Where in the US is the Highest Architect Salary?

Featured Image_Where in the US are the Highest Architect Salaries

If you read our article on the cost of becoming an architect, you know expenses can reach up to $100,000. With a price tag like that, you’re probably hoping an architect salary is worth the expensive education! In this article, we’ll discuss what architecture salaries look like in different areas of the US. Keep in mind these are only averages and salaries can vary based on many factors. But if you’re looking to start out or maybe you want to transfer to a new location, this article should give you some insight into what you can expect around the nation!

Average Architect Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an architect makes an average salary of $79,380 in the US. Of course, that can vary based on experience, location, and bonuses. The lowest paying wage is around $48,020 and the highest is $138,120. Now you’re probably wondering where those highest paying salaries are. But before we look at where in the US architects make the most, let’s see what an architect makes in each region of the US.


Most states along the east coast have a salary range between $80,750-$86,410. The Midwest ranges between $75,410-$80,310. States in the west have the lowest range of $50,000-$75,100. Larger states such as California, Texas, and New York have the highest paying salaries between $87,790-$109,520.

Highest Paying Architect Salaries

So the real question- which state has the highest architect salary? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest paying states for architecture are New York ($109,520), Massachusetts ($103,920), District of Columbia ($100,770), Texas ($99,580), and Arizona ($95,220). The average hourly wage ranges from $45.78-$52.66.

Salaries can vary within each state, so if you want to get even more specific, the highest paying metropolitan areas are:

Salinas, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Vallejo-Fairfield, Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, Santa Cruz- Watsonville
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland
New York
New York-Newark-Jersey City, Ithaca
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH

architect salary money pile

Likewise, the highest paying non-metropolitan areas are as follows:

Southwest Colorado
Western Wyoming
Northern West Virginia
Northwest Colorado
Northwest Minnesota

You can find more information on architecture salary and employment here: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes171011.htm#st.

The short answer: New York has the highest paying architect salary, but as you’re probably aware the cost of living is also higher.

The reality: there are a lot of factors that go into calculating the highest wage. Even though New York has the highest average, there may be a city in another state that you could be making nearly the same amount in. It’s important to remember that a higher salary may also mean an increase in other areas like the cost of living or income taxes. Even within the state, salaries can vary based on the city and type of work you’re doing. So if you’re hoping for a pay raise you may want to think twice before booking that one-way ticket across the country!

If you’re on the track to becoming an architect, be sure to check out our study resources to help you ace the ARE! Whether you’ve been in the field for a while or you just graduated college, we hope you found this article helpful! Do you have any other questions about being an architect? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Hacking!


  1. allstarcarpetandtiles June 24, 2019 at 10:31 am #

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

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

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

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

    Really helpful website

  8. 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.

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

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

  10. 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

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

    Hi , very good article.

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

    Good advice. Best of luck to all!

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

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

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

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

    Nice one… very helpful! Thanks!!!

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

    Nice post

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

    Great post!

  18. 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.

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

    What is the best reference for cost estimating for PDD.

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

    Thanks! Great advice

  21. 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.

  22. 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?

  23. 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

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

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

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


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


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

    Will you have SS questions on here at some point?

  27. 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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