Recent developments in architecture have led to an explosion in design opportunities. As competition becomes more fierce, architects are exposed to more clients and markets than ever before. With this increase in exposure comes new revenue streams for your firm and yourself as an architect.
In fact, many top practicing architects make close to six figures per year! And with all those extra dollars, you can expect to see expensive renovations and upgrades to your home or office.
Most people know that being well-respected professionals, they will get higher paying jobs. But how much money you earn really depends on several different factors.
This article will go into detail about some of the things that determine your architectural income, including: your professional network, marketing strategies, and timing of career changes.
Like many other professional fields, the field of architecture has no clear definition as to what it is or how to become an architect. This makes determining the average salary for architects difficult!
In fact, there are different definitions for what it means to be called an “architect” and even different levels of certification that one must have before being labeled such. These include bachelor's degrees in architectural design, masters degrees in both business administration and architecture, and doctorate degrees in either landscape architecture or urban planning.
However, despite these differences, most architects still hold at least a master’s degree, if not a doctoral level qualification. Beyond this, experience is very important – the more years you've spent working in the field, the higher your pay will be!
The best way to determine the average income in the profession is to do some research onto employment sites and databases.
As we have discussed before, not every person who calls themselves “architect” is really trained in architecture. In fact, there are very few requirements to be called an architect in most countries! That means anyone can call themselves an architect!
This may sound like a good thing, but it isn't. The term “architect” has special meaning to people who appreciate the work that architects do. If you don't, then why not go ahead and use the word “architect” for yourself instead of pretending like you know what one is!
The reason this is so bad is because the word “architect” requires some pretty specific credentials. You need to be educated in the field of architectural design, and you must pass exams to prove your expertise.
Like lawyers, architects are professional consultants who have a degree beyond general education. Beyond that, what exactly qualifies as engineering varies quite a bit by country and field.
In America, engineers are graduate students or recent graduates with at least a bachelor’s degree in either electrical engineering or computer science. They must take several courses outside their major to qualify, such as physics, mathematics or business administration.
Outside those two areas, most countries don’t require formal training for engineers. In fact, some experts argue that having too much regulation can actually hurt the profession!
That’s why it’s so hard to agree about how many professionals there really are. Some sources say there are around five million professional engineers worldwide while others claim over one hundred million.
As we have discussed before, not every person who calls themselves a “designer” actually possesses the degree or certification as a professional architect. (We will go into more detail about this in chapter 2.)
Furthermore, even if they do, that doesn't necessarily mean their salary is the same!
Salaries for architects vary quite a bit depending on several different factors, such as where you live, what kind of practice you work for, whether you are an employee or self-employed, and your own level of experience.
There is no standard definition of what it means to be an architect, so there is no standard average pay structure either. However, like any other profession, those with longer tenures usually make more money than those who are just entering the field.
With that said, how much money YOU MAKE AS AN ARCHITECT IS NOT ONLY DEPENDENT ON WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAVE THE PROFESSIONAL DISCIPLINE TO CALL YOURSELF THAT, BUT ALSO ON HOW MUCH MONEY YOU ARE AUCTIONING OFF OF WHAT YOU ARE PAID AND VARIATIONS IN EXPENSES LIKE TAXES.
As we have discussed before, being an architect means having your’s or another person’s professional services are paid via contract. This can be for one project or many projects, and either part time (day job) or full time (retired from).
The term ‘contractor’ comes from the original construction workers who built buildings way back when. Since then, it has been adapted to apply to just about any profession that hires professionals per hour. Architects are no different!
But what exactly is a contractor? A contractor is someone who gets paid in salary but also gets paid per hours worked. They are typically self-employed, work alone, and don’t have specific colleagues they go through as employers.
This can make it hard to estimate how much money you will earn each month as a contractor because there isn’t always a clear picture of how much time you will spend working and paying bills.
As we have discussed before, architecture is the art or career of designing buildings and landscapes. A building is not only defined as something with roofs and walls, but it also includes how it interacts with its environment and what it communicates to people.
The defining feature of an architect is his or her ability to design buildings and spaces. This means that they are all involved in both practical (constructing things like houses) and theoretical (understanding why buildings work) aspects of the profession.
However, while most architects can build structures, not every architect is able to design beautiful, interesting, and meaningful buildings.
That is the difference between someone who designs house layouts and apartments and someone who practices architectural drawing, interior decoration, landscape design, or any other type of design.
Most people who consider themselves “architects” don’t do either one, which makes them nothing more than clever drafters.
As we have discussed before, architects’ salaries are not the same across the board- some areas of practice that seem similar actually offer different pay scales depending on what kind of structure an architect’s job holds.
Structure here can be conceptual or physical. A structural engineer designs buildings and bridges while a practicing architecture professional usually focuses more on designing spaces and environments.
But beyond just those two major categories, there are several others that play important roles in how much money you make as an architect. These include:
As such, most architectural professionals work with both engineers and planners at various times during their career.
Another factor affecting how well paid your are as an architect is whether you choose to go into private practice or public service.
Public service positions like city planning and design departments typically pay less than private practice. And vice versa!
However, one crucial part about being an architect is having enough income to live on. If you don’t, then it becomes difficult to devote time to research and development and offering new ideas to inspire other people.
A few years ago, people would refer to architecture as “with drawing tools” or even “the art of designing buildings.” But these descriptions are very misleading.
Architects today must not only have artistic talent but also business acumen and technology proficiency. They need to be able to conceptualize complex ideas and then execute them via computer-aided drafting (CAD) software, 3D modeling programs, rendering engines, and other related technologies.
This has led to a much more comprehensive definition of what it means to be an architect. In fact, some professionals now argue that the best way to describe an architect is someone with a degree who can take any source material and apply their expertise in visual aesthetics while incorporating knowledge of building science, engineering, and mathematics to create something meaningful.
With all of those components, the architect is able to convey a sense of confidence in themselves and their field.