Designs and oversees the construction of buildings or alterations to existing buildings.

Architects design buildings such as schools, hospitals, churches, hotels, train stations and skyscrapers as well as private houses. They work to ensure they are functional, safe and suit the needs of the people who use them, as well as aesthetically pleasing. In its broadest sense, the term architect refers to a person who translates a user’s practical and stylistic requirements into a functional built environment.

Work activities

  • Discussing the objectives, requirements and budget of a project with the client.
  • Providing various pre-design services which may include conducting feasibility and environmental impact studies, selecting a site, or specifying the requirements the design must meet.
  • Preparing drawings and presenting ideas for the client to review.
  • Making necessary changes throughout the planning process.
  • Developing final construction plans.
  • Preparing and submitting planning applications on behalf of clients.
  • Following building codes, zoning laws, fire regulations, and other requirements.
  • Administrating the building contract and providing the builder with information.
  • Performing site inspection visits to assess the quality of the work and to certify the work for payment.

Work conditions

Travel: mostly office based but also involves travel within the working day to visit sites and meet with clients.
Working hours: mainly Monday to Friday office hours but can also involve long hours to meet particular deadlines.
Location: mainly in towns or cities throughout the country.
Opportunities for self-employment: possible.

Typical employers

  • Architectural practices
  • Building contractors
  • Higher education institutes
  • Large retailers
  • Public service, such as Office of Public Works.

Career development

There are opportunities to specialise for example in ‘green building’ which involves design and construction to minimize the environmental impact of the project and ensure its sustainability and energy conservation capabilities are maximised.


Salaries will vary widely depending on experience, employer and location.In the Republic of Ireland, architects can expect to earn anything from €34,000 to in excess of €100,000 per annum.

Specific degree subjects required

Architectural graduate membership of the Royal Institution of Architecture of Ireland (RIAI) is open only to those with an accredited qualification in architecture.

Specific entry requirements

Membership of the RIAI requires passing a prescribed postgraduate Examination in Professional Practice.


A period of supervised practical training is required in preparation for registration and/or RIAI membership.

Tips for applications

Work part-time and during summers at architectural firms. Find an architectural internship and keep a portfolio of projects and designs that you have worked on.

Skills and qualities

  • Aptitude for mathematics.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Strong drawing/sketching skills.
  • Excellent sense of design.
  • Good general knowledge about the history of architecture.
  • An awareness of environmental factors.
  • Excellent analytical skills.
  • A great deal of enthusiasm and imagination.