How Much Do Architects Make?

Architect job descriptionArchitects design and plan buildings, houses, and all kinds of structures. For an architect to practice his craft, he must have a degree in architecture, complete an internship, and get a license.

An architect can establish his own business and work with clients directly, or work for a firm and get assigned to a project.

When a client decides to have a building or house made, the first professional he must consult with is an architect. Communicating the needs and wants of the client is the first order of business, and when the architect has gathered enough information, he then proceeds to present his ideas – leading to an exchange of concepts to reach the end goal of designing the structure or space.

Architect Salary

architect salaryHow Much Do Architects Make? The average architect salary is $74,520, which is equivalent to an hourly rate of $35.83. This median wage consists of the average salary that most architects make – the lower 10% earns $44,940 or less, while the upper 10% earns more than $121,910.

An architect starting salary differs on many factors. A fresh graduate without a license to practice will not have the same job opportunities over someone who has a license – which means that the former will more likely earn less. An architect who has a license and works in a large firm will most likely earn more than those who haven’t passed the exam for Architect Registration.

An architect’s working schedule will also affect his average annual salary. If they are self-employed, they will enjoy a more flexible schedule but may experience times when projects are non-existent. An architect who works in a firm usually works full-time, during regular working hours, but may earn less compared to working for himself.

Architect fees also vary depending on the work environment. Self-employed architects, are either paid through their hourly rates or through a fixed fee. Those who work in a firm are paid through regular employee salary.

Top 5 Paying States

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
California FlagCalifornia0.68$44.34$92,220
New Jersey FlagNew Jersey0.47$43.44$90,350
Delaware flagDelaware 0.38$43.12$89,690
Massachusetts FlagMassachusetts 1.04$42.25$87,880
Alaska FlagAlaska 0.51$41.87$87,090

Top Paying Industries

IndustryPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Computer Systems Design and Related Services0.01$57.17$118,920
Scientific Research and Development Services0.01$55.00$114,410
Postal Service0.01$47.54$98,870
Commercial Equipment Wholesalers 0.01$46.20$96,090
Specialized Design Services 0.67$45.95$95,580

An Architect’s Job Description

what do architects doAn architect’s job consists of designing structures and planning their construction. He meets with a client who communicates his/her needs and the architect creates a design of a house, building, or a remodeling plan and then presents it to the client. If the client likes it, the architect then begins coordinating with engineers and construction companies on the building of the structure. He meets with those who will implement his designs, and through the course of the construction, he occasionally visits the site to evaluate whether or not the built structure adheres to his plans and the local government’s ordinances on the construction of buildings.

Before computers came along, architects created their designs through pencil and paper. But today, computer software makes the architect’s job faster and easier. Software such as AutoCAD or Computer-Aided Design & Drafting allows architects to digitally create the structures and once they’re finished, the viewer can take a virtual tour of the proposed house or building.

An architect’s duties include estimating the amount of the required materials and equipment, estimating construction time, preparing structure specifications, preparing documents for building contractors, directing workers to prepare sketches and documents, and visiting work sites.

Architects must also make sure that the design and construction follow local and state building codes, zoning laws, fire regulations, and ordinances of the local government.

They also coordinate with civil engineers, interior designers, landscape architects, as well as with urban and regional planners.

In 2012, there was a total of 107,400 architects practicing their craft in the United States.

Architect Job Outlook

There is a projected 17% increase in architect employment from the years 2012 to 2022. This projected increase will be due to the greater demand of modernization, old houses and buildings needing to be renovated, and the construction of more healthcare facilities to accommodate the growing aging population of the baby boomers.

Stiff competition is seen among fresh graduates and those who pass the Architect Registration Exam and have credible internships are seen to have better employment advantages.

The fastest growing specialty in the field of architecture is in green or sustainable design. As prices of commodities are increasing more and more, families and businesses have started to see the advantages of homes and buildings that have efficient sources of renewable energy. Those who develop an expertise in this area of design are seen to have better job prospects in the next few years.

Architect Salary by State

FlagStateEmployment per 1000 JobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Alabama FlagAlabama0.522$37.48$77,970
Alaska FlagAlaska0.508$41.87$87,090
Arizona FlagArizona0.687$31.72$65,980
Arkansas FlagArkansas0.475$33.27$69,200
California FlagCalifornia0.678$44.34$92,220
Colorado flagColorado1.143$35.42$73,680
Connecticut FlagConnecticut0.715$39.23$81,600
Delaware flagDelaware0.384$43.12$89,690
Florida FlagFlorida0.484$36.61$76,150
Georgia FlagGeorgia0.469
Hawaii FlagHawaii0.763$35.62$74,090
Idaho FlagIdaho0.366$32.26$67,100
Illinois FlagIllinois0.773$36.46$75,840
Indiana FlagIndiana0.375$34.78$72,340
Iowa FlagIowa0.399$33.23$69,120
Kansas FlagKansas0.574$31.46$65,440
Kentucky FlagKentucky0.303$34.06$70,840
Louisiana FlagLouisiana0.471$35.58$74,010
Maine FlagMaine0.52$32.87$68,370
Maryland FlagMaryland0.828$39.46$82,070
Massachusetts FlagMassachusetts1.042$42.25$87,880
Michigan FlagMichigan0.422$35.98$74,840
Minnesota FlagMinnesota0.594$39.95$83,090
Mississippi FlagMississippi0.238$32.58$67,760
Missouri FlagMissouri0.75$36.16$75,200
Montana FlagMontana1.139$33.12$68,890
Nebraska FlagNebraska0.559$36.98$76,920
Nevada FlagNevada0.303$40.75$84,770
New Hampshire FlagNew Hampshire0.424$39.68$82,530
New Jersey FlagNew Jersey0.47$43.44$90,350
New Mexico FlagNew Mexico0.642$32.64$67,880
New York FlagNew York1.256$40.27$83,760
North Carolina FlagNorth Carolina0.487$38.37$79,810
North Dakota FlagNorth Dakota0.415$31.50$65,520
Ohio FlagOhio0.493$37.69$78,390
Oklahoma FlagOklahoma0.437$37.11$77,190
Oregon FlagOregon0.93$33.26$69,190
Pennsylvania FlagPennsylvania0.521$39.72$82,610
Rhode Island FlagRhode Island$38.84$80,780
South Carolina FlagSouth Carolina0.502$34.55$71,850
South Dakota FlagSouth Dakota0.262$36.46$75,830
Tennessee FlagTennessee0.318$33.16$68,980
Texas FlagTexas0.71$38.44$79,960
Utah FlagUtah0.529$35.77$74,390
Vermont FlagVermont0.659$33.03$68,700
Virginia FlagVirginia0.726$40.10$83,410
Washington FlagWashington1.007$36.11$75,100
West Virginia FlagWest Virginia0.156$35.31$73,450
Wisconsin FlagWisconsin0.435$34.78$72,340
Wyomin FlagWyoming0.471$36.07$75,030

Top paying metropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
San Francisco / San Mateo / Redwood City, – CA – Metropolitan Division 1.42$48.50$100,870
Lancaster, PA0.87$47.87$99,570
Newark / Union, – NJ/PA – Metropolitan Division 0.44$47.25$98,280
Atlanta / Sandy Springs / Marietta, – GA 0.66$46.48$96,670
Sacramento / Arden / Arcade / Roseville, – CA 1.06$46.31$96,330

Top paying nonmetropolitan areas

AreaEmployment per 1000 jobsHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
South Illinois – nonmetropolitan area0.33$37.48$77,950
Southwestern Montana – nonmetropolitan area 1.55$37.27$77,530
Kansas – nonmetropolitan area 0.09$36.56$76,040
Western – North Carolina – nonmetropolitan area 0.22$36.50$75,930
Southwestern Wyoming – nonmetropolitan area1.24$35.59$74,020

Architect Career Video

Noel Griffith, Ph.D.
Noel Griffith is a Doctor of Philosophy with a strong interest in educational research. He has been an editor-in-chief of since 2014. Noel is an avid reader (non-fiction), enjoys good food, live theatre, and helping others make wiser career decisions.

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