Category:Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

About the job

Nature of work:

Architects conceptualize, plan and develop designs for the construction and renovation of commercial, institutional and residential buildings. They are employed by architectural firms, private corporations and governments, or they may be self-employed.

Job duties:
Architects perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Consult with clients to determine the type, style and purpose of renovations or new building construction being considered.
  • Conceptualize and design buildings and develop plans describing design specifications, building materials, costs and construction schedules.
  • Prepare sketches and models for clients.
  • Prepare or supervise the preparation of drawings, specifications and other construction documents for use by contractors and tradespersons.
  • Prepare bidding documents, participate in contract negotiations and award construction contracts.
  • Monitor activities on construction sites to ensure compliance with specifications.
  • Conduct feasibility studies and financial analyses of building projects.

Architects may specialize in a particular type of construction such as residential, commercial, industrial or institutional.

Sample job titles:
  • architect
  • architectural standards specialist
  • chief architect
  • consulting architect
  • industrial and commercial buildings architect
  • residential architect

The duties of an architect require a number of skills: design, technological, managerial, communication, and supervisory. Architectural studies require an understanding of individual and social needs, and knowledge of humanities, fine arts, and technology. Well-rounded personal and academic experience is helpful, as well as experience in drawing, craft, and computer applications. Architecture students often benefit from previous classes in fields such as anthropology, art history, engineering, literature, mathematics, philosophy, and physics.

Job requirements:
  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited school of architecture or completion of the syllabus of studies from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) is required.
  • A master's degree in architecture may be required.
  • Completion of a three-year internship under the supervision of a registered architect is required.
  • Completion of the architect registration examination is required.
  • Registration with the provincial association of architects in the province of work is required.
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is offered by the Canada Green Building Council and may be required by some employers.
Other considerations:

Most architects are self-employed or work for small firms. Progression to senior positions, such as chief architect, is possible with experience.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Average

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Architects most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 67% of Architects who worked full-time, year-round in 2010 was $76,611. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2011 National Household Survey)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2011Estimated change in employment between 2015 and 2017Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2015-2017Estimated rate of unemployment in 2014 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2010
Architects350Strong Growth64Low
Minimum:  N/A
Median:  N/A
Maximum:  N/A
Minimum: $3,827
Median: $60,048
Maximum: $105,119
Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology26,800Moderate Growth2,727Low
Minimum: $17.00
Median: $30.00
Maximum: $46.15
Minimum: $15,377
Median: $56,717
Maximum: $96,418
ArchitectsCompared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
Percent employed full-time74%93%
Percent self-employed42%8%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentArchitectsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southern Regionxx12%$30,581
Northern Regionxx16%$33,660
Cape Breton4%x12%$32,974
Annapolis Valley3%x13%$32,958
Top 5 Industries of Employment% Employed
Professional Business Services87%
Public Administration13%
What are the workers like?
AgeArchitectsCompared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% Employed% Employed
Median Age5042
GenderArchitectsCompared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% Employed% Employed
EducationArchitectsCompared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolxx2.2%$28,107
High schoolxx9.9%$35,125
Trades certificatexx9.8%$54,923
College certificate or diplomaxx30.5%$52,476
University certificate or diplomaxx5.8%$52,446
Bachelor's degree30.9%$57,63328.9%$58,011
University advanced certificate or diploma16.2%$54,8433.4%$54,917
Master's degree44.1%$57,8727.6%$37,706
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryxx0.2%$57,566
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Right to Title and Practice:This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Association of Architects
1361 Barrington Street
Halifax, NS B3J 1Y9
(902) 423-7607
Useful contacts:
Nova Scotia Home Builders' Association
124 Chain Lake Drive, Unit B
Halifax, NS B3S 1A2
Tel: (800) 668-2001
Fax: (902) 450-5448
Urban Development Institute of Nova Scotia
PO Box 521 Halifax Central
Halifax, NS B3J 2R7
Tel: (902) 442-5017
Fax: (902) 431-7220
Engineers Nova Scotia
1355 Barrington Street
Halifax, NS B3J 1Y9
Tel: (902) 429-2250
Fax: (902) 423-9769
Construction Association of Nova Scotia
260 Brownlow Avenue, Unit 3
Dartmouth, NS B3B 1V9
Tel: (902) 468-2267
Fax: (902) 468-2470

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Architecture (BArch, BA/BSc, MArch, MA/MSc, PhD)
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals for the independent professional practice of architecture and to conduct research in various aspects of the field or that provides instruction in basic principles, methods and concepts related to architecture. These programs include courses in architectural design, history, and theory; building structures and environmental systems; project and site planning; construction; professional responsibilities and standards; and related cultural, social, economic, and environmental issues.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
Program Name:Sustainability studies
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the university level.
Program Description:
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
University of King's College
6350 Coburg Road
Halifax, NS B3H 2A1
(902) 422-1271
Additional resources: