An Architect is a skilled professional that is trained and licensed to design buildings. Becoming an architect is a career goal for many young people. This is because architecture is perceived to be a prestigious profession that pays a lot of money.
‘Starchitects’ is a term coined to describe the architects that become famous because of the expensive and awe-inspiring projects they take part in. People see them in the media and conclude that all architects must be living such a life, which is far from reality. In this article, we evaluate whether or not becoming an architect will make you rich and happy.
How much does an Architect Earn?
Architects earn a median salary of $78, 470. While this is higher than average, there are many professions, particularly in healthcare and technology, that have higher wages. Additionally, there is a huge number of architects that earn below $50,000, especially those at the beginning of their careers. Those that make a killing are usually partners or owners of successful architectural firms.
The road to architecture is not easy. One usually has to attend a 5-year degree course followed by an internship (sometimes unpaid) that lasts an average of 3 years. After the placement, you then have to sit for the Architect Registration Exam to get a practicing certificate. Even after you get the practicing certificate, you have to keep up to date with your education. The long-time period before you start seeing any financial gain may be the reason why most architects come from an affluent background, hence the perception that architects are rich.
Architecture is a hard career for those starting. There is a lot of competition to get into the best architectural firms which pay the highest salary. To get in, one may need to have connections at architectural firms or be the best of the best at University. Additionally, the field only has a 4% growth outlook compared to 20% for healthcare, so prospects are not extremely promising.
Are Architects Happy?
US News gives the profession a satisfaction rating of 5.6/10. Architects themselves gave a happiness rating of 3.1 out of 5, which is amongst the lowest in all professions. One of the reasons the score is low is that the job can be quite stressful. To succeed in architecture, one has to be resilient and strong-minded due to the prevalence of criticism and rejection of ideas and designs. On top of this, there is strong competition for work which can be extremely stressful.
Architects are very talented and work hard for a long time to qualify for their profession, so they should have a higher salary than the current scenario. However, architects are only moderately happy and moderately wealthy. We would, therefore, advise students not to go into the profession purely for financial gain.