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Architecture Salary: How much do architects earn?

Architecture Salary: How Much do Architects Earn?

If you plan to be an architect or are an architecture student wondering about how much is an architecture salary, that would depend on a variety of factors. Different earnings are depending on what type of architect you are, what services you offer, what skills and talents you have, where you work, what position you’re in, and so on. 

To grasp an idea of how much you could be earning, this blog will discuss the possible career paths, standards, and research-based numbers per country you may encounter. 

Table of Contents

Architecture Careers

There’s a lot of careers to choose from if you have a BS Architecture degree and Archdaily and Top Universities explains some of them fairly. It’s common to think that it would only involve careers in construction but architecture is design and design can be applied in areas other than the construction industry. 

Construction Careers

For architecture careers in construction, you can choose to become a building architect, a landscape architect, an urban planner, a lighting architect, an interior designer, a furniture designer, and an architectural technologist. 

Each has its specialty and scope of work and so those two will also factor in how much you would earn. 

Architecture Salary in Construction

Below is a summary of the average monthly salary of architects in the construction industry in the Philippines according to Indeed

CareerMonthly AverageApprox. Equivalence in Dollars (Not equivalent to how architects earn in the U.S.)
Building Architect₱28,521$558
Landscape Architect₱31,221$611
Urban Planner₱35,042$686
Lighting Architect*₱46,157$903
Interior Designer*₱25,904$507
Architectural Technologist₱31,118$609

*Salary for lighting architect is based on Salary Expert 

*Interior designers are different from architects in terms of profession but architects can practice architectural interiors or add interior fit-outs as services they offer. 

Other Careers for Architects

An architect’s salary doesn’t have to be limited in the construction industry. You can be an architect and still pursue other careers such as being an artist, a graphic designer, a photographer, and even a production designer. 

Architecture Salary Pursuing Other Fields

Below is the average monthly salary of mentioned professions from Indeed. 

CareerMonthly AverageApprox. Equivalence in Dollars (Not equivalent to how architects earn in the U.S.)
Artist₱24,040$471
Graphic Designer₱24,303$476
Photographer₱17,185$336
Production Designer₱30,485$597

How much is an architect’s fee?

Generally, an architect’s fee depends on the talents, skills, experience, and services offered. When it comes to pre-design services,  the standards of professional practice in the Philippines mention 5 methods of compensation. These are multiple of direct personnel expenses, professional fee plus expenses, lump sum or fixed fee, per diem honorarium plus reimbursable expenses, and mixed methods of compensation. 

The monthly average income mentioned in the previous table does not dictate how much you could potentially earn if you are your own boss or if you have your architecture firm. The following are the means of computation a design firm could use to earn the company’s architecture salary. 

Multiple of Direct Personnel Expenses

This compensation is given for non-creative work such as research, data gathering, secretarial, accounting, preparation of reports, and the like. This uses a multiplier that ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 which would depend on the experience of the architect, the complexity of the project, the overhead, and the office set-up. 

The formula to compute the direct cost is:

Direct cost = AN + CN + TN

Where:

AN = Architect’s rate per hour x Number of hours spent

CN = Consultant’s rate per hour x Number of hours spent

TN = Technical staff and other personnel’s rate per hour x Number of hours spent

Fee = Direct cost x M

Where:

M = Multiplier which normally ranges from 1.5-2.5

Total Cost of Service Charged to Client = Fee + R

Where:

R = Reimbursable expenses

Professional Fee plus Expenses

This method of compensation uses a fixed sum over and above the reimbursement to consider the overhead and technical time. This is normally used if there’s a series of projects between the architect and the client. The scope of work needs to be agreed upon to be able to set an equitable fee. 

Lump Sum or Fixed Fee

This is the method normally used with government projects because of the paperwork that needs to be done and because of the amount of effort that needs to be put in.

Per Diem Honorarium Plus Reimbursable Expenses

As much as we try to achieve a balanced life, sometimes, the work of an architect requires his or her personal time and this is the method of compensation to be used when that happens. This could include attending meetings, trips, conferences, project site visits, and other ventures.

The architect shall be paid on a per diem and honorarium basis with out-of-pocket expenses such as accommodation and travel.

Mixed Methods of Compensation

Just as the title suggests, some projects use multiple methods of compensation depending on which is most suitable.

Architect’s Salary Based on Position or Experience

Not all architects earn about the same. The amount of experience you have as an architect affects how much your architecture salary could be, and this means time.

As much as I’d like to rant about how time does not directly equate to the amount of actual helpful experience you have, the reality is it is the gauge firms would most likely use to determine your experience and thus, your salary.

Fresh Graduate

Architecture graduates who just finished architecture school unsurprisingly would earn the lowest on the bracket. Sometimes, they’re even paid below minimum wage (and you shouldn’t settle for that, ever!)

The rating for your salary would vary on your location whether you’d be working in the province or the city. Each city would also have a different average salary so you might want to look for cities that pay the highest average.

Junior Architect

Junior Architect will most likely be your position after graduating from architecture school. Your salary will most likely (and should) increase after a year or two. Some firms or companies give a raise after 6 months. From possibly earning minimum wage, the increase would depend on each firm’s appraisal. If you choose to switch firms, you could get higher pay since you have the opportunity to negotiate and look around.

Licensed Architect

Now, some people feel like studying architecture takes 7 years because, after 5 years of architecture school, you need your 2 years of apprenticeship before you can take the board exam or the Architecture Licensure Examination (ALE). When you officially become a licensed architect, that’s when most likely you’ll get paid a decent amount where you’ll finally be able to save up.

When you’re a licensed architect, you can choose to work in a firm or start your own. When you choose to start your own, that’s when the discussion of the architect’s fee in the previous section could be useful.

Highest Architecture Salary Based on Location

As mentioned earlier, your architecture salary would depend on where you work. Location is something you’d want to consider but if you’re particular about the income, it plays a role with that as well.

Per City in the Philippines

According to Indeed, below are the highest paying cities for architects in the country.

CityAverage Monthly SalaryAverage Monthly Salary in USD (Not equivalent to how architects earn in the U.S.)
PasigPhp 30,002$ 587
ManilaPhp 26,753$ 523
PasayPhp 26,636$ 521
MandaluyongPhp 26,079$ 510
MakatiPhp 24,817$ 486

Per Country

Naibuzz discusses 10 of the highest architecture salary in the world and you can read more about it on their website. The table below summarizes the numbers with the top 5, starting from the highest paying.

CountryAverage Monthly Salary
United Arab Emirates$120,000
Hong Kong$94,000
United States$80,490
Switzerland$78,000
Singapore$70,000

Are Architects Paid Well in the Philippines?

Being an architect in the Philippines is not an easy choice for a career. It’s hard work but frankly, hard work does not always give equivalent pay. If you want to pursue an architecture degree, there are a lot of reasons for it and a lot of reasons not to.  Getting an idea of how much the pay could be might help you gauge the practicality of pursuing the profession. 

The comparison between the data of average pay in the Philippines is massively far from the top-paying countries. It could be because of the system, it could be because of the lack of appreciation for the field, or it could be a different reason. I’d say one way I’d determine the worth of the pay is to determine whether the hard work, talents, and skills are given a truly equivalent monetary value.

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