Architectural Profession in Australia – a snapshot

Architects in Australia

11,800. Numbers are steady (i.e. there is a balance of people entering and leaving the profession nationally). Over the last 3 years there have been increased registrations in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia, offset by falls in other jurisdictions.

An architect has 5 years professional education, a minimum of two years practical experience, has successfully completed the Architectural Practice Examination and is included on a Register of Architects by one of the State and Territory Architect Registration Boards.

Architectural business in Australia

In 2017-18 the architectural sector is expected to generate an income of $5.8 billion, a small decrease from 2016-17. An average annual growth of 0.5% per annum is forecast for the years to 2022-23 according to business analysts IBIS World. IBIS World estimates there are around 13,000 enterprises with 40,000 employees in the Australian architectural sector, but that only 1.6 per cent of firms employ 20 or more people.

According to the 2016 Census, 31% of architects were women (up from 28 % in 2011), 80% are working full time, 52% worked more than a 40 hour week, and 34% were business owners or sole traders.

Architectural Education

18 Australian universities offer the accredited professional Master of Architecture degree.

In 2017 there were approximately 1300 graduates from professional masters programs (of whom around a third are international students). An estimated 1/3 of overseas students remain in Australia on a Temporary Graduate (485) Visa and seek work after graduation.

Architectural Practice Examination

Australia’s national examination which determines eligibility for registration – the three-part Architectural Practice Exam – had 667 Australian educated candidates and 52 overseas educated architects successfully complete the final stage in 2016-17 (a small increase from 2015-16).

Overseas architects

In 2016-17 48 architects obtained registration via the AACA’s fast track assessment for experienced overseas architects.  The AACA also signed a new Mutual Recognition Arrangement with the USA in 2017, which will assist movement of professionals to and from the United States.


In 2016-17, there were 129 temporary skilled (457) visas, 15 permanent employer sponsored (189) visas and 269 permanent independent (189) visas issued to migrants with the occupation architect. Architects may also come on other visas (e.g. working holiday) that do not require the specification of an occupation.

Architectural Bodies in Australia

 Architects Accreditation Council of Australia

The Architects Accreditation Council of Australia is a not-for-profit company owned by the state and territory architect registration boards.  It is responsible for advocating, coordinating and facilitating the National Standard of Competency for Architects which provides the benchmark for all assessment on the path to registration as an architect in Australia.

State and Territory Architect Registration Boards

Each state and territory of Australia has its own architect registration board established under legislation to register architects, conduct disciplinary investigations, pursue unregistered use of the term architect, accredit programs of study and educate the public on architectural issues.

Australian Institute of Architects

The Australian Institute of Architects is the peak body for the architectural profession in Australia, representing 11,000 members (not all of whom are registered architects).

Association of Consulting Architects

The Association of Consulting Architects is the peak body representing architectural employers in Australia.

Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia

The Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia comprises the heads of the faculties, schools and departments offering accredited degrees in architecture in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Government Architects Network of Australia

The Government Architects Network of Australia is a national collaborative network offering each Government Architect’s Office the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge, experience and resources of other Government Architects around the country.

See the full report Updated Profile of the Architectural Profession in Australia


Architects Accreditation Council of Australia
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