Architecture is a field that not everyone tends to think about. If you live in a big city, every day you may pass by different buildings that were carefully crafted by teams of talented architects. Every building that you’ve ever been in was, in some capacity, designed by an architect. Architecture is a field that has existed for thousands of years, and it is considered by some to be a true art form. (True, architecture is one of the things that a lot of people will learn about if they choose to take art history classes in college.) I don’t think that there’s any denying that it takes true skill and talent in order to work professionally as an architect. How well is that skill and talent paid for? Are architects paid well for their work?
Plenty of people grow up aspiring to become an architect, but plenty of people are also discouraged from pursuing the profession out of fear that they may not be paid well for it. Everyone is encouraged to follow their dreams, but sometimes it can be hard to justify following a dream that doesn’t allow you to support yourself. How much are architects actually paid? In this article, I intend to answer that question, among a few others. I’m going to talk about how much the average architect makes, while also addressing how that salary is affected by factors like location, experience, and education. I’m also going to talk a little bit about what someone needs to do in order to become an architect. Without further ado, let’s learn a little bit more about this challenging profession.
Average Salary for Architects 2018 – $64,116
The average salary for an architect currently sits at approximately $64,116 per year, which is a fairly respectable figure. It may not be as much as your average doctor makes, but it’s still a good living. However, since this is an average salary, that obviously means that some people are paid more and some people are paid less. What can account for that difference? First of all, let’s consider how location can affect the salary of an architect. As you can imagine, architecture is important nearly everywhere you go. Every city requires buildings, and so every city will have a demand for architecture. However, more developing or expanding cities, like San Francisco, Seattle, and Atlanta, have a greater need for architects. Basically, these are cities that are building more often, and when they build, they need an ingenious architect. If you live in one of these cities, you should have an easier time finding work as an architect. You should also be paid a little more for your work.
How does experience affect the salary of an architect? Well, architecture isn’t really unlike all of the other fields that a person may work in. Someone who has more experience in architecture is logically going to be paid more than someone who doesn’t have as much. An architect with over twenty years of experience can be paid up to $40,000 more per year than someone with just entry-level experience. Obviously, this creates a very large difference in wages depending on someone’s experience. What accounts for this difference? First of all, someone who is more experienced in architecture is more familiar with what kind of work is expected of them. They’re less likely to be surprised by a client’s expectations. A more experienced architect is also more comfortable with the kind of people that they work with. Just generally speaking, they’re more well-equipped for the job. They are paid accordingly for their ability.
Finally, how does an architect’s education affect their salary? Although something like experience is obviously a good indicator of someone’s ability in the workplace, a college degree serves as an objective indicator of someone’s knowledge and abilities. So logically, an employer is more likely to give you a big paycheck if you have a more storied education. Is that true for someone working in architecture? Most jobs in this field only require that you possess a bachelor’s degree. However, if you think that you can afford to go to graduate school, it wouldn’t be a bad idea. Even if you can “get in the door” so to speak with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in the subject makes you an even more competitive applicant. It almost makes you more likely to receive a pay raise or a promotion at some point in your career. The more formal education you have, the more likely you are to see some serious upward mobility in your chosen field.
How to become an architect – Do you need to go to school?
So, if you’ve read everything above and you still have an interest in becoming an architect, then you may be wondering what someone actually has to do in order to enter this exciting field. The first thing that you need to do to become an architect is finish high school. If you already finished high school, great. If you’re still in high school, then make sure that you maintain your grades so that you can get into a good undergraduate program. (Someone who wants to be an architect should consider working in courses related to mathematics and technology.) If you already dropped out of high school, then you’re still not completely out of hope. You should seriously look into earning a GED or some other high school equivalence, so that you can continue your education into college. In order to become an architect, you pretty much have to attend college.
Once you’re in college, you’re obviously going to be studying for a bachelor’s degree in architecture. While you’re studying, you’re going to be learning about things like environmental systems, structure, and you’re also going to become familiar with the kinds of technology that you will use as you work in architecture. During this time, it’s also important to keep your grades up so that you’re able to get into a good graduate school if that’s a path that you plan on taking. Speaking of graduate school, once you get your bachelor’s degree, you have to option to go down that path. In graduate school, you’re obviously going to be pursuing a master’s degree in architecture. Depending on which program you enter, you could get this degree in as little as two years. When you’ve finished with your graduate school education, you still have a little bit of work ahead of you in order to become a professional architect. In order to be an architect you need to be certified and licensed, and in order to be certified and licensed you need to complete some training under a certified architect.
Think of this as an internship. Although it may be a little bit of an inconvenience, it will still allow you to form the connections and get the experience that you really need to get your start in this relatively competitive field. Once you have completed your training period, you can start thinking about becoming licensed and certified. To do this, you need to pass the Architect Registration Examination. Passing this will give you your state license. You can also become certified, which you do by passing a few other tests administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. Once that’s out of the way, you pretty much have all of the tools that you need to be considered a professional architect. From there, it’s just a matter of utilizing the connections that you’ve already made to score a full-time job. As long as you’re qualified and as long as you have a passion for what you’re doing, you shouldn’t have any issue finding work in this field.