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CAO Application: Are you Interested in a Career in Architecture

Published: Friday, January 12, 2018

Are you interested in a career in architecture

Architecture influences every aspect of our lives – through the houses we live in, the buildings we work in, the places we spend our leisure time and even the streets we move about in. Everything that is built around us has an impact. This is true even of buildings we never enter but just pass by every day. Architecture is inescapable, so it is important that it be as good as possible.

A career in architecture gives you the opportunity to make a real contribution to the quality of peoples’ lives.

How do I Choose?
It is difficult to tell in advance if you have the aptitude for architecture, because there is nothing that you experience at Second Level that is anything like it. Courses in architecture and architectural technology are of their nature vocational. In choosing one you are usually making quite a big decision about your career direction. So it is important to research it well. Find more information here:

Becoming an architect
In Ireland the title ‘architect’ is protected by legislation. This means that if a person wishes to describe themselves as an architect they must be admitted to the Register of Architects.
There are a number of routes to becoming a registered architect but typically if you are studying in Ireland you will need to:

  1. Graduate with a prescribed qualification in architecture;
  2. Obtain at least two years of approved postgraduate professional training;
  3. Successfully complete a prescribed professional practice examination.

Choosing a Programme

When choosing a course in architecture it is essential to check that the programme you are interested in is properly accredited by the RIAI and prescribed by the in the Building Control Act for access to the Register of Architects. Prescribed qualifications in architecture take five years of full-time study. In some universities or colleges the five years of study is split into a three-year degree course followed by a two-year master’s, or a four-year degree followed by a one-year master’s. Only the final award (after five years) is accredited or recognised for the purpose of registration as an architect.
There are currently 5 prescribed qualifications in architecture in Ireland. They are all 5 years in duration. They are:

  1. Cork Centre for Architectural Education, 4 year B.Arch. together with a 1 year M.Arch. (CK606);
  2. Dublin Institute of Technology, B.Arch. (DT101);
  3. University College Dublin, 3 year B.Arch. together with a 2 year M.Arch (DN100);
  4. University of Limerick, B.Arch. (LM099); and
  5. Waterford Institute of Technology, B.Arch. (WD144)

Further information on these programmes can be found here.

Only qualifications in architecture that are accredited by the RIAI allow for progression to the Professional Practice Examination and the Register of Architects.
In some universities or colleges the five years of study is split into a three-year degree course followed by a two-year master’s, or a four-year degree followed by a one-year master’s. Only the final award (after five years) is accredited or recognised for the purpose of registration as an architect.

Points and Subject Requirements
Points and subject requirements for Architecture vary from year to year and from one school of architecture to another. Some schools of architecture require you to submit a portfolio; others don’t. You can get all of the up-to-date information from the Central Applications Office (CAO) website: www.cao.ie.

Try it out for size:
Finally, try to get some work experience, however short, in an architect’s office. The RIAI has recently published a new guide to support Architectural Practices who take on Transition Year Students. Gaining a few weeks of work experience will give you a better idea of what the life is like, and whether you would find it satisfying, before you commit yourself to the many years of training it requires.

For more information visit www.riai.ie/education.

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