends out details of job opportunities to members in specific areas. Employment agencies specialising in the construction industry advertise vacancies, as do the trade magazines and journals such as CIAT Architectural Technology Magazine.
Young people may either start through a technician Apprenticeship or other employment, or start directly in the profession after studying at university or college. Most apprentices start at 16 to 18 years.
For Apprenticeship training, the qualifications are normally four GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3) usually from subjects such as English, maths, science, design technology, engineering, applied ICT and art.
Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.
Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Some entrants study before starting work and the recommended qualifications for entry are:
Degrees in architectural technology are offered at many universities, but other relevant subjects which are acceptable include architectural engineering, building services engineering, building/construction, built environment studies, civil and structural engineering and surveying.
For an HNC/HND in Architectural Design or Architectural Technology, students usually need at least one or two A levels/two H grades and three GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3), or equivalent qualifications.
Students applying for degrees in architectural technology need at least two A levels/three H grades, and five GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3), or equivalent qualifications. Entrants with a relevant HND may be accepted onto the second year of a degree course, or they can complete a one-year 'top up' course to convert the HND to a degree.
For apprentices, training is normally provided by employers in the workplace, with day release at college for BTEC/SQA or NVQ/SVQ awards. Their training usually leads to an NVQ/SVQ Level 4 in Architectural Technology or an HNC.
Many employers and clients expect architectural technicians/technologists to be members of CIAT. Associate membership (ACIAT) requires one of the following qualifications:
To become a fully-qualified architectural technician or architectural technologist and a full member of CIAT, individuals need to complete an assessment known as the Professional and Occupational Performance Record (POP Record).
Architectural technicians need to complete a POP Record lasting one or two years. This leads to technician membership of CIAT (TCIAT).
Architectural technologists need to complete a POP Record lasting two or three years, followed by a professional assessment interview. Successful completion of these leads to chartered membership of CIAT (MCIAT).
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
Skills and personal qualities
There are good opportunities for progression to senior positions, which may include more supervisory or management responsibilities.
An architectural technician may become a chartered architectural technologist with further training.
With experience, many chartered architectural technologists set up their own practices, or work in partnership with other building professionals.
Experienced architectural technologists can also work as consultants, and there are some opportunities to teach and carry out research in universities.
It is also possible to work on projects abroad.
Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT),
397 City Road, London EC1V 1NH
Tel: 020 7278 2206
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.