Architects can have relatively lucrative careers. Architects earn a mean annual wage of $80,490, which is a mean hourly wage of $38.70, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median annual wage for this role is $74,520, and the median hourly wage is $35.83. That being said, where an architect works and their area of specialty has a significant impact on their wages.

So where do these professionals earn such lucrative wages? Keep reading to discover the highest-paying industries and locations for architects.

Top Paying Industries

According to the BLS, architects earn the highest median annual wage in the following five industries:


 Annual Mean Wage

 Computer Systems Design and Related Services


 Scientific Research and Development Services


 Postal Service


 Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers               


 Specialized Design Services


Top Paying States

The following states have the highest salaries for architects:


Annual Mean Wage



 New Jersey








The second tier of highest-paying states–with a mean annual wage between $82,070 and $87,089–include Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

 The lowest-paying states for architects–with a mean annual wage between $57,740 and $68,120— are as follows: Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Tennessee.

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas

These are the top-paying metropolitan areas for architects:

 Metropolitan Area

Annual Mean Wage

 San Francisco-San-Mateo-Redwood City, CA


 Lancaster, PA


 Newark-Union, NJ-PA


 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA


 Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA


 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA


 Portsmouth, NH-ME


 Toledo, OH


 Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA


 Myrtle Beach-North-Myrtle Beach, SC


Top Paying Non-metropolitan Areas

The top-paying non-metropolitan areas for architects are as follows:


Annual Mean Wage

 South Illinois non-metro areas


 Southwestern Montana non-metro areas


 Kansas non-metro areas


 Western North Carolina non-metro areas


 Southwestern Wyoming non-metro areas


Job Comparison

The BLS classifies architects with engineers. So how do the wages for architects stack up against engineers' wages?

 Architecture and Engineering Specialties

Annual Mean Wage



 Civil Engineers


 Electrical Engineers


 Biomedical Engineers


 Mechanical Engineers


Demand and Job Outlook

There are roughly 107,400 architects employed in the United States. The BLS projects 18,600 new architects will be needed by the year 2022. This represents a 17% job growth rate, which is faster than the national average for all occupations. There are several factors fueling demand for architects. Largely, the demand reflects larger global trends, for example, deteriorating school buildings on campuses across the country will either need to be renovated or torn down and replaced. Also, more healthcare facilities will be built to accommodate an aging population in need of medical treatment. Moreover, architects who can create sustainable designs, which help address climate change issues are also in demand.

The BLS says the Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services industry has the fastest growing demand. The industry currently employs 77,500 architects. The industry with the second-highest employment level is the Federal Executive Branch, which employs 1,470 architects. The rest of the top five industries are Residential Building Construction, with 1,250 architects; the State Government, with 1,080 architects, and Nonresidential Building Construction, with 1,050 architects.

New York is the state that employs the most architects:11,070. California, with 10,250 architects, has the second highest employment level, followed by Texas, with 7,970 architects, and Illinois, with 4,460 architects. Florida rounds out the top 5 five with 3,710 architects.


Most architects have a bachelor’s degree in architecture–which typically takes five years to complete. Most architects also complete an internship before entering the workforce. Most importantly, they must pass the Architecture Registration Exam and be licensed. Upon receiving their undergraduate degree, some architects opt to pursue master's degrees. 

The Bottom Line

As the economy improves, the demand for architects is increasing. Some industries and locations provide higher wages than others, and architects should weigh their options – including wages–very carefully to determine the best fit for their skills and interests.