How much money does an architect make?

November 28, 2011 — 86 Comments

I get plenty of emails asking questions here at Life of an Architect – and over the last 12 months an increasing amount of them are either from students or associate/ intern level architects … and this is how most of them look:


Dear Bob @ Life of an Architect:

How much do architects make? I hear it’s terrible and I am starting to think that I should abandon my life long dream of becoming an architect because I can make more money doing just about anything else. Please help…


Desperate (which is why I’m emailing you)


I wrote on the subject of architects and their salaries back in January of 2010 (here) and even though my opinions haven’t changed, the data provided is outdated and things have changed a little since I wrote that post. I also thought I would take a moment and address a few things and point you towards a resource that can provide far more detailed information than I can. For starters, part of my response to every one of these sorts of emails is that architects can make a great living …  but there is balance between money and happiness that must be found and only you can determine where that middle ground exists. There are lots of jobs out there that – strictly speaking – pay better than being an architect, but this is what makes me the happiest. As a result, I am willing to concede some salary to do what makes me happy.

The balance between creature comforts and personal enrichment is a consideration for everyone, especially comparing the pros and cons of being an architect versus some other job like a lawyer, doctor, ditch digger … whatever. There is also the added consideration of the different sorts of jobs within the field of architecture, the types of architectural practices, and the different areas of specialization.

Big Firm vs. Small Firm

Residential vs. Commercial

Private sector vs. Public Sector

The options within the field of architecture are virtually limitless and I can’t help but think that someone who really enjoys architecture can find some balance between what pays them well enough to live while providing that something that gives them personal satisfaction and fulfillment.


If you are curious to find out what architects make compared to other professions, the website you need to visit is the Bureau of Labor and Statistics – where you can search by profession to find out what the salary ranges are, where there are jobs, what areas of the country page the highest wages, etc. for ANY PROFESSION, not just architects. So if you are just dying to know what the salary range is for an architect in Dallas, Texas compared to a lawyer (or whatever), this is the site for you.

.Architects Salary for 2010

This is a screen capture of a search on architects/ engineers and wages – you can read that there are 5 categories in this chart – total reported, and then architects that work for the government at the state and national levels, in commercial and then residential practices. Would you have guessed that working as an architect for the Postal Service would pay you the highest Annual mean wage?


Architects Salary Best Paying States for 2010

The map above indicated the Annual mean wage of architects by geographic region (by the way, the blue links in the graphic aren’t active since this is a screen capture but clicking on the graphic will bring you to the website where you can click away to your hearts content). Looking at this map can tell you what areas of the country have the highest salaries – but you have to take this with a grain of salt … for instance, Texas is a big state and there are areas within the state that have wildly different prevailing wages. You should also consider that the standard of living costs higher in some places than others so do your research.


Best Areas to work as an architect in 2010

Finally, the last screen capture I grabbed was of the map that indicates the states and regions with the highest published employment levels and wages can be found.

While the Bureau of Labor and Statistics isn’t the easiest or sexiest website to surf, there is a wealth of information to be found and used when trying to make educated decisions for your future. I am assuming that the reason so many people ask me is simply that they don’t know a resource like this one exists.

Or maybe they just want to see if I’ll respond to their email and send them an autographed 8×10 portrait …

Cheers and happy salary surfing




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  • David Ciambotti

    Hello, i just graduated with a masters in Architecture but i have never had any office experience. I started working a a small firm but the pay is $12.50 an hour full time. I have worked before teaching sketchup for $22/hr so i feel i am getting severely underpaid. My dilema is wether i should work there and get some experience in the small office environment and move on later or should i go for a better paying job at a bigger firm even though i have no experience? Also do know roughly how much a fresh graduate with a masters and no office expereince would make?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Jayvone Severin

      From what I heard that’s pretty normal for somebody just starting out without any experience. In fact I heard you need at leas 3 years of interning and that would be the pay for an intern architect (at least where I’m at which is NY). The pay will soon increase, hence it says “mean salary”. And think about it, do you want to be a teacher or someone who practices it. Teaching sketchup isn’t practicing it.

    • anonymous

      You’re being taken advantage of. We wouldn’t pay someone like yourself whom we felt was promising, less than $20.00/Hr. You are no longer a student, you have a masters degree. Do some proper research rather than accessing blogs, act like a professional and realize your value.

    • I think you are working at a place that can’t afford you. $12.50 works out to approximately $25k/year and that is well below starting average. I won’t say you are being taken advantage of without additional information but you are certainly receiving compensation below market rate.

  • Unannymous

    What would it take for somebody to design buildings them build them yourselves will some other help.

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  • Aaron

    Hello. Im going to study psychology. Architecture is also a subjetc that I find interesting. Well, I have the feeling that I could be a psychologyst and sometimes in my free time make good money drawing houses and so on. You guys think that is possible? I mean to be known as good architect even if dont work with that all my time and make more money.. I’d like to hear any advice.. Maybe Im just being naive with this a idea.. Two bachelors are better than one but in other hand I dont if know the two of them will be really worthing in “real” life. My parents can pay both, so at least I dont must to worry about pay the college but rather think about time. Thank you for the post btw!

    • Alistair Twiname

      that would be pretty tricky to oganise, and to get licenced and get the experience needed means a considerable effort of time and energy. (and $$)

      and when lookking for jobs, nobody wants to hire/commision a part time architects.

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  • Bea Felipe

    i have some stupid homework to do and its annoying as hell couldnt you just say how much you make at one point

    • There was a reason I didn’t title this article “How Much do I make?”

      • John maxwell

        Exactly I wanted to know how much I would make not this other baloney

  • #bob barker


  • anyonomous

    How much do think having to sign and seal your own work in a firm plays into salary?
    Traditionally I’ve seen drawings only signed and sealed by the owner/ shareholders of the firms, but someone was telling me at a particular firm that anyone who is license and is overseeing the project signs and seals the documents. I would assume that this would increase your risk as an employee of the firm and would thus expect an increase compensation. I’m interested in your thoughts.


    • Drogo

      In my experience the person sealing the documents is an owner or officer of the firm due to liability laws. I would expect salary to be based on licensure and level in the firm (grad, staff architect, project manager, VP, etc.) regardless of whether you seal plans or not.

  • Cattie

    I am thinking of becoming an architect- by going to Cornell University and having an Architecture Major. What state should I move to after college? (I want to move) I live in NJ now. Also, should I plan on joining an architectural firm or starting my own?

    • Texas.

      Work in a firm to actually learn all the things that you won’t learn in college (which will be a lot)

    • rleblanc

      Move to China.

    • Drogo

      If you are just starting college don’t worry about where to move after college. Get that degree first. During your education you will meet people and learn about places and that will lead to you a place. Every community has pros and cons so that is a decision you alone will have to make. Everyone should start out working for someone else. It will make you a better architect, businessman/woman and leader. It is certainly more economically stable than working for yourself…even at low starting employee salaries. Get experience, make lots of contacts and learn everything about the business…then think about starting your own firm.

  • Laurel

    Hello! I’m sorry if I’m missing this question if it’s already been answered, but do you make a set amount (consistent paycheck), or is it more of you get paid by the project type thing?
    Thank you much!

  • Charlie Herron

    I am an architecture student at Auburn University, and I hear all the time that you don’t make a profit and you just live paycheck to paycheck. I would change except that I love architecture and I was just wondering about different ways to bring in money while also being an architect

    • I don’t live paycheck to paycheck – to the best of my knowledge (which is pretty good) neither do any of my employees.

      Don’t believe everything you hear, consider the source.

  • Matthew

    What if an architect(s) was a leader of their own firm, for example, the lead architects at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill? How large would their salaries be? They are in the top positions of one of the biggest and most prominent firms in the entire world, responsible for devising some of the world’s most iconic and recognizable beauties..Do they suffer the same fates of overwork and underpay that many other architects go through?

    • Matthew,
      The top principals in those companies tend to have some of the largest salaries in the industry, but also tend to live their jobs and be insufferable people. There are also very few of them overall. Some of the lead architects and top designers–people below that level– whom I know from SOM, have worked extremely long hours (consistent all-nighters every week) with little pay or relief. The lead designers I once knew at SOM worked directly under David Childs on some of their highest profile jobs; the only ones that I keep in touch with today have left the profession entirely.
      In other words, if you keep at it in a firm like that for a very long time, you can make a lot of money. However, in order to do so you will essentially have to make it to the C-suite of a major corporation, where salaries are high in general, and will do little work that is typical of an architect.

  • ArchGirl99

    I have worked at both large (national) and small firms on both coasts and I think one of the most important things to consider when job hunting is firm culture. You will spend a large portion of your time in the office. Regardless of how much money is on the table it will not make up for a company culture you can’t stomache. I also think a firms treatment of interns is a good indication of the type of company you would be working for. When I got out of college (keep in mind this was 2004 when the economy was booming) I got a job offer at every firm I applied to. I had one Architect laugh and tell me to come back when I had a “reasonable” salary request. I had several other say they would make a salary offer when I was finished with school. This was disconcerting as I was only 10 weeks out from graduation (meaning they couldn’t plan that far ahead). I the firm I chose had projects planned out for the next 5 years. The salary offer was lower than I asked for with the condition if I stuck around until the 6 month mark they would raise my salary to what I requested. Here is something else to keep in mind I have found although I live in a smaller town my salary is very competitive with those working in LA or San Francisco with a cost of living significantly lower. This means I have house with a mortgage that is lower than the rent my friends are paying (it is cheaper than my rent in college).

    I would say you can make a decent living as an architect, but you are unlikely to be rich. It is a time consuming process to become licensed and therefore should be something you love. I have a comfortable life and I only work 40 hours per week. One word of advise when negotiating you terms of employment is to explicitly discuss overtime. My company is very generous, although I try to use it in comp time instead to travel.

  • disqus_1kJEZdhOXV


  • Alexis

    So I am an aspiring architect about to start my second year of schooling in the program at Washington State University, but it seems to me that the program is more geared towards competitive/commercial design, where as I want to do residential design. this tends to put a downer on my enthusiasm for projects although I still complete them to the best of my ability. I guess what I want to know is, will this affect my chances of doing well in a firm geared towards residential if that’s not what I have been focusing on? Also, how easy would it be for me to get a job at a mostly residential design firm, are there many out there or would I be struggling to even find a place to apply? And finally, would it be a better option for me to go the rout of being self employed, or should I work at a firm (at least for the first few years out of college)? Thank you to anyone who takes the time to respond to my questions.

    • The easiest way for me to answer this question is to tell you that of all the time I spent in school, I only designed one residential project and that was in my first year – it sucked. I also worked in firms for all but the last 11 years of my career having never designed a house – but here I am working in a firm that is almost exclusively residential.

      In school you learn how to design – not how to design a particular thing. I wouldn’t worry about the “what” just now. And no firm is going to care about the type of projects you designed in school.

      • Alexis


        Thank you for taking the time to respond, I have just recently found your blog and already love reading your articles, keep up the good work. I must say that I agree with you on the whole “don’t ask people how much they make” issue, its rude and uncalled for, but I think the reason you hear it from students so often is because they don’t know what to expect, and even if you tell them they are going to make 35k a year they wont know what that entails (although where I live that’s just enough for one person to live off of comfortably, although not lavishly). That being said they don’t necessarily want to know what you make, but more experienced architects in general. Sorry about the rant, just from reading some of the comments that was what I was getting from the students perspective.

        Anyway, I have one more question, in general, how likely easy would it be for someone to work for a firm from a home office in today’s society, with the computers and technology that we have today? Thank you again for your time and great blog!

        • Thanks for the perspective Alexis.

          As far as working from home, I only know 1 person who does it. I can’t imagine working with someone in my office who wasn’t readily available to sit in on meetings or go to job sites (not to mention met with clients). Working from home seems to be a good fit is you are a experienced technical drafter.

          Hope that helps – cheers!

      • Guest

        Alexis, fellow Cougar here! Say hi to Paul Hirzel for me and try to take his class if you can. Has the program in WSU changed? The last time I graduated about 10 years ago, the program had professors who were into small scale residential projects as well.

        I agree with Bob, but I do like to point out something for the benefit of other people reading this, who is considering other career paths other than only residential.

        IMO, designing large-scale projects are a complete different ball game to designing something small like a high-end retail store or custom home.

        Granted, Bob is absolutely right when he says that it won’t really affect your chances in getting into either types of firms (commercial vs. boutique) as long as your portfolio exhibits good design sense, but I have to point out that it does affect how you will perform when you are hired by them, and possibly your career path.

        Why? Macro vs. micro-thinking. With a retail project (think Koolhaas’s Prada store or Masamichi Katayama’s retail designs), DETAILS ARE EVERYTHING. Your details will decide whether your project is “AWE”-some or plain-vanilla “Blah”-some.

        With a large scale project, you have to ditch that type of thinking or you will be paralyzed and get nowhere, ESPECIALLY when you move up into leadership roles on commercial projects.

        Large scale projects are all about LOSING CONTROL. The pace of a large scale project is MUCH MUCH faster. You absolutely have no time to mull over the intricacies of joinery and architectural tectonics – which is what makes architecture really fun.

        I’ve worked on single-family residential projects during my summer internships with a boutique firm (who gets published, so their work is no slouch in the design department. And because of this, know that detailing is SO important in small high-end projects). I did the World-Trade Center in NYC during my final year in University, so my portfolio had both types of projects to exhibit different skills when I graduated.

        For my professional career, I have done a “World’s Largest -insert-building-type-here- Building” and it was b-r-u-t-a-l. It’s not nearly as fun when I was in the boutique firm for my summer internships, but it’s where the money is, so I did that.

        BTW, I am no longer in the Architecture Industry anymore. I work in Finance Industry now.


      -You are in a GOOD school! Residential Architecture can be done by
      almost anyone, builders, draftsman, designers, homeowners, etc.
      Unfortunately, you don’t have to have an Architectural license to do
      residential Architecture. Therefore, you will be competing for lower
      fees than you would on commercial projects, as a rule. I would
      recommend landing a job w/ one of the Engineering News Record (ENR) Top
      500 firms in the US. You may not do residential projects, but you learn
      the process, systems, and methods of professionals producing
      Architectural projects. Then try to pick up residential jobs on the side
      if you must. There is a lot of handholding w/ residential clients,
      maybe more than you would prefer. When prospecting and interviewing for
      work, don’t get frustrated. Interview a few firms to find out what
      kind of Architecture they do, and find out a little about the culture of
      the office/firm. I have worked for large two of the ENR Top 500 firms,
      and enjoyed it. Small firms have their advantages too. Try to get
      inside info from others who may be working for the firms you want to
      interview. I have a bunch of files on “How to Interview” etc, you might
      want to see. I’m on Facebook and Linkedin.– David Demitruk (WSU ’69)

  • Ihearyoucleary

    I am finishing my Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 2 weeks and I am desperately trying to get into architecture school (5.5 more years of school…). Do you know anyone who has a business degree in addition (with some work experience in a famous well respected multinational company) to being an architect? And in that case… Has this been an advantage to him/her in terms of getting the job they applied for, higher position in the company, higher salary etc. ?

    • Ali

      Yes, I worked for an architect who has a masters degree in Business from the Wharton School of business. It definitely helped him in his career…he owned his own firm and mostly did high-profile projects for national and regional developers.

  • OnlySlitz

    i shuffle everyday

  • Mike Conrad

    ” I was wondering how realistic the NACE Salary Calculator was in terms
    of architects’ salaries. It’s referenced in every university’s career
    center website, but the salary offer result seem too good to be true and
    may be ridiculous to negotiate with.”

    Yep, these figures are ‘optimistic’ to say the least. And when you divide that $75,000 salary by the 70-80 hour weeks you have to put in, you might as well be working at Wal-Mart!

    • Everyone keeps saying that they are working 70-80 weeks, and despite the fact that I know quite a few architects now, I don’t know anyone who works that many hours. If you are one of these mythical people, I’d suggest trying to change jobs. The culture of a firm that requires that sort of input from their employees is not worth working for

      • Mike Conrad

        How much of your career has been spent working for world-famous firms in New York City? No need to be snarky just because some people’s experience differs from yours.

        • I’m not being snarky – apologies if you think that comment was specifically directed at you. You certainly aren’t the first person who has mentioned that architects have to work 70-80 hours weeks. If you think working for “world-famous firms in New York City” is the norm, you are mistaken.

          But on that point, I know quite a few people who have worked for “world-famous” firms putting in those types of hours and I stand by my comment that those firms are not worth working for. They are frequently the worst paying and most demanding jobs. My experience is that most people go to those types of firms, get burnt out and leave within a few years with a nice brand name addition to their resume.

          No thanks, not for me. I wouldn’t recommend that path to 98% of the people out there. If you are in that small percentage where this works out great for you, than congratulations.

        • Guest

          I had a chance (and choice) to work for 2 starchitects in Japan.

          The connection was there, but at the advice of the person with the connection who was also in the industry + conversations with a professor who actually worked for starchitectSSS, AND MY OWN decision (what *I* REALLY wanted in my career), I turned both of them down to work for a commercial firm.

          Out of the 2 firms, only one would guarantee a salary (albeit a low paying one). The other, I most likely had to work for free – no guarantee of salary.

          Japan is not cheap, and I wondered if the name on the resume was worth it, knowing full well, I would be asked to do nothing but photoshop, model making and CAD-monkeying for them for the whole year.

          “What would I learn about architecture and putting a building together?”, I reasoned…

          “Nothing”, was my conclusion.

          I went over to a commercial firm, knowing I would get better working hours, better pay, more responsibilities and learn so much more about construction, codes and contracts to work towards getting my license.

          And I DID get all those things, except the working hours and a collaborative environment. The ego and in-fighting was also pretty bad even in a commercial firm.

          I still worked (IMO) crazy hours (Averaging 72 hours per week, weekends included.). I hated the hours and had no social life outside of office, and could find no way out of it (see Andrew Maynard’s article. I had the exact same experience with him, except I chose to leave the industry, instead of starting on my own)

          I am VERY HAPPY, now that I am out of architecture, I have time to work out and do some MMA, play with little children, eat well and SLEEP. I don’t miss architecture at all, but I do miss the glamor of being called an architect, if I’m truly honest…

          I don’t want to discourage others, but this was me being brutally honest with myself. I realized I didn’t want to be a kick-ass designer. I wanted money and I would be upset if I couldn’t afford nice things in my life like a Benz without being greatly in debt.

          Till today, I still think about it and maybe others reading this could tell me: was the name on the resume truly worth it?

  • Josh

    I’m trying to pick out good jobs that pays a good amount of money should i put this as one of my choices?

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  • bob borson

    this may be weird for all you grown pepol but im thirteen and im on this website i want to figure out if my dream job will get me all the things i want. so anybody out there thinking kids just want nice cars big houses and a hot wife u are wrong beacuse what i want is a good 1 bedroom appartement in downtown _____ with a sweet wife that loves me for who i am and a car that has four whells and can get me from point a to point b

    • that’s truly admirable, but by the time you are out of college/univ your peers will all be focused on higher, yet entirely superficial goals, as inevitably you would be sucked into the vacuum of materialism — but best of luck for the future!

    • BlameTheFed

      I would say you are a very smart young man! You know what is most important in life. if you can hold onto this attitude, you will indeed have a very happy life. A little advice –avoid debt like the plague, and always live below your means.

  • windspiri

    Thank you for that great information Bob. I been driving a truck fir the past 12 years. And I have seen alot of areas that would be great for. Tearing down old buildings and revamping these cities with nice new lofts with shops and restaurants. If u ever get through Nashville, TN or St.Louis.Missouri. off i-44 someone has tore down them old wore out homes and built new ones and it looks awesome. That’s what I would like to get into. Making the old wore out cities look great and refreshing once again. And be an inspiration to .people who are struggling. In life they get to see that if they put their mind to something they can do anything. If they just believe. Thanks Bob.. sincerely …WINDSPIRIT

  • Discouraged

    I’m a rising sophomore in college preparing to declare my major by beginning of the spring semester. Currently I’m going through a mini crisis. I constantly doubt my capabilities because I know just how few “designers” there are, how low the pay is (ROI due to school fees, and also in part to the proportional time spent), and how unhappy a lot of the architects I’ve met are. It was incredibly discouraging to meet so many architects (relatively well established ones) who told me (to a certain extent) “you’re a girl, it’s a waste of your youth. you shouldn’t be an architect. It pays poorly. You’re talented in a lot of other things too. Use your academic and fine motor skills for something else like medical school”.

    That being said, I love architecture. It’s one of the few subjects where I still investigate even after studio hours are done. I blog about it, I read about it, I sketch constantly, I love walking around the city just to observe and “feel out” the place…. I would rather be in the studio finishing the touches on my model at 4am than doing chemistry at 4am (other than sleep of course). I’ve invested myself in architecture since junior year of high school. I want to believe in myself that I can make it, but it’s getting harder every day.

    • Drogo

      I’m reading these posts late. Curious what your decision was? My advice now as it would have been then is to do what you love and the money will follow. Hope its working out for you….

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  • c

    network into a hedge fund internship (you will do nothing), wait till you can do something, firm gets 1 or 2 percent management fee and has billions under assets with not many employees, spend money on going to harvard or dartmouth, it will help you get in, its not about being smart, although hedge funds have lots of phds at them, its mostly about name brands and connections, few really know something, and those that do, end up crashing the market at some point in time … if you feel you are a true artist, do architecture, if you realize you are not good, don’t do it, that’s no easier road than any other career, the thing is some careers you don’t have to be as precise as a surgeon, and still get a nice cut of money, i know a guy as wustl architecture, he was an architect for long time, but got a job at an investment firm in new york, the name brand helped him get there and i guess the change in pace helps him. most of those guys though that are in the billion dollar range in ny, they don’t do things like buffett, hes his own breed, he is like a great artist, and not what i would say is like the typical wall street person.lets say you wanted to be a surgeon, if you ever think about money in this field, most likely you would never make it through to the end, or make it through all the exams, and constant evaluations by others. if you want money, you need to work with wolves, but in order to get even that seemingly unattractive job, that takes an extreme amount of work to get into a top school, or go to a lower school and get high grades, and even then its up to your networking. focus on not going into debt, and going towards a career with capital gains. if you work hard enough to obtain that, you really would be looking at 40 at the earliest until you get to the level where you are making an impact, unless your lucky or extremely smart. try financial engineering if you want a mix of money and creative thought. if you can create a product that has any sort of consistency, you are well on your way to being a millionaire. starting pay in financial engineering is very high, and bonuses may be several times your salary. work on your programming and mathematics skills, but now quants are getting overpopulated. it used to be you could be a quant and be the rare breed, in the future there will be a new bubble. good employment statistics for certain MS quant finance and MFE programs.

    • BlameTheFed

      Financial engineering? Like the overpaid “geniuses” who built the giant house of cards made of hundreds of trillions of dollars’ worth of worldwide derivatives (credit default swaps, etc.) on top of the housing bubble, which caused the financial crisis of 2008, requiring the criminal Federal Reserve to intervene, narrowly avoiding total financial Armageddon?

      We need financial “engineers” like we need more weapons of mass destruction.

  • Ingrid Kong

    Hi Bob,I’m glad to hear an open-ended, positive response to the question that isn’t plagued with the negativity attached to this profession. I’ve been referencing your website a lot lately, but I was wondering how realistic the NACE Salary Calculator was in terms of architects’ salaries. It’s referenced in every university’s career center website, but the salary offer result seem too good to be true and may be ridiculous to negotiate with. As someone with only one full year’s experience in the field and locating to the San Francisco Area, it states a $74,000 offer. This is equal to what my engineering friends who work for large corporations are earning. Would my job application with this salary requirement be laughed out of the room?

    • I’m not familiar with the NACE calculator and since San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the US to live, it might very well be correct.

      Salary is always a negotiation based on need, skill set, demand compared to what is available. The amount will also be different if it’s a small firm versus a large corporate firm – and don’t forget to consider benefits as part of your compensation package.

      I suppose what I am trying to get at is this isn’t an easy question and there isn’t an obvious answer. I could go work somewhere else for probably 30-50% than what I make now in a small residential firm but I enjoy what I do and that bit of extra money wouldn’t be enough to compensate me for being miserable in a job I hated.

      • Ingrid Kong


      • interestingly, the smaller residential firms where I live pay considerably less than large corporate architecture/engineering firms.

    • Revit monkey

      I have been working for a topnotch Architecural firm for last 5 years, All these figures are far from true. I work on projects more than $ 100 M. but my salary is a pitance.
      You work like slave when it comes to deadlines. You might get nominated for employee
      of the month or year and get a $ 50 gift card. Architecure is the worst paying profession. Even less than your engineering brothers.

      • Sanfordia113

        Hi. When you say “$100 M projects,” do you include building costs, or simply design, architecture and engineering, alone? How much would be a fair price estimate for an architecturally significant 30 acre project worth over $1 billion in resale value?

      • Not an architect any more

        So true. I busted my hump working for top architecture companies in NYC and hardly reached 65k a year. Started my own small grocery like seven eleven. Am doing much better.

  • jacob white

    hi my name is jacob white. these people get paid like $4,500 in  monthly net income and we did this thing at school where we did this kind of stuff it was called a junior achevement….. and it was sorta boring so that is how much they get.

  • Miguelt

    hi my name is miguel tapia i go to the school nmsu alamogordo new mexico to become an arcetect.  and the school here do not give the classes i need to take for arcetect. they are giveing me the  basic fundmintels

  • Jude

    I wasn’t so sure what an architect was about , i work well with my hands and use my thoughts realy well. I believe by reading many pages on the internet, i come extremely close to meeting my future in helping build a better and stronger world.

  • AMR

    I read an article last summer about how overrated architects are in media.  We are always portrayed as heroes in movies and TV shows.  The article also summarized that our profession is the most underpaid profession.  This was concluded by comparing the amount of schooling, cost of loans, amount of hours spent working a week, vacation taken, liability insurance, and annual salary…all this was compared to doctors, lawyers, developers, stock brokers, engineers, contractors, pharmacists, etc.  We, and I mean Architects, are at the bottom of the list in the comparison.  Pharmacists were at the top.

    This makes me wonder why we are at the bottom of the list when past centuries dictate that architects were always the “right hand” to kings, emperors, pharaohs, popes, tzars, and dictators.   Have we sold ourselves short?  Or is this a simple matter of supply and demand?  Perhaps that is a different rant.

    My advice would be to any one questioning whether or not to get into the field:  Do it because you love it.  If you’re in it for the money, become a pharmacist instead.

    • Anonymous

      “…architects were always the “right hand” to kings, emperors, pharaohs, popes, tzars, and dictators….”
      But that’s exactly the point.  Today, a pharaoh has less power/influence/authority than 4 millenia ago.

      • were they not also entombed with their clients ?!?

  • Bob

    Wow! I should be earning about 8x my current income according to this!  Oh, wait, this small note at the bottom says the statistics do not include self-employed architects.

    • either you’re putting most of your profits back into the business and paying yourself a minimal tax-effective salary, or you’re struggling to find enough work — this is not a normal situation, but self-employed architects can be the highest paid in the business, (once they have a crew of drafties/student worker-bees to help out).

  • shtrum

    Not that i doubt the veracity of the statistics.  Nor the fact that there is no ‘easy’ profession, and large salaries are 99.9% the result of hard work.  But i have yet to see a compilation of architectural salaries that accurately reflected what i or my colleagues ever made. 

    What needs to happen is an opening of the books to show the disparities involved.  Throw in sketchy job security, late nights, having to learn a dozen or so computer programs (then relearn them every couple of years), keeping up with the latest fads (BIM, LEED, laser cutting, etc.), and people will start to learn why it’s called an ‘old man’s profession.’

  • Keith Palma

    Holy crap!!! Architects get paid?

    • Muahaha

      Tu Madre

  • Forget the BLS, I want the autograph. It won’t make me rich, but it sure will make me happy!

  • Fantastic post, Bob. I’ve often wondered myself what architect’s make around the country but never done the research. I will now refer to this post whenever someone asks me about architect’s salaries (seems to be the only question high schoolers ask about architecture).

    • If you do decide to poke around this site, you can really drill down into very specific areas and get an amazing amount of detail.


      • I did look around. It made me sad. It sucks to make less than the bottom 10% of the profession. Boooooo.

  • Thom

    It’s definitely for the autographed 8 by 10

    • that’s completely understandable … it might be worth something one day 😉