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Architect Salaries: What can you expect?

Like many other fields, architecture has been affected by the global economic downturn and the corresponding drop in real estate's value. Between July and November of 2009, jobs at US architectural employers decreased to 184,600, but the US Department of Labor predicts that jobs will increase more quickly than the average. Here, you will learn what an architect's expected salary is, and some of the factors that influence their income.

There are many factors that determine how much an architect earns. Income can vary according to location, type of architecture firm, the architect's level of education, and their experience. While statistics can sometimes be outdated, they can give a rough idea of an architect's income and benefits. According to Department of Labor Statistics, as of May 2008, architects in America earned anywhere from $41,320-$119,220 per year. The average annual wage was $76,750 yearly, for an hourly wage of $36.90.

According to DesignIntelligence's 2009 Compensation Survey, an architect's income has held relatively steady in spite of the lackluster economy. Salaries for architecture school graduates are also rising; the mean salary for a recent bachelor's degree holder has risen by over $2,000 from 2008 to 2009. The average salary for a master's degree holder has risen by over $5,000. Architects with over two decades' experience can earn upwards of $100,000 per year.

There are over one hundred thousand licensed architects in the US that design homes, offices, hospitals, sports arenas and other facilities. The average hourly wage for a licensed architect in America is about $35.00 per hour, or $72,000 per year. However, over 75% of American architects make over $88,000 yearly.

According to the US' Bureau of Statistics, as of 2007, real estate brokers paid architects the most, an average of $123,000 a year. Mechanical and scientific consultants and insurance carriers offer the second highest architect salaries, at an average of $95,000 per year. The United States Post Office pays architects an average of $86,000 per year. The states that pay architects the most are Colorado, DC, Montana, Massachusetts, and New York.

In the US, architects' salaries continue to rise at over 5% per year, despite the economy. According to the AIA (American Institute of Architects), the median salary has grown from $34,000 in 1990 to its current mean of $73,000 per year. One of the reasons for the increase is the rise in numbers of architecture firms with fifty or more employees. Larger firms are able to offer more competitive pay packages, which increases salaries across the board.

As in other fields, experience plays a role in the expected salary of an architect. A US architect with less than a year of experience makes an average of $37,000 per year, while a 20 year architect makes an average of $77,000.