Architectural Assistant Job Profile

An architectural assistant can have many roles. In most cases they do literally assist with architectural planning and other processes, but in some cases they may also work in other areas.

The work environment

Usually architectural assistants already have basic architectural qualifications. While the position of architectural assistant is usually considered to be a junior position, it can include a lot of actual architectural work and other duties:

Preparation of plans from inception to final product in compliance with building regulations including:

  • Elevations
  • Layouts
  • Construction plans
  • Drawings
  • Detailing
  • CAD work
  • Data systems work
  • Pre-production work like photography
  • Feasibility studies

This work is particularly useful experience for those involved in further architectural studies, and can provide a good portfolio of professional work for career advancement.

The work is mainly technical, frequently involving components of plans, but in some cases architectural assistants are given the more basic work in context with qualifications and prior experience. Architectural assistants form a productive element in many architectural businesses, allowing senior architects to delegate and manage their work efficiently.

Some architectural assistants may also be involved in the design area, and may have skills like housing design or other forms of architectural specialty. In practice, architectural assistants are given work which relates to a progressive scale of skills. Senior architectural assistants, for example, are given much wider roles in the performance of planning duties.

Another aspect of architectural assistant work includes work which involves good portable skills. Much of the work, includes important experience like home renovations, project experience, (including management of small projects in some cases) and other useful CV material which covers a wide range of job criteria in the industry.

The career environment

An architect's career starts at the architectural assistant level. Like all baseline professional jobs, the architectural assistant job is the first step to the top. The job is in some ways similar to an internship. There's a lot to learn after graduation, and most architects spend several years after graduation learning the basics of the industry, particularly the business side and the client relationships. This is a highly competitive industry, and it's not easy to get architectural jobs without the professional credentials. The assistant job fills an important niche in architectural careers.

Architectural assistant jobs lead to much better jobs. The work includes valuable real world exposure to the industry, and useful references. Advancement in the architecture industry involves competence and proven levels of expertise, and the assistant role is particularly helpful in providing both.

Professional self-employed architects and are often willing to hire assistants to handle the basic work, which allows them to get on with their work. They often also act as trainers, and can be good network contacts and mentors. Larger architectural firms allow a range of different roles and practical experience. 

In many cases architecture students get architectural jobs to both get experience and expert advice and support during their studies. This works out very well, because the training process is very much improved by the professional work.  Talented assistants can also find themselves with a distinct advantage in the job market as a result of the experience.