Architect earnings by seniority

Approximate values based on highest and lowest earning segments.

Architect salary by state

State Name Average Salary
California $49,000
Texas $48,000
New York $46,000

How much does an Architect earn?

The salary for a beginning architect depends in part on where he or she is located. California and New York typically pay higher wages, and a few states, including Mississippi, North Dakota and Maine, have the lowest wages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010 the lowest paid 10 percent of all architects nationwide received just under $43,000 per year (these are typically new architects who lack experience). The highest-paid architects, those who've been on the job for years, earned over $119,000, and median pay for all architects was about $72,000.

The size of the company has a lot to do with how much money an architect is able to earn. According to the American Institute of Architects, architectural firms with more than 250 employees typically pay at least 18 percent above the national average in wages for experienced architects, and 12 percent higher for those just entering the field. Firms with fewer than 10 employees report salaries about 21 percent below the national average for those with experience and about 11 percent below average for new architects.

Benefits offered by an employer can make quite a difference to an employee. Such benefits include health insurance, life insurance, sick pay, and paid vacation. Employers may also offer their employees bonuses, overtime pay and other cash incentives. The American Institute of Architects reports that these types of benefits contributed about 14 percent to the overall pay of experienced architects, but only about seven percent for those new to the job.

How do architect salaries compare to similar careers?

Architects earn about the same as related careers in the United States. On average, they make less than landscapers but more than photographers.

Career Median Salary
Landscaper salary $41K
Crane operator salary $52K
Commercial diver salary $47K
Gaffer salary $38K
Architect salary $52K
Brickmason salary $50K
Stonemason salary $34K
Explosives worker salary $43K
Multimedia animator salary $46K
Photographer salary $30K