A guide to becoming an Architect in Canada

A lot of internationally educated professionals (IEPs) move to Canada every day, including architects that come with skills and experience but find it difficult to find work in their field.

Apart from the absence of a network to help them with their job search, there is one other significant factor that hinders them. It is the lack of knowledge about Canadian architecture such as building codes and the construction materials used.

Step 1: Education

To become an Architect in Canada you need to have a Bachelor’s Degree or a Master Degree in Architecture from a university program approved by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB).

The first step is to start with the educational certification assessment with the CACB by filling the form either by paper or online. The disadvantage of the online application is that you cannot review it after filling it. You can check the guide for filling out the online application here.

Before starting your application you should have the following information readily available:

• Transcript of your professional degree in Architecture
• Course Calendar/ syllabus from the university including the description of the courses you have completed
• Course names
• Course numbers or codes
• Course credits or semester hours
• Year courses were taken
• Length of the academic semester in terms of weeks

The fees for the application are all shown in this schedule.

The outcome of the assessment normally takes 3-6 months and may be:

• that the applicant’s academic qualifications fulfill the educational component of the registration/licensure requirements in Canada and a Certificate is issued by the  Registrar; or

•that the Assessment Committee determines the applicant’s academic qualification to be deficient in particular subject areas and the applicant is required to remove those deficiencies by successfully completing the appropriate courses of study approved by the CACB; or

•that the applicant’s academic qualifications do not fulfill the educational component of the registration/licensure requirements in Canada.

An alternative way to become an architect is by completing the Syllabus Program offered by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC).

Step 2: Experience

After getting your CACB, you’ll be able to register in the Association of Architects in your province. To get experience, you must complete the Internship in Architecture Program. This program is offered through the associations of architects. If you are accepted into the program, you will require a “Mentor” (a licensed Architect) who will guide your work over a period of time, according to the rules of the Internship in Architecture Program. Usually, interns or intern architects complete the program in about 3 years.

The Internship in Architecture Program (IAP) is the path to licensure as an architect in Canada. The goal is to gain 5,600 hours of work experience. Experience in architecture received from work done outside of Canada may be considered to help fulfill this requirement.

Step 3: License

Pass the Examination for Architects in Canada (EXAC).

The Examination for Architects in Canada (ExAC) tests the minimum standards of competency acquired by an Intern Architect during the Internship period, to ensure both public safety and the professional and skilled delivery of architectural services.

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