Design Architect Salary
Design Architects in the United States take home approximately $59K annually on average. Overall cash earnings for Design Architects vary widely between $40K and $100K; for a few high rollers, the final number can encompass upwards of $10K each from bonuses and profit sharing proceeds. The most influential factor affecting pay for this group is the company, though years of experience and geography have a (lesser) impact as well. Male Design Architects are more prevalent than women among those who took the survey — 64 percent of professionals. Most report receiving medical coverage from their employers and over one-half collect dental insurance. Most Design Architects report high levels of job satisfaction. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.
Job Description for Design Architect
Design architects generally design buildings or other structures such as statues and water fountains for their employer. They work on design projects from start to finish, consulting with clients, creating and editing draft designs, and monitoring project progress throughout construction. Design architects must keep their supervisors and other team members up to date on all updates to projects, and they may go to construction sites to monitor construction progress in person and help conduct troubleshooting as needed. Sometimes, design architects coordinate construction projects as well; this requires coordinating the work of a wide number of construction and design team members to ensure a project is completed successfully within project specifications, deadlines and budget.Read More...
A bachelor's degree in architecture is generally the minimum educational requirement for this position; additional education may be required or preferred. Previous experience in a related role and licensure are generally required or preferred as well. Design architects must have experience with relevant computer-aided design software such as AutoCAD, as well as basic computer programs such as the Microsoft Office suite. They must work effectively with other members of the design team, as well as on their own with minimal supervision; good communication skills are needed, as are the ability to multitask and mentor more junior staff members as required.
Design Architect Tasks
- Assist team in developing and implementing design concepts for both interior and building projects.
- Mentor younger staff to develop their design skills.
- Work with clients in the pre-design phase to generate designs.
Common Career Paths for Design Architect
Design Architects may experience a large salary bump if they progress into a role such as Senior Project Architect. The latter position pays an average of $86K annually. The most common promotion for Design Architects is an Architect position, which usually brings in $58K a year. Another standard transition for Design Architects seeking advancement is to assume a Project Architect role, where pay is often $65K.
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Popular Employer Salaries for Design Architect
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Llp, Hks, Inc., Gensler, Callison Architecture, Inc., and NBBJ are some prominent firms with considerable interest in employing a large team of Design Architects. Chief Architect leads the field in terms of pay, with a median salary of $110K. Other leaders in compensation levels are Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Llp. at $87K, Perkins Eastman Architects P.C. at $77K, and HMC Architects, where Design Architects annually earn $69K.
Known for its small paychecks, Callison Architecture, Inc. actually ranks last in the field for salary, reporting a median income of $47K — less than half of the top paying company's rate. Rtkl Associates, Inc., Perkins and Will, and Aecom Corporation also rank near the bottom for pay, handing out $51K, $53K, and $57K-paychecks on average.
Popular Skills for Design Architect
Survey respondents exploit a significant toolbox of skills in their work. Most notably, skills in Project Management, Project Coordinating, Design, and Microsoft Office are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 3 percent and 12 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like 3D Rendering, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign. Most people experienced in Adobe Photoshop also know Design.
Pay by Experience Level for Design Architect
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Experience is an important factor influencing the compensation of Design Architects. Relatively untried employees who have fewer than five years of experience earn around $50K on average. People who have worked for five to 10 years can expect a higher median salary of $61K. Design Architects bring in $74K after working for 10 to 20 years. People who have worked for more than 20 years report a median income of $89K, which is barely higher than the median for folks with 10 to 20 years of experience.
Pay Difference by Location
Surpassing the national average by 18 percent, Design Architects in Dallas receive some of the highest pay in the country. Design Architects can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Francisco (+13 percent), Washington (+10 percent), Boston (+8 percent), and Denver (+7 percent). With compensation 14 percent below the national average, Miami is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Workers in Austin and Chicago earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (10 percent less and 7 percent less, respectively).
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