Architects are professionals who plan, design, and review the construction of buildings. The plans include both the interior and exterior details of the building construction which include air conditioning, electrical systems, plumbing, and communication systems. They usually provide preliminary estimates for the cost and timing of the construction project. They also prepare the drawings and draft up documents using the computer software (especially, in this modern time) or sometimes, they make use of their hands. Additionally, they visit the worksites to check if the construction is going according to the architectural plans.
The salaries paid to architects vary in terms of various factors like location, job rank, years of experience as well as tax, insurance and legal costs. Sometimes, due to the level of unemployment in one’s country, there could be need for the person to seek employment and professional development in another country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the highest level of employment for architects by industries and their annual wage include:
- Architectural, engineering and related services – $88 970
- Residential building construction – $85 820
- Specialized design services – $84 260
- Federal executive branch – $98 110
- Non-residential building construction – 97 760.
Education and Employment for Architects
The bachelor’s degree in architecture typically takes about five years to complete. Internship is required for most architects before they enter the workforce. It is also required of architects to pass the Architecture Registration Exam in order to get licensed. Upon graduation and obtaining a bachelor’s degree, it is advisable for them to further their education by obtaining a master’s degree. Obtaining a master’s degree could take between one to five years, depending on the institution, experience and training of the student.
Employment for architects is majorly dependent on the construction and building industry. Interestingly, the industry subsides and flows with economic growth. This means that if the economy is slow, the architects might find it difficult to secure a good job and if the economy is booming, it is good news for them. This is one of the reasons professionals in the industry are advised to go for countries with stable economy and high salary growth. With that, they are sure of career development as well.
Below are some of the top countries with the highest paid salaries to architects:
- The United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The UAE countries like Dubai, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi are experiencing rapid growth in the construction and property industry, leading to high demands for architects. With Qatar hosting the already controversial Soccer World Cup of 2022, the country would be experiencing huge development. Over 10 stadiums are expected to be erected for this purpose. World-class infrastructures will be erected with growing demand in all kinds of projects. Architectures in UAE are not just going to be smiling to the bank, they are sure of a conducive economy fr career advancement.
One more thing! Like other countries where English language is largely spoken, you will be required to master a good knowledge of English in order to get good employment opportunities.
An entry level salary starts with $4 300 per month, while senior level professionals earn around $7 687 per month.
The overall average salary per annum in UAE is $98 000.
Salary for architects in China is slightly lower than that of the UAE. The average yearly salary for graduates in China is $94 000.
To legally work in China as an architect, you must apply for a work visa, called a Z visa through the employment license route. It is important for you to have a bachelor’s degree in architecture and at least two years of postgraduate work experience as well as no criminal record. Your employer may not hire you directly, but you must go to the Bureau of Human Resources and Social Security to apply. As soon as you arrive in China, there is a need for you to convert your Employment License into Work Permit.
Armed with Work Permit, you can easily change jobs. If you are into a freelancing job, you should understand that there is no visa for you. It is not recommendable, however, there are some freelance architectures working half-legally for some firms at a reasonable pay in exchange for help to get a visa.
There are three types of architectural firms in China and they include large state-owned design institutes, small or medium-sized private design institutes, and foreign design firms. China is an active promoter of a green environment. Foreign architects with knowledge of green designs have better opportunities to thrive in the country. Hong Kong and Shanghai are the best cities for entry-level architects to start practicing. That does not mean that you may not be successful in cities like Wuhan, Chengdu, or Changsha.
- The United States of America
The highest paying states in the USA for architects include California, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Sacramento, Atlanta and Alaska. Currently, over 110 000 architects are employed in the USA. The annual salary of an architect in the country is $80 490.
You cannot practice architecture in the US without acquiring a license to practice. Each of the 50 states in the country has an architectural registration board that regulates the profession within its jurisdiction. The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) is a non-profit organization that legally constituted all the architectural registration boards in the country. To qualify for a work visa in the USA, you may not need to be licensed. However, you must have sponsorship from a licensed US employer, except you are seeking to manage your own architectural firm.
There is a high demand for architects with knowledge of green design. This is because of the increased rate of energy costs and concerns about the environment, which has brought about the erection of many buildings that are environmentally friendly.
Switzerland is known for paying high wages to its employees. The average salary for an architect in the country is $78 000 per annum. Architecture in Switzerland showcases a range of innovative projects with diverse materials and unconventional forms employed in their construction. It is very easy to see all major styles of building in Switzerland, ranging from Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Modern, and Post-modern architecture.
In Singapore, the average yearly salary for an architect is $70 000. Contemporary architecture in Singapore focuses on sustainability, as many vegetative landscapes are being introduced into high buildings. The country is particular about green architecture due to its humid climate.
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An architect with licensure from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism could carry out business such as design supervision.
The average yearly income for architects in Japan is $57 000.
- The United Kingdom
One of the best places for architects to build their tent in London, in the heart of the United Kingdom. Granted that London is a very expensive place, the salary you earn should be able to give you a good life and make you live comfortably.
Architects in the United Kingdom earn $60 000 on average. However, your location and experience may contribute to whether you will earn higher or lower in the UK.
Currently, there is a shortage of skilled labor in specialized fields like construction in Canada. This has led to the country launching numerous initiatives with the intent to recruit more hands from various countries to fill up spaces for various skilled laborers.
The Canadian economy is one of the most stabilized in the world with a good standard of living. With these qualities, professionals in the field of architecture who wish to migrate to Canada are sure to enjoy career development and good quality of life. The anticipated growth in construction in Canada is believed to increase the demand for architectural skills. Fast-growing provinces like Saskatchewan and Alberta offer more opportunities for architects.
You are not permitted to practice in Canada if you are not licensed and a full member of the regulatory body in the province or territory where you intend to work. However, if you are working under a licensed employer, you do not need to obtain a license before working. The national architectural body in the country is the Royal Architectural Institutes of Canada (RAIC).
Also, to professionally operate with full force, you need to have Advanced English or French language proficiency. This is dependent on your destination though. You might need to enroll in language classes in your home country to improve your language skills.
The average salary for architects in Canada is $60 000. Those who live and work in Toronto, Calgary, and Edmonton make the most money. Over 17 000 architects are employed in Canada.
Australia has good job opportunities for architects. It is one of the developed countries which offer good salaries and high-quality life. All you need as a foreigner is to master English language; that would enable you to find your way around easily. Major overseas architectural certificates are not recognized in Australia. As a result, any qualification obtained outside the country must be subjected to evaluation against Australian qualification. The Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) considers degrees from New Zealand and Hong Kong as standard in the country. Architectural practice is regulated based on the standards of each state and you will need to pass the APE examination in order to be fully recognized as an architect in the country. Without Permanent Residency status, you may not be able to be hired by any employer in Australia.
However, there is a little problem in the area of visa application as getting a good visa that would allow you to stay for long in Australia may not be easily come across. No company would be willing to sponsor your work visa and the paperwork and fees involved in obtaining one is a turn-off for most people.
The yearly average salary of architects in Australia is $57 000.
Norway is a First World country which made it one of the countries with a good and standard quality of life. Architects are highly favored in this country because it has a very low level of unemployment, with high demand for housing. The economy is very stable and workers are paid handsomely.
Graduates of Norwegian schools of architecture bag the title Sivilarkitekt which means civil architect and this must be backed by a five-year university program or its equivalence in the country. The demand for skilled professionals in the country is high. However, this does not mean that foreigners find it so easy to land a good job once they arrive in the country. Immigration into Norway has no record of easy access to it and so, Norwegian employers may hesitate to employ foreigners. You would require fluency in the Norwegian language t be able to have vast opportunities to find a job in the country. This does not also mean that with English language proficiency, you may not get a job. Nevertheless, enrolling in Norwegian language courses may do you good in the long run.
Norway has recently named the best place for young architects to find jobs. With this, it is not out of place to say that Norway is a reference country for the development of up-and-coming architects.
The average salary for architects in Norway is $72 000.
The American Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a growth of 7% between 2014 and 2024 in a given job. Choosing architecture is a very good career path. However, choosing a career in architecture or any other field should not be just for the fact that it has better prospects or that you can earn better. You must put other factors into consideration as well.