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Answer: Architecture is an art and a science that involves many talents and skills. Students who study architecture in college may go on to become licensed architects, or they can apply their learning to a related profession. Career paths include:
  • Advertising Designer
  • Architectural Engineer
  • Architectural Historian
  • Architectural Writer or Journalist
  • Art Director
  • Building Contractor
  • Building Designer
  • Building Inspector
  • Building Researcher
  • Carpenter
  • Cartographer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Construction Project Manager
  • Draftsperson
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Fashion Designer
  • Furniture Designer
  • Illustrator
  • Industrial Designer
  • Interior Designer or Interior Decorator
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Landscape Architect
  • Marine Architect
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Production Designer
  • Real Estate Appraiser
  • Set Designer
  • Surveyor
  • Teacher / Professor
  • Urban Planner or Regional Planner
  • What's the average starting salary for an architect?
  • Can an architect earn as much as a doctor or a lawyer?
  • How is the economic slowdown affecting architects and other design professionals?

Job Outlook for Architects
Architecture, like many other fields, has been profoundly affected by the economic slowdown and the drop in real estate values. Between July 2009 and November 2009, employment at American architecture firms dropped from 224,500 to 184,600, according to the US Department of Labor. And yet the US Department of Labor predicts that over the next ten years, employment of architects will increase more rapidly than the average for all occupations. Projections about the job outlook for architects in the USA are published in the Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Salaries for Architects
Many factors influence the salary an architect earns. Income varies greatly according to geographic location, type of firm, level of education, and years of experience. While published statistics can be outdated, they will give you a general idea of the salaries, wages, income, and benefits for architects. According to US Department of Labor statistics, in May 2008 architects in the USA earned between $41,320 and $119,220 a year. The mean annual wage was $76,750 per year, and the mean hourly rate was $36.90.

For more employment statistics, check out the DesignIntelligence Compensation and Benefits Survey (Order Online). This report draws data from approximately 460 practices that offer design services such as architecture, design-build, engineering, interior design, landscape architecture, urban design, and industrial design. More than 25,000 full-time staff are represented in the survey.

According to the DesignIntelligence Compensation Survey for 2009, architect income remains steady despite the economic downturn. Salaries for recent architecture school graduates are increasing. The mean salary for a graduate with a Bachelor of Architecture degree, for example, has risen from $39,333 in 2008 to $41,012 in 2009. The mean salary for a graduate with a Master of Architecture degree has risen from $42,985 to $47,263.

Professional architects with 20 or more years of experience earn an average income of $100,723. Twenty percent of the experienced architects earn up to $142,200, according to the DesignIntelligence survey.

An interior designer with 20 years' experience is most likely to earn $97,800, with the top 20 percent in making $145,333. Their bonus is 8.3 percent.

The DesignIntelligence Compensation and Benefits Survey is published every year and includes income projections, cost-of-living differentials, and information about benefits and perks. For the most current data, be sure to check the most recent edition.

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