There are a lot of factors to contemplate when deciding if you want to be an architect and if so, where you want to work. What industry you end up in and where you make your home (both city and state) will affect everything from how much money to make to how many jobs will be available to you. Note that these statistics are for all people in the profession other than landscape and naval architects.
If you become an architect, you can expect an average salary of around $78,690 a year, or an hourly salary of $37.83. Those in the lowest 10% of earners only make $44,600 annually (or $21.44 an hour), while the top 10% of earners make $118,230 a year (a whopping $56.84 an hour). However, how much you could potentially earn depends on a variety of factors, including by what industry you end up employed. You’ll have the highest average income (around $119,610 a year) if you work for a computer systems design service. Other high-paying industries for architects are the postal service, lessors of real estate, specialized design services, and foundation/structure/building exterior contractors. Unfortunately, none of these industries employ very many architects. If you follow a career path for this occupation, you are most likely to work for an architectural or engineering service (which makes sense). Other popular industries among architects are the federal executive branch, residential building construction, state governments, and nonresidential building construction. There is also a chance that you could end up working in land subdivision.
Another factor that could determine your potential wage is where you live. Your city or state also determines how many jobs will be available to you and how likely you are to run into other people who are also architects. The states that employ the most architects are California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Illinois (all states with high populations). The cities that employ the mot architects follow the same pattern (high-population urban areas): New York, Los Angeles, D.C., Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, and Atlanta. However, there will be a higher overall concentration of people in this occupation if you live somewhere with a high location quotient (a term that refers to the number of people employed in a particular profession out of every 1,000 jobs). States with a high location quotient of architects are Washington, D.C. (which is not really a state), Washington, Colorado, Massachusetts, and New York. The cities that make this list are Boulder, Colorado; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; Boston, Massachusetts; Lawrence, Kansas; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Columbia, Missouri; New York, New York; Ithaca, New York; and Billings, Montana. However, you might also want to consider which states are likely to pay you the most, although you have to weigh this against the average cost of living in this area. The highest-paying states are D.C. ($94,710), California, Connecticut, Alaska, and New Jersey. High-paying cities include Beaumont, Texas; Santa Cruz, California; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Montgomery, Alabama; Lincoln, Nebraska; San Francisco, California; Oakland, California; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.