Architect Salary in Chicago



I have a job interview lined up with a medium sized firm in Chicago. I just graduated with an M.Arch degree and have one year of previous work experience. 

Does anybody have an idea of how much salary I can ask/expect at this point?

Thanks in advance!

Jun 23, 13 7:03 pm

I would say 48k sounds like a starting point. 

Jun 23, 13 7:14 pm
le bossman

I work for a somewhat prominent residential architect in Chicago, I have about 7 or 8 years of experience depending on where you draw the line; I make 47k with no benefits.  

Jun 23, 13 8:04 pm

35k-42k, Chicago can be rough.

Jun 23, 13 9:16 pm

ansat did you get the job?

Aug 10, 13 1:41 pm
Yikes! I've been thinking about moving to Chi-town. How the heck do you live there on 45K a year?
Aug 10, 13 9:54 pm

Benjamin, Chicago is different from New York and San Francisco because geography and zoning have not overly constrained the housing market.

You can find a huge range in rent and property values within the city and close to transit.  Many neighborhoods like the one I lived in Avondale are safe clean and well-connected transit wise, they just don't have as many trendy bars or Starbucks. A 2 bedroom with off street parking vintage apartment, wood floors over 15 windows and a landscaped back yard can run from 800-1000 a month in that neighborhood go three El stops toward the loop same housing stock and you pay 2,500-4,000 a month.

I did it in 2008 on 43,000 a year cost of living varies based on 1 if you have a car, 2 where you live, and 3 if you have kids. In the city most people who can afford to send their kids to private school. Middle class homes are abundant in the city but having kids in the best schools is expensive since many neighborhood schools are not doing well and are starved for resources the neighborhoods that have good schools have the most expensive homes and the price difference for a similar house exactly the same just on the other side of the street and in a less desirable K-4 school can be 20-30k or more.
I often hear that it is unwise to spend more than 1/3 of your income on rent. Use a tax calculator and see where this leaves you once rent student loans and other expenses are paid for. Think about transit, eating out and other fun things you are potentially going to live in a world class city can you afford to truly enjoy it?

Hope the interview goes well, also Join the Chicago young Architect's Forum, a good social network they do lots of fun and interesting things to help keep the creative juices flowing.

Over and OUT

Peter N

Aug 11, 13 12:18 pm


Thanks for the thorough response! Glad to hear it is at least doable. It's interesting that the rent is so variable. I guess if I end up there I'll have to find me a sugar mamma to make it work!

Thanks for the advice - I'll check out the forum.

Aug 13, 13 8:31 am

Benjamin, where would you be moving from?

Aug 13, 13 10:40 pm

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