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Architecture vs Construction Management Salary

shji

Hi. It is well know that general contractors usually offer higher salaries than do most architecture firms. But just how much difference is there? If anyone has experience working as a construction project manager or assistant manager, or switched from arch to CM, can you please help me grasping the typical role (in comparison to, say an intermediate designer or drafter)? Thank you.

 
Jan 29, 18 3:52 pm

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All 12 Comments

wurdan freo

its been a liitle over 10 years (yikes) so take it for what it's worth... i went from entry level draftsman with about 2 years experience and masters degree to entry level CM. Large regional/ national firms for both. 36k to 48k and cost of living increase 'cause I moved to California to 63k...  never looked back. 

Jan 29, 18 5:14 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

Unless you become an owner, you'll always make as a project manager in construction, than in architecture, though the difference may be overstated. Certainly you'll start out higher in construction, and so over the years that lead accumulates to a lot of money.

Jan 29, 18 9:19 pm  · 
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Beepbeep

I make 73K as an architect w/ 6 years exp. my wife makes 143k as a CM... with 6 years exp. answer completed.

Jan 29, 18 10:29 pm  · 
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shji

That does complete the answer.

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ArchNyen

case close

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tintt

Just curious, what is your wife's degree?

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Beepbeep

4 year in Architecture and a Masters in CM and Real Estate

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athensarch

Damn. In what role? Estimator? PM? Executive?

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shji

Another thing I am curious is that what are some of the major differences in day to day tasks? In arch firms, designers usually draft drawings most of the day and have minimal interaction with client or contractors unless you are a PM, at least in my experience. In case of CM, is majority of work contacting and coordinating with your team, sub contractors and clients? Does that get stressful? Also do you have to be a people person in order to be successful in CM?

Jan 29, 18 10:55 pm  · 
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Featured Comment
joseffischer

A major piece of the puzzle that shouldn't be ignored, CMs, PMs, and even superintendent salaries are exponentially scaled to the complexity of the projects.  PMs with 20 years of experience doing small school remodels or HUD housing 2-story garden style flips, or other such mundane tasks still make more than their architectural compatriots, but more on the range of a 5-20% increase in my experience.

4-5 story multi-family or the ever-popular mixed-use (which just means we put a starbucks or similar on the ground floor, and/or built a concrete podium for our stick-built construction to sit on) small govt jobs, etc is another tier.

The real $$ construction job increase comes from experience in healthcare, skyscrapers, anything govt that involves crazy levels of paperwork, etc. 

For me, this begs the question on the architecture side, why haven't we realized proper hierarchy for job types and adjusted fees such that those with experience in more complex buildings spend most their time on those and are compensated accordingly.  We do typically try to do this, but the senior PMs in my office shouldn't really ever touch a parking lot/deck, or even any of the simple multi-family stuff.  In construction, younger employees are typically given way more latitude and responsibility, and their pay reflects this.

Jan 30, 18 9:28 am  · 
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jeffl

Maybe because architects are prone to lawsuits... Or maybe because many are self loving, narcissistic, and too good to adopt to new ideas or talk about money.

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fabisco

With a CM in NYC, 55k starting salary after graduating with M-Arch, 2.5 years later im at 100k.

Feb 22, 18 11:33 pm  · 
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athensarch

Did you have work experience prior to your M.Arch? Do you mind me asking what your role is
and what market sector?

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Godly

How were you considered for CM with an M.Arch??

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archi_dude

A good friend from the same graduating class went CM. He makes 125k with 6 years experience. I’m at 70k and a quote from him “am the best paid one he’s heard of from our class.” The things that stop me though are, 1) I enjoy creating, even if it’s just waterproofing a weird detail 2) I hate driving and despise overtime. You will be doing both endlessly as a CM to visit multiple job sites around your city and county and will quote my friend again “start when the trades start (6am) and finally be able to get work done after they leave.” So an early night is like 7pm. So a 13 hr day every day means technically he makes $33.90/hr. I work 40 hrs at 70k annually means I make $33.65 / hr. So technically I only make  $0.30 / hr less, I’m good!

Feb 23, 18 12:06 am  · 
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fabisco

the tough hours as a CM come and go. As a PM, which i think would be a better fit for an architect rather than being a Super, you dont start as early, though still pretty early. Right now i get to the site at 8am and on my previous project I'd be there anywhere from 7-8am depending on the construction cycle and weekly events. When there is a lot to do, especially as a PM, you may be leaving around 7-8pm, however when it is slow, sometimes its more like 5pm on the dot. Last summer however we were really busy and though my daily hours weren't so bad (8-6) I often worked Saturdays, which is often required at busy construction periods. all that to say, your schedule will not be ideal.

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athensarch

I think it depends on the CM. The last 3 yrs I’ve never worked a job where the PM works less than 60+hrs/wk. On my current project ($90m renovation) he’s in by 6:30 and rarely leaves before 6:30.

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Cheikh1

Hi! I am a second year architecture student aspiring to become a CM. I also am minoring in construction science. After earning my B.arch, I want to do a masters in Construction science. What do you guys rêvons for me? I need help! Please and thank you

Jun 4, 19 1:16 am  · 
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athensarch

I made $49k as a designer w/ 4-5yrs exp in a high COL area. I made $80k to start for a CM in the same city. 


Granted, I worked 40hrs/wk without OT in arch and work 10-20hrs unpaid OT/wk for the CM. Most of my classmates are licensed (7-8yrs exp) and make between $75k-110k.


It’s not as big a gap as I first thought once you factor in unpaid OT. The OPMs and developers make more than the CMs/GCs.

Jun 4, 19 8:50 am  · 
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atelier nobody

When I moved from an architecture job to CM, I asked for about 35k more than what I was making, and they didn't bat an eye, but it turned out to be one of the worst jobs I've ever had - it was basically one long anxiety attack that lasted a year and a half.

Jun 4, 19 1:40 pm  · 
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Godly

What was it like, what happened?

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Kaka-archi

I'm about to join university and I'm not certain whether to do construction management degree or whether to do architecture....


Someone please advice me on what to do...

Apr 9, 20 5:12 am  · 
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Rodri13

Which one of the two occupations have better positions for advancement, an Architect or a Construction Manager, for example can both occupations begin their own business? Also who has better annual pay, I keep looking online but some sites say Construction Managers while others say Architect's?

Apr 9, 20 3:11 pm  · 
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