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How much do architects earn?

The Occupational Outlook Looks at Careers in Architecture


oung woman architect changing architectural drawings at business meeting with client couple

Meeting with clients and changing your architectural drawings.

Photo by Jupiterimages ©Getty Images / Collection: Stockbyte / Getty Images African American architect with hard hat, radio, and a look of undercompensation

Project management is an important aspect of the architecture profession. Photographer: Comstock Images / Collection: Stockbyte / Getty Images

Question: How much do architects earn?

  • What's the average starting salary for an architect?
  • Can an architect earn as much as a doctor or a lawyer?
  • How is the economic slowdown affecting architects and other design professionals?


Job Outlook for Architects
Architecture, like many other fields, has been profoundly affected by the economic slowdown and the drop in real estate values. Between July 2009 and November 2009, employment at American architecture firms dropped from 224,500 to 184,600, according to the US Department of Labor. By 2012, the number of jobs was down to 107,400. And yet the US federal government predicts that between 2012 and 2022, employment of architects will increase 17 percent—more rapidly than in other occupations. Projections about the job outlook for architects in the USA are published in the Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Salaries for Architects
Many factors influence the salary an architect earns. Income varies greatly according to geographic location, type of firm, level of education, and years of experience. While published statistics can be outdated, they will give you a general idea of the salaries, wages, income, and benefits for architects. According to May 2012 US Department of Labor statistics, architects in the USA earn between $44,600 and $118,230 a year. Half of all architects earn $73,090 or more and half earn less. The mean annual wage is $78,690 per year, and the mean hourly rate is $37.83.

For more employment statistics, check out the DesignIntelligence Compensation and Benefits Survey (Order Online). This report draws data from hundreds of practices that offer design services such as architecture, design-build, engineering, interior design, landscape architecture, urban design, and industrial design. Thousands of full-time staff are represented in the survey. Some of the survey participants also take part in Discussion Forums such as Archinect, so you can ask specific questions.

The DesignIntelligence Compensation and Benefits Survey is published every year and includes income projections, cost-of-living differentials, and information about benefits and perks. For the most current data, be sure to check the most recent edition.

ALSO SEE:  Does Architecture Pay?

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