A growing number of architects voluntarily seek certification by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. Certification is awarded after independent verification of the candidate's educational transcripts, employment record, and professional references. Certification can make it easier to become licensed across States. In fact, it is the primary requirement for reciprocity of licensing among State Boards that are NCARB members. In 2009, approximately one-third of all licensed architects had this certification.
After becoming licensed and gaining experience, architects take on increasingly complex assignments, eventually managing entire projects. In large firms, architects may advance to supervisory or managerial positions. Some architects become partners in established firms, while others set up their own practices. Some graduates with degrees in architecture also enter related fields, such as graphic, interior, or industrial design; urban planning; real estate development; civil engineering; and construction management.
Employment of architects is projected to grow 3 percent from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations.
Despite limited employment growth, about 9,400 openings for architects are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
Architects are expected to be needed to make plans and designs for the construction and renovation of homes, schools, healthcare facilities, and other structures, particularly in the area of sustainable design. However, improved building information modeling (BIM) software and measuring technology are expected to increase architects’ productivity, thereby limiting employment growth for these workers.Earnings
The median annual wage for architects was $80,180 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $48,930, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $129,980.
In May 2021, the median annual wages for architects in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
- Government - $99,330
- Construction - $82,800
- Architectural, engineering, and related services - $79,780
Most architects work full time and many work additional hours, especially when facing deadlines. Self-employed architects may have more flexible work hours.Back to Page 1