Architects: Salary Overview
Architects design and plan houses, offices, and other buildings, typically using computer-aided design and a variety of other design tools.
Depending on their role and expertise, architects may have to perform different tasks, such as meeting with clients, providing preliminary cost and time estimates, preparing structure specifications, supervising workers who prepare drawings and documents, managing construction contracts, or visiting worksites.
Architects are also responsible for preparing scaled drawings using computer software or by hand and preparing contract documents for building contractors.
As an architect you, will be responsible for designing safe and pleasant places where people can live, work, learn, play, shop or eat so you will need strong technical skills as well as communication skills and the ability to work with others.
Architects typically collaborate with other professionals, such as civil engineers, drafters, urban and regional planners as well as landscapers and interior designers.
Architect Salary by Industry
Architects may work in a variety of industries, including the government, construction or architectural and engineering companies.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, architects held about 133,900 jobs in 2018: 69% of architects worked for companies that provide architectural, engineering, and related services, while 20% of them were self-employed.
The government employs 3% of all architects while 3% of them work in the construction industry.
Salaries and job responsibilities vary depending on the industry of employment.
The numbers published by BLS show that the median annual wage for architects was $80,750 as of May 2019.
Entry-level employees in this field can earn less than $49,000 a year while experienced architects may earn more than $130,000 a year.
Architects who work for the government earned a median wage of $93,970, while those who work in the construction field earned around $80,040 a year.
The median annual salary for those who are employed by companies that provide architectural, engineering, and related services was $79,830.
Salaries also vary depending on the exact responsibilities an architect has.
For example, a project manager earns more than an intern or entry-level architect.
According to carrerexplorer.com, as of 2018, starting level architects’ salaries begin at $47,635 a year while earnings for top-level architects begin at $130,167 a year.
Architect Salary by Compensation Structure
Architects may also earn bonuses on projects, depending on their role and the employer.
Because skilled architects are in great demand, often employment packages include health benefits, perks, and professional development support.
The numbers vary widely depending on the architect’s role and expertise.
Experienced architects who also hold management positions can earn more than $10,000 a year in commissions and more than $15,000 in profit sharing.
Many architects sometimes work additional hours especially when they have to meet a deadline but companies may also offer their employees remote work options.
Life and health insurance plans and retirement funds are also offered by many architectural firms.
Most companies also offer paid vacations and holidays.
Architects who are self-employed may work flexible hours and some of them earn more than the average for this profession but this also comes with additional responsibilities.
If you want to become a self-employed architect it may be best to start your career in an architectural firm and after earning a few years of experience you may be ready for career advancement or you can even start your own business.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a growth of 8% by 2028 for this profession.
Having expertise in green design will give you even better job prospects because many companies are looking to build structures that efficiently use resources and reduce waste and pollution.
If you’re passionate about architecture and design and you’re willing to spend at least 5 years in higher education, a career as an architect can be both professionally and financially rewarding.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Architects. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.