Architects create the structures in which people live, work and play. They develop buildings that are not only attractive to look at, but function efficiently and are cost-effective for the construction company. They typically work in offices for the initial phases of planning but may spend increasing time at construction sights to review the progress of projects.
Becoming a professional architect begins with either a five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree or a master’s degree after finishing a bachelor’s degree in another field. All states then require a training period, which typically lasts three years. The standards for architectural interns are created by the American Institute of Architects and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. Finally, a passing score is needed on the Architect Registration Examination. Professional architects can earn a median $72,700 yearly, with a range of $42,320 to $122,640 as of May 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For architects, compensation increases with experience, according to PayScale.com. As of November 2010, new professionals earn $34,943 to $45,822. At one to four years of work, they make $39,282 or $50,584, and at five to nine years they receive $48,314 to $61,367. Finally, at 10 to 19 years, they get $57,218 to $77,697, and at 20 or more years, they are paid $65,490 to $99,068.
The industries that hire the most architects are architectural and engineering services, with 86 percent of the 101,630 jobs. Their salaries are $78,660, which is better than the median. The highest-paying employers are the offices of real estate agents and brokers, with annual wages at $106,360.
The BLS sees employment for architects growing at 16 percent for the decade starting at 2008, which is faster than average. The increasing population will need the houses, businesses and recreation centers that can be designed by these professionals. More facilities will also be needed to house the elderly, such as hospitals, nursing homes and retirement communicates. Architects with experience in “green” or ecologically sound design will find excellent opportunities.