Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

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Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

There are job opportunities for architects and landscape architects. Opportunities for architects have increased with the growth in the number of construction and infrastructure projects in New Zealand, especially Auckland. Both professions can be affected by economic conditions. A downturn in the economy can lower demand for architects.

How to become an architect

What they do

Architects design buildings and oversee and provide advice on their construction. They may also advise on urban design projects.

Landscape architects design and oversee the construction of outdoor spaces such as parks, gardens, urban plazas, and coastal and waterfront areas. They also manage, conserve and restore natural or heritage landscapes and public open spaces.

There are many broad tasks that are common to both, including:

  • obtaining advice from clients and management to determine type, style and size of planned buildings or landscapes and alterations to existing buildings or landscapes
  • providing information regarding designs, materials and estimated completion times
  • preparing project documentation, including sketches and scale drawings, and integrating structural, mechanical and aesthetic elements in final designs
  • writing specifications and contract documents for use by builders and calling tenders on behalf of clients
  • consulting with Professionals and clients about external area designs, costs and construction
  • compiling and analysing site and community data about geographical and ecological features, landforms, soils, vegetation, site hydrology, visual characteristics and human-made structures, to formulate land use and development recommendations, and for preparing environmental impact statements
  • preparing reports, site plans, working drawings, specifications and cost estimates for land development, showing location and details of proposals, including ground modelling, structures, vegetation and access
  • inspecting construction work in progress to ensure compliance with plans, specifications and quality standards

Qualifications needed

Secondary school subjects that can give a good background to studying architecture and landscape architecture include: art, design, graphics, computer studies, environmental studies, history, biology, geography, physics, mathematics, communications, and technology.

Many architects and landscape architects complete a degree programme. To become a registered architect, one pathway is for those with:

  • Bachelor of Architectural Studies (3 years), and
  • Master of Architecture (Professional) (2 years).

Those with other qualifications go through a different process, including assessment of their qualifications and/or experience by the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB).

Landscape architects must complete one of the following accredited programmes:

  • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (4 years)
  • Bachelor of Architectural Studies in Landscape Architecture (3 years) together with a Master of Landscape Architecture (2 years), or
  • Approved undergraduate degree and postgraduate Master of Landscape Architecture (2.5 years).

Cost of study

Bachelor of Architectural StudiesBachelor of Landscape Architecture
$22,200 over three years $29,500 over four years

Average costs in 2018 for a domestic student. Costs vary between institutions. First time students may be eligible for  fees-free tertiary education for their first year of study, which will reduce the total cost. For more information about fees-free eligibility, go to Further costs include materials, textbooks, and accommodation.

Rents vary from place to place. Estimated market rents by region, city and suburb are available on the MBIE Tenancy Services website.

The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed budget planning.

Tenancy Services: 

Where to study

Both architecture and landscape architecture have three accredited programmes offered in New Zealand.

Architecture programmes:

University of Auckland:
Victoria University of Wellington:
Unitec, Auckland:

Landscape architecture programmes:

Lincoln University, Christchurch:
Victoria University, Wellington:
Unitec, Auckland:

The New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NZILA) has details of all accredited landscape architecture programmes.

NZILA-accredited Landscape architecture programmes:

After completing two to three years of practical work experience, an architectural graduate can apply to become a registered architect. The New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB) oversees registration and monitoring of architects in New Zealand.


A landscape architecture graduate can apply to NZILA to become a registered landscape architect after two to three years of practical work experience, and the passing of an examination in professional practice. NZILA is the internationally recognised professional body representing qualified landscape architects in New Zealand.


Completed qualifications

The number of completed bachelor’s degree qualifications in architecture rose to a peak of 565 in 2014. Over the last few years, master’s degrees have become more common, increasing from just 10 in 2008 to 265 in 2017.

Qualification completions chart

Source: Ministry of Education

Income and employment prospects


Architectural graduates with one to five years’ experience usually earned between $55,000 and $75,000 in 2018 according to the 2018 Hays Salary Guide. Registered architects with more than five years’ experience usually earned between $85,000 and $120,000. For landscape architects, graduates usually earned between $40,000 and $60,000 per year, while senior landscape architects with five to ten years’ experience usually earned between $80,000 or more.

The average annual income for architects and landscape architects was estimated to be around $77,400 in 2019.

Estimated Average Income

Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics NZ Census and Labour Cost Index.

Employment and skill shortages

Architects and landscape architects’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2023 2028
4,419 4,680 5,830 6,660
  0.8% 3.7% 2.2%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Growth projections are for the broader category “Architects, Designers, Planners and Surveyors.”

Over recent years, the number of architects and landscape architects employed has remained relatively stable. Employment growth of about 3.7% per year is projected until 2023 and 2.2% from 2023 to 2028.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Outcomes after qualification completion*

 OverseasIn further studyReceiving a benefitIn employmentMedian Salary
15% 36% 2% 69% $47,000

Source: Tertiary Education Commission
*Three years after completion of Bachelor Degree - Architecture & Urban Environment.

Three years after graduation, most graduates were in employment. Quite a high percentage, 15%, was overseas, and a very small percentage was receiving a benefit. The median salary was around $47,000 three years after graduation.

Where to find job vacancies

The number of online job vacancies for architects and landscape architects has increased strongly to June 2016,  and then at a slower pace. This compares with an overall increase for all vacancies over the same period.

Jobs advertised chart


Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Architects and landscape architects vacancies are advertised on websites such as Trade Me Jobs and Seek. The NZIA (New Zealand Institute of Architects – a professional body representing over 90% of registered architects in New Zealand) and NZILA websites also advertise vacancies.

Trade Me Jobs:

Career path

Career paths vary depending on the size and structure of the firm you work for. Some people will eventually end up running their own businesses.

Architecture can lead to a wide variety of career choices. Although some architects focus on residential or commercial architecture, there are many other areas available to architects, such as urban planning or conserving heritage buildings.

Landscape architects can work in councils or in private practice. Some choose to specialise in landscape planning, whereas others work as designers - creating areas for private, commercial, or public use in rural or urban areas. Landscape architects are increasingly using the principles of green infrastructure in their work.

Related occupations

The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry-level architects and landscape architects.

  • Architectural Technician
  • Building Designer
  • Building Planner
  • Conservation or Heritage Architect
  • Garden Designer
  • Industrial Designer
  • Interior Designer
  • Surveyor

Other information


More information on architects and landscape architects is available on the Careers New Zealand website.

Careers New Zealand: (Architect)
Careers New Zealand: (Landscape Architect)


The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.

The occupation of architects and landscape architects has been coded to the following ANZSCO code for the purpose of this report:

2321 – Architects and Landscape Architects