I have used the archinect salary database, but I have further questions.


It gives a pretty big range for what a recently licensed architect with two years  of experience can expect to make in New York.  Is $70k a reasonable salary to ask for a medium sized firm doing primarily aviation?  And roughly what % of a raise is reasonable to ask for upon becoming licensed?  This is all from someone who interned for a few years and has only been full time for two years.

Dec 1, 22 6:40 pm

Many similar offices pay differently. My first interview out of grad school the owner of the firm laughed at my proposed salary. I got that salary at the next firm, and it was a better fit in the end. That initial salary was how I was able to push my salary up again and again over the years. 

Go get your worth. And press for what you want to be paid. 

Dec 1, 22 8:02 pm  · 
4  · 

Thank you!  I actually had a similar experience right out of school.  Got two different offers from comparable firms in the same city with a $15,000 salary difference.  Guess which one I went with lol.

Dec 1, 22 8:12 pm  · 
1  · 
atelier nobody

New York City, or somewhere else in the State? $70K in NYC is a poverty wage.

Dec 1, 22 10:49 pm  · 
 ·  1

Being in the NYC region. I can tell you 2 years exp 70K is not low. Many are in the 60K. However, salary varies from firm to firm. It is all about the negotiation. Also, beware of work hours. Some firms pay higher, but expect 60 Hrs per week.

Dec 2, 22 11:04 am  · 
3  · 

$60 - $70 K in NYC is still a poverty wage.

Dec 2, 22 12:49 pm  · 
3  ·  1

$60k - $70k is mediocre but the question is, is that the base salary or is it the amount of the total compensation package including benefits and all. If it is the latter, it really sucks for NYC and mediocre in most other places in the U.S. If it is the base salary, then I would say to look at what the rest of the compensation package offers... because if it has a decent housing benefits IN ADDITION to the base salary as well as other benefits and health insurance benefits and all then it isn't necessarily bad. If there is like $36,000 or more housing benefits and about $30,000 worth of other benefits, and you have a $60,000 a year base salary, then the compensation package might not be so bad. If I was in NYC, I would be looking at housing and benefits in these figures or better and my base salary would be independently calculated from benefits like the housing. The housing benefits parts would reflect on reasonable cost of rent in the area and the base salary is for addressing the rest of the cost of living. In my case, that base salary may be as low as the NYC minimum wage amount would be or a little above it but the housing would have to be sizable enough to cover that kind of expense because it is significantly higher than what is typical in the U.S. My base salary pay could be better than that but I would expect a decent housing benefit in order to cover such expenses. Any less would be stupid. I don't think any respectful employer would expect any prospective employee to not demand a decent sufficient housing compensation coverage in addition to the base salary amount and other basic benefits. Total compensation packages would $36000 minimum base salary + $36,000 to $72,000 housing plus $30,000 worth in other benefits. That would be $100K to $150k compensation package at minimum. 

Dec 3, 22 6:46 pm  · 
2  ·  1

I recognize that parts of said compensation package would not be paid out to me but base salary and housing benefits would be unless firm wishes to directly pay out housing to the landlord but it is something I would be expecting being compensated sufficiently to cover such expense that $30k to $45k wage/salary is in no way ever going to cover considering all other expenses of living.

Dec 3, 22 6:56 pm  · 
1  · 

The other $30k or so give or take of benefits would be stuff not paid out to me. Bonuses are extras that can be part of the employment agreement but if I was living in NYC to work there, I'd be expecting a overall compensation package (not including bonuses) to be in the six digits - $100K and up. Anything less would be insulting and unreasonable for the local context of costs of New York City.

Dec 3, 22 7:01 pm  · 
1  · 

$70k would be the base salary; on top of this there is very good health and dental insurance and a 401k. I'm not sure what you mean by "housing benefits." You're saying in some cases the employer would pay them directly to the employer? I have never heard of this.

Dec 4, 22 8:02 pm  · 

$60-$70k for living and working in NYC is a poverty wage even with benefits.

Dec 5, 22 10:07 am  · 
1  · 

With all due respect to Rick none of what he's saying has any basis in reality. He just writes down whatever he can think of.

Dec 5, 22 11:15 am  · 
1  · 

Technically that's what everyone does. ;)

Mostly our realities coincide with each others.  Mostly.  

Dec 5, 22 1:19 pm  · 
2  · 

Sounds low to me honestly

Dec 1, 22 11:32 pm  · 
 ·  1

The second question about what percentage is reasonable to ask for after getting licensed depends entirely on where you work. Some folks will scoff at the idea that you'd get a raise, others would say it's important to receive one.

I tend to fall into the second camp, so I would at least try to ask for one. I was pretty transparent with my boss as I was going through the licensing process that one of my two main reasons for getting licensed was more money, so they expected me to ask when my licensure finally got approved. I ended up getting a 20% bump (I started out of college at 52 & got bumped up to 65 at the time). I'm not in a big city, so my numbers are obviously different than living & paying state / city taxes in NY.

Edit: On a side note, the older & more involved I get in the management side the more I realize that the 13k bump I received back then was simultaneously a big deal to me at the time & barely a blip on the radar for the offices finances. So ask for the dollar amount you want, don't worry about the percentages.

Dec 2, 22 10:18 am  · 

Thank you so much for your insight. a 20% bump would more or less put me where I need to be to get out of this town, lol. How does one start that dialogue? My year end review is coming up, and my boss will definitely ask about my progress; I'd like to very very politely imply that I expect a raise after I finish, and that if it's not a competitive offer I will start looking elsewhere, especially now that I will be much more marketable. Some people don't get any raise after getting licensed? Why on earth would someone invest all the time and money into doing it then? For the ego boost of having some letters after their name?

Dec 2, 22 7:27 pm  · 

There's so many details left out here, I don't think it's fair to say that it's easy for all firms to hand out 10 or 20% raises. How large is the firm? Is your salary in line with your peers / other firms? Are there any other benefits, like more vacation days or a matching savings plan? Do you enjoy the work? Etc etc etc. Of course, you need to advocate for yourself and be direct about your expectations

Dec 2, 22 10:22 pm  · 

Hmmm. Well my firm is 120 people, and we've been hiring like crazy. My salary is right at the average point for my experience level in this area. We offer a pretty standard vacation day package and very good health insurance. I feel like the money is in the budget, but because there are so many other perks to this job and people are very happy here, it wouldn't be an unfair argument if they were like "we may not be giving you a raise, but keep in mind all these other benefits."

Dec 3, 22 2:52 pm  · 

Bowling is right in saying that there are a number of variables, that was just my experience at a 17ish person firm. At the time 65k was what the AIA Salary Calculator determined was the median for Architect I. As I mentioned before I had been open about the fact that more money was one of the three main reasons I had for getting licensed. But when the time actually came to ask for the raise, I used that AIA number as reference for why I was asking for 65 specifically.

As for your question about why people do it, even if I didn't get a raise at the time it would have still been a prerequisite to having my own firm down the line (reason 2) & being able to call myself an architect instead of a _____ designer (reason 3). If your role doesn't change after you get licensed, they may not want to pay you more. Licensure isn't typically a firm prerequisite for working for someone else, there are a ton of unlicensed folks working in architecture firms.

Dec 5, 22 1:12 pm  · 

My edit earlier about the figure being significant for me & insignificant to the office mostly just stems from running projects & knowing that we run at about 40% profitability, so the amount they pay me as a base salary before bonuses vs the amount they bill for the projects I manage is comical. Thus I don't feel bad having asked for money back then.

Dec 5, 22 1:29 pm  · 

In my experience a 10% raise is standard once you're licensed.  

Dec 2, 22 12:54 pm  · 
4  · 

Honestly, the salary increase is the only reason I'm doing it, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  My situation is that I make a little over $50k at my firm in upstate New York.  I want a transfer to their office in Queens; I would need a significant raise to afford it, at least without 5 roommates and a diet of ramen noodles.  I am hoping that between the raise I would get for getting licensed and and a raise for the COL increase I could get to around $70k.  If they won't match that, or if they simply do not want to transfer me, I am hoping to get that offer from somewhere else; hopefully a firm where they don't work you to the bone, as I really like everything about where I work except that it's upstate.  I understand the challenges of living in New York, but surely not every young architect is living in poverty.

Dec 2, 22 7:24 pm  · 

Plenty of recent graduates in NYC are on $70k or less and not "in poverty." It's all relative to what lifestyle you want. My first NYC gig a few years ago was on $70k+10k bonus and I only had one roommate and we lived in manhattan. More money would have been nice but ultimately it was the lifestyle I wanted at the time. Things get better as you earn more.  

Dec 5, 22 2:56 pm  · 

Did you own a car?  Have health insurance?  Have savings?  Contribute to your retirement?  

Were you able to visit family / friends out of state?  

I agree it's all about the lifestyle you have.  When I first started out my salary was $28K a year.  This was 18 years ago but I was able to have all of the above and didn't have a roomate.  

Dec 6, 22 12:10 pm  · 
1  · 

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: