How Much Do Architects Earn?

May 2014

The median wage for architects (licensed and non-licensed) in the United States is $36/hour, or just over $74,000/year. At the top of the pay scale, 10% of architects earn $57/hour or more, while 90% of architects earn at least $22/hour. In Canada, the median earnings are $29/hour CAD, while the top 10% earn over $50/hour and 90% of architects earn at least $19/hour.

By comparison, in the United States interior designers have median wages of approximately $23/hour or $48,500/year; for landscape architects, median wages are $31/hour or $64,790/year; and for civil engineers, median wages are $39/hour or $80,310/year.

Architect Wages in U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

What states and provinces have the highest paid architects? The interactive map on this page allows you to explore this data. By sliding the median wage filter, you can discover that in the United States, California has the highest median wage, while Connecticut also has a median wage of $40/hour or more. In Canada, the highest paid architects can be found in Alberta, where the median wage is $34/hour CAD, while architects in British Columbia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan also earn $30/hour or more CAD.

The lowest paid architects in the United States can be found in Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Wyoming, and South Carolina, where the median wage is lower than $30/hour. In Canada, the maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and New Brunswick have the lowest paid architects, with median wages of $24-25/hour CAD.

To find out which U.S. states have the highest and lowest paid architects once wages are adjusted by regional price parities, you can use toggle between these two views. In actual wages, the states with the highest pay are largely clustered in the northeast and west, but when adjusted based on the differences in prices for goods and services in each state, the map changes substantially.

You can also filter by median wage, zoom in on a single region, or hover over a state or province to get all its details. Or check out the accompanying static graphic at the ACSA Atlas Project.

Architect Wages in U.S. and Canadian Cities

What cities have the highest paid architects? Of the 11 cities where the median wage is over $41/hour, six (Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Diego, Oxnard, and Riverside) are in California. But if we adjust wages by regional price parities, only Santa Cruz makes the list. The cities with the lowest paid architects are Niles, Michigan; and Waco, Texas; with a median wage under $22/hour. In Canada, Montreal has the lowest median wage among cities represented, at $23/hour CAD.

Architects in large cities earn more than their counterparts in smaller centers, but not significantly more, particularly after adjusting for differences in prices of goods and services in different cities. Toggle between the “actual” and “regional price parity adjusted” wages to explore this data. You can also filter cities by number of architects employed (move the sliders the left to explore smaller cities), or highlight specific cities.


In the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates earnings across a wide range of occupations in their “Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates,” and in Canada, similar estimates are provided by the Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey. This data, which includes 2013 estimates for high (90th percentile), middle (median), and low (10th percentile) earners in each location, is visualized here. Regional price parity data, shown for U.S. states and cities only (that is, not including Canada or Puerto Rico), is from U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis data released in April 2014, with a reference year of 2012.

These surveys count only those who are currently employed as “Architects, Except Landscape and Naval” (in the United States) and as “Architects” (in Canada). In the United States, this includes both licensed architects and those who are not licensed but performing the same roles as an architect and/or training to be an architect. Those who have previously trained or practiced as architects but who are currently working as construction managers or web designers, or who are currently underemployed or unemployed, are not included in this data.

Do you have comments, corrections, or suggestions about this data or ACSA’s use of interactive graphics? Contact Kendall Nicholson, Director of Research + Information.


Kendall Nicholson
Director of Research + Information