Architectural designers, also known as architects, create the design and building plans for any type of structure whether it’s a ranch-style home or towering skyscraper. They are responsible not only for how a building looks from the outside but also how it is laid out within the exterior walls. They plan the size and shape of rooms, decide where windows and outlets go, and make the home safe and functional -- all within the client’s budget.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 87,700 architects worked in the country in 2010; landscape and naval architects were not counted in this tally. Architects' average hourly wage was $37.75, which equates to $78,530 a year. The middle 50 percent of architectural designers earned $26.27 to $44.72 an hour, or $54,650 to $93,020 a year. Looking at the hourly rate is important with architectural designers since 20 percent of them reported working more than 50 hours a week in 2008.
Pay by Industry
The top-paying industry for architectural designers in 2010 was the U.S. Postal Service, which employed 110 architectural designers earning an average of $44.07 an hour, or $91,670 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Other high-paying industries included specialized design services, the federal executive branch and activities related to real estate and scientific research and development.
Pay by State
The state where architectural designers earned the most in 2010 was California where 0.73 out of every thousand jobs was held by an architectural designer. They earned an average of $43.76 an hour, or $91,010 a year. Other top-paying states were Vermont, Nevada, Alaska and Connecticut. Washington, D.C., had the highest concentration of architectural designers where 2.44 of every thousand jobs was held by an architectural designer.
Pay by Area
Architectural designers in Southern Vermont earned the most in 2010, though there were only 50 of them. They earned $66.62 an hour, or $138,570 a year. Other top-paying areas were: North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, Florida; Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Pennsylvania; Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, California; and Bakersfield, California. All of these areas employed far fewer architectural designers than can be found in larger metropolitan areas, though.