Entry Level Salary for B.A. in Architecture?



  I'm currently living in Southern CA.  I just got a (tentative) job offer from a firm I interned at last summer.  It's a small shop, with less than a dozen employees.  I graduated from a fairly prestigious university with a B.A. in Architecture.  I'm great with Rhino/Grasshopper and the Adobe suite(which is mainly what my internship revolved around), good with AutoCAD, and familiarized with Revit.

What am I worth/what would you ask for?

Feb 6, 13 8:05 pm


Feb 6, 13 9:10 pm

50k - 60k

Feb 7, 13 1:41 pm

I'd ask for more but they may offer 27k - 35k

Feb 7, 13 2:06 pm

Xenakis, where and when are you living?

There is no shortage of qualified Interns with higher degrees than yours in SoCal.

I would expect to start around $12/ hr with lots of extra hours thrown in.

Feb 7, 13 3:52 pm

My firm (corporate, LA) offers recent grads around $20/hr.  so for smaller shops, it's not unreasonable to ask for $20, but settle around $18 or so.

Feb 7, 13 4:07 pm


San Francisco is where I work - my crib is over in Oakland

Feb 7, 13 4:17 pm

There is no shortage of qualified Interns with higher degrees than yours in SoCal.

I have an M.Arch and 4 years exp.

Actually - There is no shortage of qualified Interns with M.arch Degrees in NorCal. 

Feb 7, 13 4:32 pm

So...the range I'm getting is 15k - 60k.  That is very large...

Nicholas, that was what I made during my summer internship.  I'd like to think that if they bring me on as a full-time employee, I'd make more than that...

I think I'm going to ask for $19/hr (38k).  Is this unreasonable?

Feb 7, 13 4:51 pm

If you made that in an internship, I would ask for 15 or 18, depending on how feisty you feel.


and it is true, there is no shortage of architecture degrees anywhere. 

San Francisco I think you can expect more than L.A., though.

Feb 7, 13 5:29 pm

$20/hr 0 - 2 years exp. typical in 2010 - I don't know what is now

Feb 7, 13 5:36 pm

Well, I feel pretty fiesty.  I guess what I want to know is what is the highest amount I could ask for without offending the owner of the company.  I can be a pretty aggressive negotiator, so I don't want to spoil the relationship, but I do want to get as much as possible...

Feb 7, 13 5:39 pm

if you are an effective negotiator - then ask for $25/hr - However if you fail to deliver - then you be fired - this  I kid you not - 

Feb 7, 13 5:56 pm

It sounds like you don't have a number in mind, you could ask what the position typically pays and go from there. This is just my advice but asking for 6% more or so higher shouldn't be a problem, considering you interned there. Good luck.

Try for salary ranges, too.


Btdubs, the numbers here seem unreasonably low, is this post-recession numbers or just how it always was?

Feb 7, 13 5:59 pm

post recession ? Is the recession over?

Feb 7, 13 7:44 pm

Glassdoor and Payscale gave me a pretty solid 37k-42k range, but that's irrespective of degrees.  I guess I'll just have to throw a number out there and see if the degree hurts me...

Feb 7, 13 9:09 pm

Also lets say you do get 25/hr - your principals will expect stellar performance - if you fail - get a dimension wrong, print out a drawing set that is not to scale, forget what your PA told you... they will fire you. Best to start out lower at $20/hr and build some solid experience in light of less critical expectations that goes with higher pay - that may come later iff you prove yourself first - too many - way too many - like a former co-worker of mine came in here was getting paid more than I and failed - this person got fired. Don't kid yourself, don't be some Gung Ho Marine who jumps in and gets blown up first day in combat. Ain't worth it - then after that,  your unemployment office advises you to try another career. YOU MUST BE PREPARED to go after the job with big bucks - YOu want to make career progress not failure.

Feb 8, 13 12:03 pm

Xenakis, would you mind messaging me about your experience with SOM SF? Thanks

Feb 8, 13 1:39 pm


how do I contact you - to message you?

Feb 8, 13 1:56 pm

I would expect somewhere between 35-45k. I got 42k out of undergrad in nyc, 2008. 

Feb 8, 13 3:56 pm

I've asked myself that question many times over the last two years... and all though I've done contract work in the range of $16- 25/hr I feel like you should be a bit more careful when asking a full-time employer for more money. 

I graduated with a B.A. from UT Austin in May 2011. After doing some research I figured 38-42K would be a reasonable amount to ask from a large firm (SOM, HKS, RTKL) for an entry level position. For small firms (10 employees or less) I've seen much lower numbers, mainly around 32-38k. Since you've worked with them before and it's a smaller firm I'd say $16-19/hr would be a safe range to ask for... but then again I'm a newb so take this all with a grain of salt. 

After all that research I came across some freelance opportunities and never really attempted looking for a firm so I can't really confirm anything, but I'd say those numbers are fairly reasonable in most large cities. 

Please come back and give us an update when it's all said and done. I'll be starting my search for employment soon and I'd like to know how it goes. 

Feb 8, 13 7:52 pm

Xenakis, my email address is

Feb 8, 13 8:08 pm

I graduated with a B.Arch two years ago from a good school in the east coast.

Could not find a job in the SF bay area for a couple of months... I had a very difficult time. From what I've seen, $19 - $23 per hr.

Feb 9, 13 11:01 pm

$14-18 / Hour

Feb 21, 13 6:34 pm

lol at $7.50/hr or the low $10's ... I got paid anywhere from $18.50 to $21 as a 2nd to 3rd yr undergrad intern.  heck.. i thought minimum wage was around $11. xD


i'd shoot for low $20's range... but in this economy, some would say you should be happy you even have a job.  It does make me wonder if it might be worth bartending or just working at starbucks or mcdonalds... get paid and a heck lot less stress i think

Feb 21, 13 8:13 pm
42k in pdx
Feb 22, 13 2:02 am

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