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How Much Money Does a Beginner Architect Make?

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How Much Money Does a Beginner Architect Make?

How Much Money Does a Beginner Architect Make?

There are high-paying jobs, and then there are low paying jobs. Some jobs are lucrative right from the word ‘go,’ and then there are jobs that reap remunerative rewards only after years of hard work.  How much can an architect make? If you are looking at a career in architecture, you are probably wondering what your starting salary would be. According to Investopedia: Architects earn fairly more money than the national median wage of all occupations. On average, architects make $107,945 annually. But what about an architect just out of college? A reasonably good idea of your pay packet as a beginner architect can help you plan better for your future. Here’s a look at how much you can expect to make as an architect whose career is just beginning.

Beginner architects make more money today than over a decade ago

In 2007, intern architects earned anywhere between $34,000 to $40,000 during their first year after graduation. That increased to approximately $47,000 after three years and between $48,000 and $59,000 per year by the end of the fifth year. 

According to the job site, Indeed, as of February 2021, an entry-level architect can make, on average, $51,209 per year today. Job site, Glassdoor puts the entry-level salary of an architect a bit higher at $68257 per year.

The average base salary of a beginner architect stands at $221.99 per hour. You can earn an average base salary of $228 per day, or $937 per week. That translates to an average base salary of $3,626 per month.  If that does not seem like much, consider the additional perks you are eligible for as an entry-level architect.

Additional perks for entry-level architects

Employers at architectural firms understand that a low salary could deter beginner architects from joining their firms. So, they make up the low salary by offering their new employees generous perks and benefits like health insurance, vision insurance, 401(K), dental insurance, paid time off, and flexible schedules. 

What beginner architects might miss out on in terms of actual cash is earned through perks and benefits.

Employers who don’t want to lose their high-performing beginner architects invest in their careers to retain them. Some of these investments include in-house training, architects insurance (click here for the latest information on insurance for architects), and a chance to work on various types of projects.

The highest paying states in the United States

As mentioned earlier, there has been a year-on-year increase in architects’ salaries – even at the entry-level. But as well as that, some states pay their architects more than other states. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following ten states pay architects the most money. 

  • New York
  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • California
  • Texas
  • Alaska
  • Maryland
  • Nebraska
  • Alabama

Should money be the highest priority for entry-level architects?

Not necessarily. Most graduate architects understand that it takes time to start making money as an architect. Most beginner architects focus on gaining experience rather than earning money. 

Some architects would rather work in a particular firm only because it practices sustainable architecture or has experienced employees. The more recent generations of architects are more committed to learning their profession despite low incomes. They understand that, with time, their salaries will increase. 

How to make more money as a beginner architect

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, architecture jobs will increase by 0.8% every year between 2019 and 2029. That means there will be a lot of competition among architects to bag those jobs. Only the best and most deserving candidates will get those jobs. 

  • Stay up-to-date with your architecture knowledge and become proficient in the latest trends – that is one way of ensuring you get the best salary in the market. 
  • If you are not picky about where you work, choose to work in a firm located in a state that pays beginner architects higher wages. 
  • Those who are better qualified can make more money than other beginner architects, so ensure you have the right qualifications. 
  • Be excellent and thorough at your job. If your employer values your work, they will ensure they compensate you in any way they can to retain your services.


Beginner architects indeed make more money today than they did a decade ago, and the salary keeps getting better year on year. However, architecture is a creative job, and most architects are not in it for the money. Instead, they become architects for the thrill of using their creativity to plan, design, and create unique and exciting structures. If you have a creative bent of mind and are eager to pursue a career in architecture but are put off by the salary, we suggest you don’t worry about the pay. Be good at what you do and enjoy your career as an architect, and the money will follow. 

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