Alternative Careers for Architects

Alternative Careers for Architects

Just because you have a degree in architecture, it doesn’t mean being an architect is the only thing you can do. An architectural degree gives you a varied skill set that can be applied to many roles. Whether you gain a degree in architecture or architectural technology here are some options you can also consider.

Skills you gain from architecture

Firstly, lets look at some of the skills you will acquire during your degree:

  • Creative thinking and problem solving
  • Numeracy
  • Design skills
  • Drawing skills
  • Computer and IT skills including CAD, and various other softwares
  • Research skills
  • Analytical and logical approach to problem solving
  • Communication skills both verbally, written and visually
  • Project management skills
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Knowledge of the construction industry
  • A spatial awareness and understanding
  • Being able to pull together key factors surrounding a project to include environment, social, cultural and political areas


To name but a few…… you will pick up so much more than the skills I have mentioned above, and below are a few suggestions to put those skills to use if you choose you do not want to be an architect/ architectural technologist.

Maintaining your connection to art, design and creativity:

Graphic Design

Develop your skills in graphic design


A graphic designer is a professional who visually communicates information. They can work on anything from branding, advertising, brochures, magazines, websites, packaging, logos and so much more. The world of graphic design is exciting, varied and fulfilling, and pulls on many of the skills that are picked up when studying architecture.


Move into the field of photography


With an eye for detail and design, an architecture graduate would be a great fit to move over to photography. Many architects and architecture students already have a passion for photography, so moving over to professional photography might be a natural fit. Architectural photographers will focus on photographing completed buildings, interiors and other built structures for marketing materials, publications, online work, portfolios and so on.

Alternative careers for architects Photography

Production designer (theatre, film, tv)


A production designer works in the film industry making sure shooting locations are prepared, works with the directors, writers and producers to cohesively bring the story together. The role requires organisation, creativity and project management skills all of which you nurture during your architecture degree.


Product Design


Product design looks at solving users problems by finding and developing creative solutions. Understanding the customer and identifying market opportunity are important aspects of a product designers key tasks.

Using your computer/software skills:



There are many drafting roles beyond the scope of architecture. If you have found you are particularly skilled in using drafting software then there are plenty of opportunities to explore. You could look at architectural drafting, engineering, product design and much more.

Visualisation skills (3D software) – product design or marketing

Again looking at product design and marketing, there are many roles that feature 3d work as a key player. Not only this, but with the rise of 3D printing, a whole new market has opened up to those who are particularly talented in the 3d world. It is a competitive market but an exciting one.

Video Game (3D Software) – design

Video game designers make the concept of game play come alive by designing the content and rules of the game in pre production, considering the design, environment, flow, characters, storylines and much more. It is a varied and exciting role, with the gaming industry continuing to grow. An interesting alternative career for architects.

BIM manager

A BIM manager acts as the intermediary between the designers, clients, architects, engineers on a project. The BIM manager oversees the digital construction procedures and manages drawing production. The role can also include training other staff and colleagues, overseeing purchases of hardware and software, keeping all technology up to date and more.

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Specialising in a particular area of construction:


Project management


A project manager takes a project through all stages, from planning, execution, monitoring, control and completion. They are a key part to the whole construction process and make sure that the project runs efficiently. Task can include time management, creating benchmarks, risk management, managing budgets, managing staff, distributing resources, managing relationships with stakeholders and much more. An interesting alternative career for architects.

Alternative Careers for ARchitects Project Management


Product/ material research and development


Facilities management

Facilities mangers are responsible for security, maintenance and services of facilities to make sure everything runs efficiently and safely for the organisation and its employees. The role requires organisation, working well under pressure and coordination and planning.


Lighting and acoustics


Surveying (building / commercial / residential)

Building surveyors provide specialist advice regarding all aspects of design and construction. They look at maintenance, repair, refurbishment and restoration of buildings – skills picked up during your architecture degree. Many people have gone for surveying when considering alternative careers for architects.


Building conservation

Building conservation looks at maintaining, preserving, restoring and protecting historical buildings. Many architects develop a passion for historical buildings so there is a clear link from architecture to conservation.


Interior Architecture

Interior Architecture looks at designing the interior space, looking at many aspects from psychology to structure, to furniture design. It is an interesting and varied profession and certainly something many architecture graduates would be interested in. One of the great alternative careers for architects.


Interior Designer

Similarly, interior design also focuses on the internal spaces of a building, but enhances the spaces by improving the environment of the interior. An interior designer will plan, research, coordinate and manage the interior project.


Structural engineer

Although this would most certainly require further study, many architects find that they have a keen interest in the structural side of the profession and make a jump over to the other side.


Sustainability Consultant


Restoration Architect

Built Environment & Property:


Urban Planning


Urban planning looks at the process of developing and designing land use and the built environment. It covers areas such as transportation, communications, distribution and other infrastructure. An interesting option for alternative careers for architects.

Alternative careers for architects Urban Planning

Property development


Property development involves developing buildings or land into a higher use value. The knowledge that you gain as an architect is valuable when it comes to property development. Many architects have an interest in developing their projects from the drawing board to having complete control of the process from start to finish. It could be viewed as a natural progression for someone who has graduated with an architecture degree. One of the great alternative careers for architects.

Alternative careers for architects Property Development

Estate Agency


Knowledge of buildings and the urban landscape could be put to good use as an estate agent, whether residential or commercial. Or, how about starting your own property letting and sales company…?


Landscape architecture


I think landscape architecture is a really nice alternative career for architects. The landscape architect creates landscapes, plans, designs and implements spaces in the natural and built environment. A keen interest in the natural world is important, and a knowledge of sustainable and sensitive environments. Roles can be varied and interesting.

Alternative Careers for Architects Landscape architect



PR and Marketing




So just remember, having an architecture degree under your belt gives you way more career options than it would first appear.

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  1. Hi Emma
    Great post as usual . I think that I might question Architects going into Interior Architecture or Interior Design …they will need to hone their people skills first. As an Interior architect of 30 years I think I can say that with some confidence ! …not so much for female architects I have to say who I now always work with .

    You did forget one area which is full of ex Architects …Kitchen Design …pays very very well so the London showrooms are full of them

    • Hi Diana,
      Great comments, thank you! 🙂

  2. Hi Emma,

    I found many interesting articles on this site, thank you.

    One I am particularly interested in and can not find many good forums or articles about is “women in architecture”, especially “mother in architecture”. This subject brought me to this particular article as I think many of us are unable to keep up with the demands of the family and the profession in the early years – or sometimes longer.

    I know by experience that being a women in architecture is not an advantage, but being a mum is far worst. In England the number of female architects are falling – not just as a conquenses of the pandemic (which without doubt came down on us very hard). There is very part time work or even full-time for mothers or re-starters and there is absolutely no support.

    I choose architecture because since childhood I liked most designing houses , furniture and clothes to my 1 only doll, I loved drawing, taking things apart and putting them together on my father`s workshop. Unfortunately, after having children my time to work was limited and I list a few years of my career. After that I could never find the way to the environment I lived to work in. A few years of gap in the CV and being a mum (meaning female in her late 30` with limited time) puts me behind newly graduated students with a few years experience in the job application queue.

    Another subject is how the architecture school are preparing you for the career. In the current climate the best thing to do is to get into practice as soon as possible and get to learn on site as the actual skills needed will depend on the specific area you choose to work within architecture and the more specialised you are in that are, the further you can get. What does it has to do with old fashioned architecture schools? They are as good as the superstar architects visiting them. as they only give you connections.

    • Hello, thank you for your comments – great to hear from you. You make some very interesting points – thank you for sharing. 🙂

  3. Hello,
    I am Prashansa .
    My question is will an architecture graduate be able to develop their skills as an event manager and museum curator ?

    • Hello Prashansa,
      Of course, there is no reason why an architecture graduate couldn’t be an event manager or museum creator 🙂


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