Designing Buildings and building wealth

Written on 27-11-2017

So, you're an architect; you sound smart. But you also want to know the kind of pay being an architect entails. You really are smart! Let's take a look at some important figures on today's architect salaries, and investigate its ranges and limits from different angles.

There are several categories to consider here, first, before just diving into numbers. To gain the most accurate estimation of what an architect salary might look like for you, take into account three major factors: qualification, firm size, and region.

Qualification

Let's start with the smallest - and most interesting - element involved here: you! Your qualifications as a residential architect or commercial architect are probably the first thing that comes to mind when you're considering what kind of architect salary you could possibly score.

As an unlicensed architect, you can probably make about $66,000 annually. Licensure, naturally, will boost this figure to about $78,000, on average: an estimation, of course, but considerably higher than for unlicensed work, according to glassdoor.com.

Some great news here for your architect salary, too, by way of Architect Magazine: 77% of all surveyed firms offer a boost in pay when you obtain your license. Specifically, 39% for BIM/Revit and 23% for LEEP AP. While an architecture salary is not immune to gender-pay disparity, PR Web tells us that 30% of male AEC execs earn $100,000+ annually, as 23% of female AEC execs earn that same amount, even though women seem to have an academic edge in the positions observed.

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We know you try to improve your resume, too, by joining a municipal planning commission. Remember, though, that this kind of endeavor eats up your time and, due to your inherent conflicts of interest, may not necessarily improve your contributions to your firm.

Additionally, a solid understanding of architectural software can only be a point in your favor, so understand it well. Consider free trials of Lumion, Adobe InDesign and Photoshop, and Revit in learning - and mastering - your work as a residential architect.

Firm Size

Next up is your firm. Typically, larger firms, of course, hire more architects than their smaller competitors, meaning they also have more data across a large candidate pool and, therefore, a superior understanding of architecture market conditions.

According to The Architect's Guide blog, smaller firms, such as those with fewer than 50 employees, will have a larger salary range than their employee-laden competitors. A larger range does not mean higher pay than other firms, but rather, a wider spectrum of possible architect salaries, from low to high.

An AIA Firm Survey Report, classifying small firms as those with one to nine employees, medium firms as those with ten to 49, and large firms as those with 50 or more, has found that per-employee net revenue at a firm of a hundred or more employees is approximately $64,000 more than at a firm of two to four employees.

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As your experience increases, notes BuildingsAreCool.com, the employee income gap between small and large firms grows. That is, a manager at a $15 million firm will make nearly $30,000 more than a manager at a $250,000 to $1 million firm.

If you're applying for a position with a firm and you aren't very sure of their size, you can get a rough idea by the varying styles of design or number of project the firm completes on their architecture website.

Region

Lastly, look at your region - the area in which your architecture salary contextually plays out. Different regions with different markets may all have their own unique impact on your pay, but a few sources can provide us with some perspective.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that the top ten percent of architects pulled in $125,520 or more, while the bottom ten percent made $46,080 or less than that. The bureau also projects job growth in the residential architecture field, at seven percent for 2014 through 2024.

Architect salaries may vary by region, but California, Georgia, and Massachusetts all come in at the top of the list for best pay, at $90,000 per year or more for all three states, states Study.com.

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Zooming out even further, Metalocus.com lets us see the global differences in architects' salaries (in Euros): $4,651 in Ireland, $4,665 in Qatar, $4,745 in Canada, $4,750 in Australia, $5,918 in the US, $6,146 in the UK, and $7,374 in Switzerland.


You can also visit AIA's architect salary calculator at https://www.aia.org/8066-aia-compensation-report

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