What’s the difference?
Architectural Designer –
This is a general term for someone who provides architectural services. Anyone may advertise their services as an “Architectural Designer” or provider of “Architectural Services”. Other job titles in the field are “Architectural Technologist” and “Architectural Technician”, or as a company they might describe themselves as an “Architecture” firm.
Persons advertising Architectural Services (or using any of these titles) may or may not be qualified and experienced, but will probably not have Professional Indemnity Insurance unless they belong to a professional body such as the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists – http://www.ciat.org.uk/
Architects’ training takes seven years and involves a degree (known as RIBA Part I), a postgraduate degree (RIBA Part II), two years experience, then a postgraduate professional practice diploma (RIBA Part III).
All architects currently practicing are required by law to carry Professional Indemnity Insurance, and must be registered on the government’s Architects Registration Board website. http://www.arb.org.uk/
The word “Architect” is a Protected Title, and only people on the Register may use the term “Architect” to describe themselves or advertise their services. For the public’s protection, the Architect’s Registration Board is active in tackling misuse of the title, and prosecutes bogus architects in the Magistrates Courts. Here’s the latest prosecutions –http://www.arb.org.uk/table-of-prosecutions-for-misuse-of-the-title-architect-regulating
Architects may or may not be members of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Membership is open to all registered architects, and confers the status of “Chartered” in the title “Chartered Architect”. The Association of Consultant Architects is open to, and represents, all registered architects who are principals in their own firms.