Professionally, an architect's decisions affect public safety, and thus an architect must undergo specialized training consisting of advanced education and a practicum (or internship) for practical experience to earn a license to practice architecture. Practical, technical, and academic requirements for becoming an architect vary by jurisdiction (see below).
The terms architect and architecture are also commonly used in the disciplines of landscape architecture, naval architecture, and information technology, which includes roles of solution architect, enterprise architect, systems architect, and software architect. The title of Architect is protected by statute in the United Kingdom and should only be used by Architects registered in the UK with the Architects Registration Board(ARB).
Throughout ancient and medieval history, most of the architectural design and construction was carried out by artisans—such as stone masons and carpenters, rising to the role of master builder. Until modern times, there was no clear distinction between architect and engineer. In Europe, the titles architect and engineer were primarily geographical variations that referred to the same person, often used interchangeably.
It is suggested that various developments in technology and mathematics allowed the development of the professional 'gentleman' architect, separate from the hands-on craftsman. Paper was not used in Europe for drawing until the 15th century but became increasingly available after 1500. Pencils were used more often for drawing by 1600. The availability of both allowed pre-construction drawings to be made by professionals. Concurrently, the introduction of linear perspective and innovations such as the use of different projections to describe a three-dimensional building in two dimensions, together with an increased understanding of dimensional accuracy, helped building designers communicate their ideas. However, the development was gradual. Until the 18th-century, buildings continued to be designed and set out by craftsmen with the exception of high-status projects.
In most developed countries, only qualified people with appropriate license, certification, or registration with a relevant body, often governmental, may legally practice architecture. Such licensure usually requires an accredited university degree, successful completion of exams, and a training period. The use of terms and titles and the representation of oneself as an architect is restricted to licensed individuals by law, although in general, derivatives such as architectural designer are often not legally protected.