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.

$40,835 - $96,349
(Median)
$41K
$59K
$96K
MEDIAN: $59,079
10%
50%
90%

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$15.57 - $48.94
(Median)
$16
$25
$49
MEDIAN: $24.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$34K$68K$102K
Salary
$40,835 - $96,349  
   
Bonus
$487.14 - $9,952  
Profit Sharing
$100.67 - $10,017  
Commission
$7,000  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$40,324 - $99,668  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 2,418
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$17$34$51
Hourly Rate
$15.57 - $48.94  
   
Hourly Tips
$15.55  
Overtime
$20.41 - $46.07  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$34K$68K$102K
Bonus
$487.14 - $9,952  
   
Commission
$7,000  
Profit Sharing
$100.67 - $10,017  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$40,324 - $99,668  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 442
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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.

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Design Architect Tasks

  • Work with clients in the pre-design phase to generate designs.
  • Mentor younger staff to develop their design skills.
  • Assist team in developing and implementing design concepts for both interior and building projects.

Common Career Paths for Design Architect


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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.

Design Architect Job Listings

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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

National Average: $59,472

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that 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).

Design Architect Reviews

What is it like working as a Design Architect?

Design Architect in San Francisco:
Pros: Critical thinking is required on a daily basis and every project is a new experience.
Cons: Some of the tasks become tedious and repetitive.

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Experience Affects Design Architect Salaries




National Average
$59,000


Skills That Affect Design Architect Salaries



Design
up arrow 3%

Microsoft Office
0%

Microsoft Word
0%

National Average
$59,000

AutoCAD Architecture
up arrow 1%

Autodesk AutoCAD Architecture
up arrow 1%

autodesk autocad
up arrow 2%

AutoCAD Revit Architecture Suite
up arrow 2%

Autodesk Revit Architecture
up arrow 4%


up arrow 7%




Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 285 votes.

Gender

Female
36 %
Male
64 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
4%
1-4 years
35%
5-9 years
25%
10-19 years
22%
20 years or more
15%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 80%
dental benefits
Dental: 53%
medical benefits
Vision: 40%
dental benefits
None: 18%
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