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Internationally-trained architect CanadaThe National Occupational Classification (NOC) is Canada’s reference on occupations. It provides job descriptions, occupational statistics and labour market information. Check it out for the full and official description of this occupation.



Credentials recognition

Finding a job in Canada may be different than in your home country and you may need help finding job vacancies, updating your resume, writing cover letters, preparing for interviews, and understanding what Canadian employers are looking for.

The employment requirements for architects in Canada include: a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school of architecture (or completion of the syllabus of studies from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada); a three-year internship under the supervision of a registered architect; registration examination; registration with the provincial or territorial association of architects in the region of work. A Master’s degree or a LEED certification may be required by some employers.

The first step is to contact the Canadian Architectural Certification Board to know how your educational qualifications would be assessed. The assessment takes about three months after submitting a full application package; then, the appropriate provincial or territorial regulatory authority takes care of the next steps in the licensure process: internship and examination. You must also find a mentor and complete the Canadian Experience Record Book.

You must complete a specified number of hours of work experience in specific areas to meet the experience requirement of the licensure process. You may submit your previous work experience in architecture in your country of origin for consideration.

You may also consider pursuing the Broadly Experienced Foreign Architects (BEFA) Program option to get licensed in Canada. Developed by the eleven Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities (CALA), this bilingual program streamlines the process for foreign-trained architects to become certified for licensure/registration in Canada.

Credentials assessment services  

If you are planning to enroll in a college or university program to upgrade your skills, contact the institution in which you plan to study and find out the steps you should take and the credential assessment agency you should use.

Make sure not to discount your international education and skills. Try to build on your existing knowledge and skills and explore university and college options thoroughly before deciding. You might be able to have advanced standing, transfer some of your credits and benefit from prior learning assessment options by using your international credentials and experience to gain credit or course exemptions. This way you will complete your program more quickly, without wasting money and repeating the education you already have.

World Education Services (WES)
Comparative Education Service: University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
International Qualifications Assessment Service – Alberta (IQAS)
The International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES)

To find more organizations and agencies providing credential evaluation, assessment and qualification recognition services click here. You can also visit the Foreign Credentials Referral Office for information, path-finding and referral services to help internationally trained workers like you succeed and put their skills to work in Canada.

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Best locations

Generally, job prospects in this occupation are positive. The number of architects is expected to increase slightly over the next few years as a result of the anticipated growth in construction and the demand for architectural services.

Though most Canadian cities offer employment opportunities in the architectural sector, you may find more opportunities in the fast-growing provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. When looking for jobs, broaden your geographic area to include smaller cities and towns close to your target city. For example, if you intend to work in Toronto, you might find a job opportunity in nearby Hamilton, which is less than an hour’s drive from there.

Before deciding where you want to settle in Canada, research and find out where there is a higher demand for your area of the profession.

Choosing a City.

Major employers

In Canada, architects are employed by architectural firms, private corporations and governments; they may also be self-employed. According to 2006 census data, about 79 per cent of architects in Canada worked in architectural and engineering firms, and related services, while about 7 per cent were found in public administration.

New job openings in the sector will come mainly from opportunities that arise when architects retire or change jobs and, to a lesser degree, from employment increase.

You can visit the Canada’s Best Diversity Employers website to check for immigrant-friendly corporations and organizations which you might be interested in. This special designation recognizes Canada’s best employers for recent immigrants. These employers offer interesting programs to assist newcomers to Canada in making the transition to a new workplace — and a new life in Canada.