Architects' Salaries on the Rise, Increasing by More than 10 Percent

Architects' salaries are on the rise, according to the 2005 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Compensation Report. The report said that between 2002 and 2005 salaries of architecture firms increased 10 percent, approximately a 3.3-percent annual compound growth rate. According to figures from the U.S. Department of Labor, this is a notable increase considering professional salaries in the U.S. economy increased by only 2.5 percent on average for the same period.

"What is interesting about this data is that salaries for architecture positions have increased more than 10 percent during the same timeframe that there has been a recession in non-residential construction," said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. "During the recession of the early 1990s, compensation for architecture positions did not even keep pace with inflation. That is no longer the case, as evidenced by increased compensation for architecture positions totaling almost 50 percent between 1996 and 2005. This news is very encouraging for the architecture profession as a whole."

Other survey findings include:

  • 67 percent of firms offer a salary increase upon completion of the Architect Registration Examination
  • More than 40 percent of firms offer higher salaries for master's degree holders
  • Compensation gains for computer assisted design (CAD) managers have averaged more than 25 percent over the three-year period
  • The slower economy has caused a decline in firms offering sign-on bonuses

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