How Much Money Does an Architect Make? An Architect’s Salary | SAS Podcast 20

Play Video

Architect’s earn a lot of money, right? How much do graduate architects earn?

I’ll be honest, it’s not a whole lot. But that shouldn’t matter, and here’s why. . .

Before a student of architecture can call themselves an “architect”, they need to spend 5 years studying an unforgiving and cruel profession. For the next 2-4 years, they are required to work for menial wages to “log experience”.

Hang on in there, it gets better.

After those 7-9 years of gruesome late nights and harsh critics, they can call themselves an architect.


Now they get to earn, on average, a considerable amount less than what graduates of similar professions make, in reference to the time it takes to get accredited. For example, dentists and doctors.

So if you think architects earn a lot of money, I suggest you think again.


Well, if you watch the video – I’ll tell you why it shouldn’t bother you!

I’ll also explain how you can make yourself more valuable so that the industry (your clients or employers) will want to pay you more.


Get my new ebook! “How to Ace Any Project in Architecture School”


I hope you enjoy the show! Feel free to discuss anything in the comments below. I try to respond to every comment 🙂

Hey! My name’s Kyle.

From a sample of 25,000 students that applied to enter architecture school:
15.30% of them were accepted.
8.50% of them made it through to the second half of their education.
2.04% of them were awarded a degree in Architecture (post-graduate)
0.78% of them ended up working a job in architecture.

Successful Archi Student is a platform for architecture students to learn off one another to become the LESS THAN 1% of students who end up being successful in the profession.

On the podcast, you’ll hear from practicing architects, other successful students and myself, Kyle, a third year architecture student from South Australia.

Doing so, you’ll learn the tips and tricks to excel past the rest of your cohort and build the skills needed to take your work to another level.

Listen to the Podcast

Or, Stream On:

Read the Podcast

Episode 20 Transcript. How Much Money Does an Architect Make? An Architect’s Salary

This is the Successful Archi Student’s Podcast episode 20.

Good morning. Good evening. Good day, everyone who is watching the Successful Archi Students podcast episode 20. Today I’m going to be answering a question which has been planned in my own mind, but what which I’ve been getting asked quite a lot lately, which is why do you architect Don’t get paid much, or how much do architects make in general? And so I want to answer this question real briefly our first I want to say that I am not an architect. However, first I want to say that I am not an architect myself, I am an architecture student. So I don’t actually know exactly what the salary numbers are, I’ve got some statistics for you that you should find helpful. And also, this is coming from me who lives in Australia, which is going to be different from someone who lives in India or United States or Brazil, or somewhere else in the globe. Also, just one more disclaimer, I want to say that an artex pay shouldn’t really bother you. I know it’s kind of cliche to say this, but you should be doing what you love and what you enjoy. If you’re going to work every day and you’re absolutely dreading it but you’re doing it for a paycheck, then that probably probably isn’t for you and you’re probably trapping yourself in a life that isn’t very fun. So what I’m trying to say here That you have to love what you’re doing. You have to have a passion for what you’re doing the patient be your decide as to if you should study it or continue to study or get into the field or not. I know so many people that are earning $30,000 a year, which isn’t much here in Australia, but they’re absolutely loving what they’re doing every single day. And they are so much happier than people earning $120,000 in a stressful job in a corporate job with a miserable and unhappy so I think that is definitely something to consider before we move on now saying that the average architecture graduate with at least two years of experience here in Australia, they earn about $59,000 per year, which is quite a bit. It’s pretty well average. But like for someone who’s just gone into the field and spent seven to nine years practicing, it’s probably not a whole lot. But that’s the idea of if you’re enjoying the path, if you’re having a passion and enjoying the journey, then it’s not going to matter how much you’re earning. So the reason why I haven’t started off with interns or recent graduates is because What I believe is that you should be working for free. I know it’s a bit controversial, but I think that it’s a great idea to offer yourself and offer the value of yourself for free to affirm so they know what they’re working with. And they can train you up and you expect nothing in return. And what this is going to do is this is going to allow you to learn and it’s going to show and allow you to prove that you’re indispensable at a firm, and it’s really going to get your name out there, and it’s really going to help you. In the future. I think interns definitely should not be asking for a paycheck. If you’re an intern, like still going through university and you’re trying to get some work on the side, I think it’s a great idea just to offer yourself for free and offer your services making copies or filing documents or sweeping floors, whatever it is. I’m just to get your foot in the door and start being around people who are practicing architecture, it’s really going to help you succeed now on the opposite side that I don’t think that you should do so so that you’re getting up Obviously, if you’re putting in hard work for two or more years, and they’re just taking advantage of your services and the fact that you’re working for free, then I think you should move on, once you get that experience, or at least start asking and using your leverage to get some pay. Because once you’ve proven yourself that you’re indispensable, and then you’ve got some valuable skills, then that’s when, as a business owner, as a firm director, they’re going to want to make an investment of paying you some money

in the form of a salary, I guess, in order to keep you around. And in order to keep training you up as well, until you actually prove that you’re worthy of that, then it’s probably not going to happen. So anyways, a graduate with at least two years of experience, on average is about $59,000 in Australian dollars per year. Moving up though, for a firm director, so someone who’s running their own firm in their own business, the average pay is $130,000. So as you can see, that’s almost double what a graduate is making. And so this is where it gets really Sorry about architecture because that means there’s scalability involved. And as a business owner, if you’re running your own firm, there is no cap on how much you can make, there is no maximum amount that you can make in a year. And so there are some architects that are making $150 million a year, believe it or not running businesses. However, if you’re just working as an employee, that’s probably not going to be possible. So what I’m trying to promote here is that running your own firm or having an aspiration to run your own firm is not a bad idea. Obviously, this is still just looking at the pace side of things. Obviously, running your own firm is stressful, it’s requires a lot of patience, a lot of hard work, and I’m not claiming to know what it’s like to run my own firm. I’m an architecture student. I’m just trying to talk from experience of what I’ve been hearing and what I’ve been listening to on other podcasts and trying to reiterate that information. However, the fact is, if you’re an employee, you’re only going to be making a maximum amount of money per year, you’re only going to be making what your salary is set out to be. However, if you run your own firm There is no cap on that that’s not taking into consideration the amount of hard work and patience and dedication you need to run your own business because that’s one thing. Being an architect, you need those skills to be a good designer, you know, the basic principles and, and how to put things together and all these technical drawing skills and all this kind of stuff. However, then it’s another thing to run a business. And so that’s kind of a whole nother skill set that you need to develop, which you won’t learn in university. That’s why it’s so difficult for architects, I guess to have a decent pay and this is why architects are underpaid,

underpaid, they’re not actually underpaid, in my opinion, but I think you’re paid on the on the value you bring to the economy. Obviously, you can’t just go out of the university and open up your own firm and expect to do really well. You’re going to need to get some experience and some practice in the actual industry before you start your own firm and so on. That’s why I think it is a good idea to just offer your services for free, get all the experience, you can all the practice you can, and then work with a salary for, you know, as many years as it takes. And kind of while you’re working at these firms, just try and get as much information as you can about running your own firm and how to do it all yourself. Because it is going to take a whole lot of work and not just that you’re going to need to be able to bring in clients and it involves marketing and advertising and all this kind of stuff and networking, however, obtaining these skill sets for yourself is going to make you more valuable in the industry. And so that’s how you get paid more. So what I’m trying to say here is that you’re paid. I think architects are underpaid, in my opinion. I think that people say that because the average architect who just has a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, and they start working for a salary for somebody else, I think that’s kind of the standard way of doing it. But you need to kind of broaden your horizons and start thinking about ways you can make yourself valuable thinking of ways that you can bring more value to the table so that you create leverage for yourself, which makes your employees want to pay you more, or makes the industry want to pay you more in the sense that you’re running your own business. So they’re just a couple of quick thoughts about why architects don’t get paid as much as they should. Because obviously, you’re putting in seven to nine years of hard work, studying and working in the industry in Australia need to do five years of university plus another two in the field to get registered as an architect. That’s seven years that’s the same as what am I guess a medical student has to do to become a doctor who’s getting paid probably twice as much as a graduate architect. But the fact is, you need to enjoy what you’re doing. You need to love it every single day, and then the patient matter as much. However, if you’re ambitious, if you’re if you have ambitions to have a lot of money in life, for whatever reasons, it might be not really like a flexing I think that’s probably a bad idea. But you should have a goal that involves maybe you want to, you know, keep your family or support your family in the future. And you want to make sure that your kids can have food on the table or something like this. And so I think there’s some good ambitions to have. And it’s a good ambition to push yourself to have a lot of money. But I don’t think that the ship that takes you there should be something that makes you miserable. I think you should be just loving every single minute of the work you do. Because if you do that, then you’re going to be successful no matter what, if you’re making 30 grand a year doesn’t matter if you’re happy every single day. And the kind of second point I have here is that having an ambition to run your own business or run your own firm is not a bad idea because it kind of uncaps that amount of pay you can get in a year. And it’s also in my opinion, would be a whole lot more fun working for myself and someone else. But then obviously there are some things that you need to do to get to that point. It’s going to require a lot of Hard work a lot of research and a lot of practical putting yourself out there action.

So, I hope you guys found that video helpful and cleared up some of the questions you had about architecture and, and salary and all that kind of stuff. If you like this kind of video, please subscribe to the channel and then click the bell next to that thing it will make sure the subscribe button I should say what that will do is notify you when I post a new video. And that way you won’t ever miss out again when I post an awesome video like this one. So thank you guys so much please like the video as well. It really does help me Leave a comment as well. And if you haven’t already, please do check out my new ebook, how to ace any project in architecture school. It’s a way with a step by step guide to achieving great results in architecture school. So please do check that out. It’s really going to help you I believe and yeah, I’ll say in the next video guys, thank you so much. And thank you for your support. Take care. I also forgot to mention If you want to check out the show notes for this episode, you can do so with the link in the description. Thank you guys!


If you have a project you want to delve in to and discuss, or you have some useful tips for other students you think would be helpful, please, send me an email to and get in touch about it!
Otherwise, direct message me on Instagram @successfularchistudent and I’ll be keen to set up a skype call.

Resources Mentioned

Support the Podcast

My aim is to help other architecture students succeed in their education so they can later on succeed in their profession.

Help me help others by sharing the podcast with your friends!

If you enjoy what I do, please also feel free to leave a rating on the platform you listen to the podcast on.

Thanks! It really helps a lot and I really appreciate it.

How to Share: