Become an Architect in Canada in 5 Steps

Learn how to become an Architect in Canada in 5 easy steps.

Have you ever imagined having your name permanently imprinted in time in the form of a building amongst your city’s skyline? Yeah, becoming an Architect in Canada is one of the most effective ways to achieve that. When you talk about legacy careers, architecture is one of them, because their work really does live on after them and tells their story.

Therefore, we shall review what this career entails and summarise the journey to becoming an architect into only a few concise steps that you can follow. Let’s go!

Who is an Architect?

An architect is a professional, trained to develop aesthetic, conceptual structures for buildings; which eventually turn into building plans that serve as the blueprint from which the actual building is created. Simply put, designing buildings is both a science and an art, and architects are trained to do both.

However, an architect’s job goes far beyond the designs. It is their duty to see those plans come to life; thus, they play a huge role in the actual construction process. Therefore, here are the responsibilities of an architect;

  • Before designing a building; be it a home, office or anything else, an architect must first get input from the client, so they can be sure of what is required.
  • They develop concepts to meet the client’s needs, both scientifically and aesthetically. In doing so, they often require help from similar professionals including various kinds of engineers, urban and regional planners, interior designers, etc.
  • They must document clearly, what materials the project needs, and put a cost to all of them.
  • Architects supervise the building’s actual construction to ensure everything is going according to design. Therefore, they ensure that all safety regulations, zoning laws, fire regulations, etc. are followed strictly.

Why Become an Architect in Canada?

The concept of architecture probably already sounds very cool. However, if you still doubt, here are a few reasons to become an architect in Canada;

Bring Your Ideas to Life

Just ask any creative around; they’ll tell you that one of the most fulfilling things in life is to have an idea in your head and somehow replicate it in reality. An architect’s job, in that respect, is self-rewarding. You get to, not just create a legacy for yourself, but earn yourself a living while doing so. What’s not to love?

See the World from a Different Perspective

You know how they say people see the world from their areas of expertise? Yeah, now imagine how much more you could appreciate buildings (which are nearly everywhere, by the way) as an architect. Imagine if, when you see them, you could see through the bricks and iron, and into the level of genius that went into certain designs. The world would instantly become more beautiful, and you could literally get happier just by seeing a great building.

Stay in Demand

Although architects have not always existed in name, the need for shelter is as old as man himself. However, as we learned to appreciate artistic genius better, the need for specialised professionals who would could combine engineering design and artistic genius into beautiful buildings increased. Therefore, as long as buildings continue to be erected, the world will need architects.


The world is divided into those who think being an architect is the coolest job in the world, and those who admire their work, despite not agreeing. There’s no denying that seeing an architect at work with their tools, and seeing the product of that work sometimes leaves us dropping our jaws and taking off out hats for these professionals.

Say Goodbye to Work Boredom

One of the best things about architecture is that it is far from repetitive. No two architectural projects are exactly alike; hence, every job is a new adventure. At every opportunity, you get to unleash your creativity and put pencil to paper to create magic.

Career Outlook for Architects in Canada

The average salary for architects in each province in Canada rangers from $68,000 to $106,000. Architects can work in various settings, as long as you need a building to move from the ground up. There are opportunities for them in every province; licensed by provincial regulatory boards.

However, the balance between supply and demand, according to Canada Job Bank, while nearly balanced, is slightly tilted to the supply end. That is, the number of architects available are slightly more than the number of jobs available. This makes it a subtly competitive career.

Recommended: Immigrate to Canada as an Architect

Steps to Becoming an Architect in Canada

If you still feel you can survive the heat of being an Architect in Canada, here are the steps you should take;

#1. Get an Education

Architecture is a professional career, hence, the first thing you should consider when trying to become an Architect is the education you need. You need complete about 5-6 years of post-secondary education, which should regularly include a Master’s degree.

Top Schools to Study Architecture in Canada

Here are some schools in Canada whose Architecture syllabus falls in line with the Canada Architectural Certification Board (CACB) standard;

  1. University of British Colombia
  2. University of Calgary
  3. Carlton University
  4. Dalhousie University
  5. Laval University
  6. University of Manitoba
  7. McGill University
  8. University of Montreal
  9. Ryerson University
  10. University of Toronto
  11. University of Waterloo
  12. Laurentian University

#2. Undergo an Internship Training

Architecture encompasses so much; too much to learn just by sitting in class and listening. Hence, the CACB demands that intending architects serve as understudies to practising ones; that is, an internship, for a time, before they can apply for their own licenses.

During your internship, you will be exposed to the nitty-gritty aspects of the job. You will, therefore, learn to work your way through real-life problems in architecture and come out with significant experience.

#3. Choose Your Specialty

There are several kinds of architects in existence. One of the beautiful things about the field is how you can specialise somewhere. So, even while studying your degree, you should already have in mind what kind of architect you want to be.

Some examples of such specialisations include; design architects, research architect, site architects, landscape architects, technical architect, etc. Depending on what you choose, however, you may need to take some extra course hours.

#4. Earn Your License

Next, you have to earn yourself a license. 11 out of 13 provinces (bar Nunavut and Yukon) have their own provincial regulatory bodies you should be registered with to practise there. However, they all belong to the Regulatory Organisations of Architecture Canada (ROAC). Under that umbrella, they honour the licensing that the CACB provides. Those who apply for a license will have their academic qualifications screened based on certain CACB standards.

#5. Get a Job

Of course, if you’re successful and are CACB-certified, there’s only one thing left to do; get a job. You can apply to building establishments, or become a private contractor immediately; depending on how well-connected you are. All in all, as an architect, your work will speak for you. Hence, it is wise that you do every job you’re given like it’s a presentation for the next.

Licensing Bodies for Architects in Canada

Architecture involves buildings which people will live in. Therefore, because of how directly it affects lives and property, there is need for serious regulations to ensure Architects meet standards. Hence, here are some Architecture-related licensing or regulatory bodies in Canada;

Provincial Regulatory Bodies

Other Bodies

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) Syllabus Programme?

The RAIC syllabus is a diploma programme that offers an alternate route to becoming an architect in Canada without a degree. The diploma programme, however, is accepted by the CACB for licensing and certification.

How long does it take to become an Architect in Canada?

Generally, it takes about 5-7 years to complete an architecture course; usually including a master’s degree. However. you would also need to undergo a 3-year internship before you can apply for licensing.

Which Province(s) in Canada has the highest demand for Architects?

Saskatchewan is one of the most construction-driven provinces in Canada; hence, architects are in high demand. Other such provinces are Ontario and Manitoba.

What skills should an Architect possess to be efficient?

An architect should, most importantly, be detail-oriented. However, other useful skills include clear communication, leadership and people-organisation, creativity, advanced knowledge of math and basic structural engineering, etc.

Do Architects earn well?

Yes. Architects are a rare gem in Canada; hence, they are usually well compensated for their labour. The average Architect earning in most provinces is usually around $70,00 – $100,00 per year.


In summary, architecture is truly not for the faint-hearted. You will struggle to get the degree, and suffer long hours of work to give your ideas life. However, it remains one of the few careers with visible, long-lasting results. If you persist, you’ll definitely do yourself proud.