How Much Does an Architectural Engineer Get Paid?

Architectural engineers can earn high wages in some industries.
Architectural engineers can earn high wages in some industries. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Anyone who has ever lived, worked, eaten or done anything else in a building, airport, or structure of any kind has seen the work of an architectural engineer. Considered as a type of civil engineer, architectural engineers design buildings and often oversee the construction process. They not only work on the physical look and layout of a structure, but also integrate a buildings air conditioning, lighting, and electrical systems. The salaries that architectural engineers get paid can vary depending on several factors.

Salary Figures

Amongst other civil engineers, architectural engineers made an annual mean wage of around $81,180 a year based on a 2009 salary survey by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those in the bottom 10th percentile of wages reported making less than $49,620 a year while the most experienced engineers holding positions that paid in the top 10th percentile brought in more than $118,320 annually. Most architectural engineers, falling into the middle 50th percentile, earned annual wages ranging from $60,650 to $96,800 a year. The bureau also reported that based on a 2009 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, starting wages for civil engineers averaged $52,048 a year.


Architectural engineers are valued in every part of the country, but the cost of living and other location based factors may influence salaries. In Hawaii in 2009, civil engineers averaged $76,730 a year, below the national average. Colorado also report lower than national average wages at $77,010 a year. Louisiana, New Jersey, and Texas all boasted higher than average salaries, ranging from $86,790 to $87,950 in annual wages. The highest paying state in the U.S. was Washington D.C., with an annual mean wage of $93,790 for architectural and other civil engineers.


Most architectural engineers in 2009 worked for private engineering firms that are hired to build structures. The average salary in these types of firms was $82,040 a year. Many jobs were also held in government positions. At the state level, government jobs for civil engineers paid $75,870 a year, at the local level, $80,190 a year, and architectural engineers working for the federal government could earn $88,040 a year on average.


Architectural engineers will need a minimum of a bachelor's degree for entry level jobs, but some more prestigious and higher paying positions may require a graduate degree as well. An engineering degree requires a high level of competency in mathematics and knowledge of physics, mechanics, electronics, structural design, and engineering economics. For all positions working on building projects for the government or public facilities, architectural engineers are required to be state licensed.

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