If you’re thinking of hiring engineers or architects from Latvia, you may be unaware of the Latvian education and accreditation systems, and therefore unaware of how strong the applicant’s background is.
In this article, you will learn about the different pathways to becoming a professionally qualified engineer or architect in Latvia. In addition, this article will discuss the various available university courses and the professional accreditations granted in the country.
If your applicant has the qualifications noted in this document, they’ll likely be qualified to work as engineers or architects. However, if your applicant has Latvian qualifications that don’t appear in this article, it’s recommended to do further research before making a hiring decision.
To practice as an architect or an engineer in Latvia, you’ll need to undergo formal education at a university or another higher education provider. Three educational institutions in Latvia offer high-quality university courses in architecture or engineering, all three are based in or near Riga.
The three universities are:
This first section will look at each of these universities and the skills that graduates from their primary architecture and/or engineering courses are likely to have.
Founded in 1862, Riga Technical University (RTU) was the first technical university established in the Baltic states. It is one of the most prestigious universities in the country and frequently the highest-rated Latvian university on U-Multirank. Therefore, when hiring architects and engineers who graduated from RTU, you can expect high-quality candidates.
The Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University prepares its students to become specialists in architecture. They are taught a broad curriculum that covers spatial planning and restoration of cultural monuments and interior and landscape architecture during their studies. Graduates also learn about environmental design and design management.
Graduates from the faculty will typically find work in architecture firms or urban planning departments of government institutions at a municipal or state level.
RTU’s Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning offers a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree, and a Doctorate.
The Bachelor’s degree is a 3.5-year course that results in qualified status to practice as an architect. However, this Bachelor’s degree alone may not be enough for the candidate to work as a freelancer, so it’s worth checking their other qualifications.
The course aligns with the European directive on the recognition of professional qualifications in practice, meaning that graduates are qualified to practice anywhere within the EU upon graduation.
If you are hiring an RTU graduate from outside the EU, they may need to take further qualifications before they are eligible to work as an architect in your country. However, they will certainly have the skills required to do the job to a Bachelor’s graduate standard.
This is a 2-year course that results in a Master’s Qualification, allowing the candidate to practise architecture as a freelancer. The course aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to practice as an architect and the skills required to become an independent freelancer.
This four-year degree results in a doctorate qualification in architecture. Graduates are true experts in architecture and are qualified to apply for academic roles teaching the subject at universities.
The course provides the knowledge and skills necessary to independently carry out and manage detailed scientific research in architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, and restoration of cultural monuments.
The Faculty of Civil Engineering at RTU prepares its students to become specialists in construction, heat, gas, and water technology. Its graduates often work in the construction industry, working on construction sites as construction managers, surveyors, or supervisors. Some work at construction materials companies and laboratories, design agencies, and construction boards at a state or federal level.
This is a 4.5-year course that provides graduates with a professionally accredited engineering qualification. In addition, the course provides graduates with the skills they need to begin their careers as engineers.
If you hire someone with this qualification, you’ll get a candidate who can plan, participate, organize and supervise the construction processes of new buildings or the restoration and reconstruction of existing buildings.
This Master’s degree in the Faculty of Civil Engineering at RTU has two different pathways. The first is a 1-year Master’s degree in construction, which is a professional qualification. So if you are hiring a freelancer for a construction project and have this degree, they will be qualified.
The second pathway is a professional Master’s degree in construction, followed by a professional Engineering and Construction qualification. In total, the course takes 2.5 years. Graduates from this course are highly qualified in both engineering and construction.
Founded in 1992, RISEBA University of Applied Sciences is an international private university in Riga that offers architecture degree courses in English. It is one of the most prominent universities in Latvia in terms of student body size, and its courses are taught in line with US and European education standards.
RISEBA was originally founded as a business school but now has a Faculty of Architecture and Design, offering a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree.
This is a 3.5-year degree that provides students with the theoretical and practical knowledge required to work as an architect. After graduation, alumni go on to work in architecture and urban planning and other related sectors. Therefore, graduates from this program may not be fully qualified to work as architects unless they have different qualifications.
This is a 2-year program that permits graduates to pursue professional certification as an architect. It is designed to provide students with professional-level education and practical experience in architecture and urban planning.
Upon graduation, students achieve qualified architects’ status and can practice architecture independently.
Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies is based in Jelgava, around 40km away from Riga. Founded in 1938, it offers a wide variety of degree courses, including a Bachelor’s degree in construction.
This is a 4.5-year course that results in a professional Bachelor’s degree in construction and engineering qualification. Students on this course learn how to design, maintain, and reconstruct buildings and hydraulic structures for residential, industrial, and agricultural purposes.
As with most countries, Latvia has its own set of professional certifications that engineering and architecture practitioners must attain before legally working. In addition, on a daily basis, engineers and architects must follow government regulations, submit permits to local governments, and ensure the safety of workers.
In Latvia, the government does not issue any professional certifications for architects or engineers. Instead, they authorize industry bodies such Latvian Association of Architects to make the certification on their behalf.
In some cases, a University degree may be enough. For example, many Master’s degrees outlined above also include professional certification, allowing graduates to work straight after university. However, if a candidate you’re thinking of hiring, only has a Bachelor’s, as a rule of thumb, you should check if they have certification before employing them.
Industry bodies assess the competence of architects and engineers, and the government monitors the way these bodies carry out their assessments. However, to hand out professional accreditation, an organization must first be accredited by the Latvian National Accreditation Bureau.
If an accredited practitioner makes an error while working, industry bodies can issue a warning or obligate them to perform a repeated competence assessment. If they refuse to do so or fail their competence assessment, their certification can be suspended or revoked.
Depending on the certification a practitioner is attempting to achieve, the process can be slightly different. However, there are several conditions they must meet to gain the majority of accreditations.
Typically, an individual must have an appropriate educational background and have two years of relevant work experience within the last seven years. Furthermore, if an individual has committed a crime relating to their career, such as negligence leading to an employee’s injury, they will be completely ineligible to gain accreditation.
Below you will find an overview of some institutions that the Latvian National Accreditation Bureau has authorized. Any applicant who is accredited by these bodies should be considered a highly competent candidate. Information on all the certified practitioners can also be found on the Construction Information System maintained by the Ministry of Economy.
If the Latvian Association of Architects accredits a candidate you’re looking to hire, you can be confident that they are qualified professional with the required skills and knowledge. It is the only professional organization of architects in Latvia and is responsible for professional certification in the architecture industry.
The Certification Centre is a separate institution established by the Latvian Association of Architects, which oversees the certification process and ultimately hands out certifications to qualified practitioners. The Certification Centre board members are certified architects with at least 10 years of independent practice experience and an impeccable professional reputation.
The certification process follows Latvian government regulations regarding the certification of architects.
The Association is a non-governmental organization that deals with Civil Engineering matters. It oversees the certification of structural engineers as well engineers working design and/or construction of roads and bridges.
This institution is accredited by the Latvian National Accreditation Bureau, which – as previously discussed – is a government organization. Therefore, anyone with accreditation from the Latvian Association of Civil Engineers is in effect, certified by the Latvian government.
Latvian Society of Heat, Gas, and Water Technology Engineers (LSGŪTIS) is a non-governmental association in Latvia that accredits engineers who work in heat, gas, water and technology engineering.
The Latvian Association of Power Engineers and Energy Constructors (LEEA) is an association that hands out certifications to engineers working in the energy and power sectors. It is accredited by the Latvian National Accreditation Bureau, allowing it to certify engineers in Latvia professionally. Therefore, anyone licensed by the LEEA should be considered qualified to carry out work in the energy engineering sector.
When hiring architects and engineers from Latvia, you need to ensure they have the right qualifications. In terms of university education, if they have either a Master’s or Doctorate degree from one of the three universities specified or a Bachelor’s degree with professional accreditation, you can confidently hire them.
When it comes to professional certification, you need to ensure that your applicant’s accreditations are issued by institutions that Latvian National Accreditation Bureau has accredited.
If you’re looking to hire engineers or architects, Workalike can connect you with professionally accredited freelancers quickly and easily.