How To Become an Architect in Kenya | Salaries and Job Market

How To Become an Architect in Kenya

More than 50 % of us had at one point dreamt of becoming architects. All we knew was the profession is lucrative, the job market is thriving and salaries are enormous. But we didn’t know how long it takes to qualify as an architect in Kenya. Within no time, our interests became diverse and we found ourselves venturing into areas less known to many…that’s life anywhere. If your aspirations drive you to Architecture, here is how to become one in Kenya.

What does an Architect do?


Prepares project preliminary costs and estimates, manages construction contracts among other duties, presents the project to the client and other project professionals, prepares scaled drawings either by computer or hand, supervises construction process, Controls construction budgets, prepares contact document for building constructors.

Who is an Architect?


This is a person who plans, designs, and reviews the construction of buildings. These professionals provide services in connection with the designs of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings.

The guideline on how to become an Architect are;
  • Completing your education
  • Training
  • Acquiring work experience
  • Joining a trade association

Levels of Education Desired: Degree/Diploma in Architecture

Field of Study: Mathematics, English, Physics, Architecture, Building construction

Key Skills: Creative mind, extremely gifted in drawing, Analytical skills, detail-oriented, teamwork, punctuality, problem-solving, communication, visualization, organization skills, technical skills among others

KCSE grade


Architecture is a demanding course-it need a creative mind. To become one, you have to be extremely gifted in drawing, analytic skills and have a mind that can think beyond obvious scenarios. Universities know that average people won’t thrive in the profession, therefore, they have raised the bar for students aspiring to join the career. For one to have a direct entry into university, they must score at least a B+ grade in KCSE with at least a B+ in Mathematics and above B plain in science courses. For one to qualify for a parallel program, they have to score at least a C+ in KCSE.

Universities offering architecture in Kenya


One can pursue architecture at the undergraduate or post-graduate level. The list of universities offering the course include:
  • University of Nairobi
  • JKUAT
  • Kenyatta University

At diploma level, you can pursue Architecture in the following universities:
  • Kenya Institute of Highway and Building Technology
  • Technical University of Kenya
  • Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology

For a diploma in Architecture, you need to score at least a C- in KCSE

Out of the above-mentioned universities and colleges, I would recommend the Technical University of Kenya, University of Nairobi and JKUAT-they stand out.

How to become an architect in Kenya


For you to become an architect, you have to complete a degree/diploma in architecture from a recognized local or foreign university. Upon graduation, you need to practice for at least 18 months under a registered architect. Thereafter, you’ll be required to sit for a professional exam administered by the Board of Registration for Architects and Quantity Surveyors.

After passing the exam, you’re free to start your own architectural firm.

The architecture job market in Kenya


Architecture is one career you should not overlook when seeking marketable courses. The job market is quite lucrative and salaries impressive. As a student, your aim is to score a mean grade that would put you in a position to join a top university. Once you’re admitted, your eyes will now focus on employment and salaries.

Research shows that 90% of architects secure employment three months into their graduation. This number, as fresh graduates, earn between Ksh70,000 to Ksh150,000.The salary rises steadily as one gains more experience. Architecture is among few professions in the country without salary caps-the pay can be in the north of Ksh2 million.

Where to work as an architect in Kenya


There are more than 200 companies you can seek employment as an architect. Some top firms include:
  • National Construction Authority
  • Cytonn Investment
  • Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, and Urban Development
  • Lands Commission
  • Etc

From my own experience, most architects opt to go it alone. In fact, none among the over 20 architects I have interacted with works for someone. The beauty of this is that running your own firm will give you direct contact with a client, which gives you the opportunity to negotiate for better pay. On average, an architect earns 10% of the total construction cost. Assuming that a structure costs Ksh100 million, an architect will pocket a cool Ksh10 million from the Ksh100 million.

What I like most about Architecture is that at no point in time would one cry that jobs are not available…construction is ongoing in almost every town and jobs are plenty.

Bottom line: Never sacrifice your energy on other good-for-nothing courses, join architecture and your future will be bright.

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