How Much Does an Architect Make? (With Architect Types)

Updated 9 July 2022

Architects are professionals who design new buildings such as shopping malls, residential properties and office buildings. If you're interested in this career, you may wonder how much these professionals make. Understanding how much an architect makes may help you make a career choice and set salary expectations for your future. In this article, we provide the average salary for architects, discuss the factors that influence an architect's salary and list different architecture roles to consider.

How much does an architect make?

The answer to the question, 'How much does an architect make?' depends on their region and experience. Architects living in urban areas are likely to earn a higher income than those living in regional areas. The national average salary for an architect is $90,866 per year. The more specialised your role is, the higher the income you can expect to make. This figure can also vary depending on your qualification and skills and if you have a junior or senior-level position.

Related: How to Become an Architect: Step-By-Step Guide

What influences an architect's salary?

In Australia, most architects are covered by the Architects Award, which sets the minimum rates of pay and conditions. Here are some other factors that may influence an architect's salary:

Company size

Larger companies often have more scope and resources to provide higher salaries to their employees. Many architects start by working in smaller firms to help them gain experience, build clientele and improve exposure within the industry. Some may locate opportunities as junior associates or associates in major firms. As architects' skills advance, they may apply for senior-level architect roles where a component of the job may be to negotiate financial matters with clients on behalf of the architectural firm. Architects who prefer a continued connection with clients may do well in businesses that involve frequent client interaction, such as government housing departments.

Location of the firm

Location is a major factor that influences the salary of an architect. This means companies established in major cities are likely to pay you a higher salary than those in regional areas, where land and construction prices are far less. This is because you may design larger or taller buildings.


Good specialisation tends to enhance skills and these, in turn, can lead to project or job offers. Some experienced architects also offer consultation services like interior decoration. Architects may also choose to work in specialised fields such as sustainable living or heritage-zoned projects. Junior or graduate architects can gain in-depth knowledge of the production processes behind a design project via work experience and it's a great opportunity to speak to architects and architectural technicians about their career growth.

Related: How to Show Work Experience on Your Resume (With Example and Tips)

Role within the company

Architects receive their salary depending on their position and contract agreement with their employer. If you're working in senior-level positions or managing a team along with completing independent architectural duties, this could increase your chances of earning more than the junior-level architects. Keeping abreast of new software developments within the field can also be a bonus when salary reviews are conducted.

Current market conditions

If there is a high demand for new homes or new constructions, architects might earn more. In addition, areas that are aiming to become more eco-friendly may have a higher demand for sustainable architects to help design sustainable and functional projects. The work in certain suburbs and city areas can also increase because of economic changes and redevelopment and generally architect's fees rise in consequence because the design work is often more complex.

Ownership or partnership

More experienced architects often set up their own architectural practice, and may employ other architects. Self-employed architects make money by keeping a profit margin on designing buildings, temporary structures or offering consulting on construction projects. Some architects also opt for partnerships where two or more people start an architectural business sharing profits, losses and risks. The overall income self-employed architects earn depends on location, size of the business and the level of skills and experience they have.

Style and awards

Experienced architects may develop a signature style which receives attention and may result in customers wishing to have their design work carried out by that particular architect or their firm. Architectural firms routinely submit their completed designs to local, national and international competitions which award prizes in a number of categories. Prize-winning architects are able to charge more for their services because their work is highly regarded in the industry.

Architecture qualifications

Advanced qualifications may help architects increase demand for their skills and earn a higher income. Here are some of the qualifications you may aim to improve:


You will need to complete year 12 education and gain your higher school certificate or its equivalent in your state. Complete a five-year higher education program in architecture and earn a Master of Architecture degree. As new designs and planning methods develop, you are expected to undertake continuing professional development (CPD) each year and to update this information on your resume. Accrued certifications or accreditations can place you in a higher income earning bracket.


The Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) sets the National Standard of Competency for Architects, which sets out the pathway for the development and assessment of competency at key milestones over the course of a career in architecture. On completion of tertiary study, a graduate architect works towards the Architectural Practice Examination to become eligible for registration. This is a three-part competency assessment comprising a written paper, logbook and an interview with practising students. You can register with the program using the state or territory's Architects' Registration Board to help you gain specific local training.

What is the role of architects?

Architects design buildings and structures, specify materials and manage construction projects. Architects first meet clients to determine their project requirements, budget and amount of custom work required. Architects consider factors like local and federal regulations, zoning laws and the site before completing their design draft.

Initially, designs are flexible so clients can request a revision. For example, after an architect submits a draft for a new house, a client may decide to increase their budget and request additional features. These are general job responsibilities of an architect:

  • design buildings and structures

  • specify materials and products to be used in construction

  • specify standards and other legal requirements to be met by the structure

  • prepare, organise and manage permit documents

  • coordinate with contractors and subcontractors

  • consult with clients to help understand their requirements

  • design and document their architectural process

  • resolve design issues to offer practical design solutions

  • improve existing designs to meet clients' needs

  • offer consulting on the best materials to solve clients' concerns, like mould or slippery floors

  • demonstrate advanced knowledge about legal architectural requirements to design homes and buildings that satisfy Australian law.

Read more: What Does an Architect Do? (With Career Steps and Guide)

How much do architects work?

Architects work in a deadline-driven work environment where they have the flexibility to choose their working schedule as long as they complete the project before the deadline. Architects generally visit the location before drafting the architectural design because they need information on where the sun rises and sets, change of roads designation, height restrictions and water drainage patterns to help make practical designs. Some companies also allow architects to work from home for a proportion of their week.

3 types of architects

Here are some types of architects to consider:

1. Project architect

National average salary: $94,827 per year

Primary duties: A project architect is a relatively senior-level individual who oversees the design and development of residential, commercial and industrial buildings. They often meet with clients, stakeholders, senior designers and design managers to discuss the initial project timeline, requirements and budgeting. They're also responsible for managing the construction crews to ensure they adhere to the designs and statutory requirements. As they participate in quality assurance, they visit the construction site regularly and evaluate the design proposals. They also draft progress reports and time schedules.

2. Building architect

National average salary: $86,046 per year

Primary duties: Building architects specialise in planning and designing buildings according to the client's requirements. They take ownership of their projects like designing a new building, restoring or planning an extension of an existing building. Building architects apply knowledge of architectural designs, construction procedures, building materials and codes to design functional and aesthetically appealing buildings. They make this possible by drawing blueprints, drafting construction documents and collaborating with construction employees. Having strong interpersonal skills and technical design skills helps architects provide sustainable, creative and functional design solutions.

3. Commercial architect

National average salary: $129,124 per year

Primary duties: A commercial architect specialises in designing and building non-residential properties like public buildings, retail stores, offices, hotels and government centres. Architects tailor these buildings to suit the practical needs of a large number of people in a commercial property.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries and the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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