How do the Different Building Design Profession Salaries Stack Up?

how do different building design profession salaries stack up

When it comes to working in the design profession, there are seemingly endless fields you can go into. The amount of job opportunities and creative potential can become overwhelming if you don’t know exactly which path to pursue. But considering how all the design profession salaries compare may help you decide which field to jump into. Keep reading to see how a few popular design fields compare!

Design Profession Salaries

Architects: Let’s start with architects. You may already know that becoming an architect can be one of the most expensive building design professions to choose. After 5 years of schooling, study materials, and taking the ARE, aspiring architects may be in more debt than most. Check out this article to see exactly how much the cost of becoming an architect comes out to! According to Glassdoor, architect’s make an average of $77,799 a year in the United States. However, depending on your job title and how long you have been working, some architects can make up to six figures a year.

design profession salaries for architects

Interior Designers: Unlike architects, most interior designers will never make it to six figures a year. In fact, the highest reported salary for 2019 was only about $70,000 while the average salary for interior designers is $51,775. However, the cost of schooling and licensure is much cheaper for interior designers than architects.

Industrial Designers: Industrial designers make an average salary of $61,852 a year with the highest paying positions reaching higher than interior designers at about $84,000.

Fashion Designers: Similarly, fashion designers make an average of $62,805 a year. The highest recorded salaries for this field being near $86,000. Fashion designers also have the largest range between the average salary and the highest paying positions.

design profession salaries for fashion designers

Graphic Designers: Graphic designers have one of the lowest design profession salaries at $48,561. However, the higher paying positions reach close to that of interior designers at $69,000.

Landscape Designers: Coming close to graphic designers, landscape designers have a slightly higher average salary of $51,840 a year. But the highest recorded salaries are lower than the highest paying graphic designer positions at only $66,000.

To Sum it Up

The average range of these design profession salaries is between $48,561 and $77,799 with architects making the most and graphic designers making the least. Of course, all of these salaries can vary based on location, experience, and employer. Those that own their own firm or do freelance work on the side can certainly earn more than the national average. On the flip side, those just starting out will most likely make less than these averages.

calculating design profession salaries

As with any profession, there is always room to get raises, promotions, and bonuses. Calculating your potential earnings may help you narrow down your options, but the most important part of the job isn’t whatever your design profession salary is. The most important part is that you are passionate about what you are doing and creating work to inspire others no matter what your paycheck is.

What design field are you currently working in? Would you consider changing it based on your salary? Let us know in the comments!


  1. hamzakhan17826 May 19, 2019 at 7:16 am #

    Ok sure, I will follow your steps before going to do exams. I hope your article will help me more.

  2. karlmistos May 14, 2019 at 10:41 pm #

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  4. mikemoreno September 5, 2018 at 3:48 am #

    thank you very much, verry helpfull…

  5. jogesh12345 August 14, 2018 at 1:55 am #

    Very effective and informative article.Thanks for sharing such an important tutorial.

  6. FLMIMA August 11, 2018 at 9:20 pm #

    Really helpful website

  7. Rumi July 15, 2018 at 7:16 am #

    I feel very grateful that I read this. It is very helpful and very informative and I really learned a lot from it.

  8. RJennings April 28, 2018 at 6:12 pm #

    Thank you for this website. The practice questions are helpful.

  9. Scott March 22, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

    Taking this test on Saturday. Last 4.0 exam to complete for the trio, then on to 5.0. This site is my go-to place when organizing what materials I’ll be studying

  10. shozab January 30, 2018 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi , very good article.

    thanks for sharing, keep up the good work

  11. dyba January 27, 2018 at 1:08 am #

    Good advice. Best of luck to all!

  12. KendraShirley January 16, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

    This is my favorite site for practicing for my tests! Great advise and super helpful.

  13. reximagetrim January 16, 2018 at 10:37 am #

    Nice post to read. A complete guide that can help all of us.

  14. tylerstockholm December 17, 2017 at 9:37 pm #

    Nice one… very helpful! Thanks!!!

  15. Aartiwalvekar November 21, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    Nice post

  16. Aartiwalvekar October 9, 2017 at 9:45 pm #

    Great post!

  17. Tony August 30, 2017 at 7:07 am #

    In the NCARB ARE 5.0 handbook they reference Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods in both of their example questions for cost estimating. Unfortunately there isn’t a specific chapter on cost estimating, it’s woven throughout the content.

  18. Spencer August 30, 2017 at 1:15 am #

    What is the best reference for cost estimating for PDD.

  19. Amy July 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    Thanks! Great advice

  20. Tony June 29, 2017 at 7:23 am #

    Deciduous trees should only be used for shade (especially in temperate climates). Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall and will have little protection against wind in the winter when it is most needed. Likewise, the leafless trees allow solar heat gain in the winter when it is desired, and shade in the summer.

    Coniferous trees are only to be used to block wind and views. Since they don’t lose their needles, they work great for these two items year-round.

  21. Shahid Logan June 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    Hello. My name is Shahid. This comment is for anyone who would like to reply. On the Siteplanning test. To block the wind, can you use a Deciduous tree or must you use a Coniferous tree?

  22. Mike January 4, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Tony,

    I need to take 5.0 PPD & PDD. Do you plan on posting notes such as “Caroline’s Notes” that you had posted for the various 4.0 exams for either of those sections? I found those notes to be some of the best resources in studying for the 4.0 sections. If so any idea when? Thanks

  23. Stephen October 17, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    Hi Tony,
    Any updates on the SS exam ? If there’s an expected release date ? Thanks

  24. DesignerHacks October 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm #


    We are releasing practice exams for the SS exam later this fall.


  25. Paige October 4, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Will you have SS questions on here at some point?

  26. Daniel September 9, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    Great post, very helpful with the lists of suggested materials, I just passed CDs in July and am taking PPP in November so I definitely needed the list.

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