Is an architect a rich job

Architect: everything about jobs, salary, training

Architect: everything about jobs, salary, training


Architects are generalists. Their job has artistic, mathematical and economic elements. Information about tasks, training, salary, career, future prospects and where there are jobs for architects.






From Peter Ilg

What does an architect do?

The task of architects is the creative, technical, functional and economic planning of buildings. In addition, there are ecological and social aspects, such as advising and supporting the client in questions related to the planning and execution of a building project, as well as coordinating the planning and execution.

According to the Federal Chamber of Architects, Berlin, an architect is not just a designer or even an artist, but much more.

Is an architect

- Trustee of the client,
- Main person responsible for construction,
- Coordinator in the process of integrative planning, i.e. he coordinates all specialist disciplines involved in construction, such as statics, building technology and building physics,
- He is the designer of the built environment
- he controls the quality of the construction,
- and he pays attention to freedom from damage, economic efficiency, cost security, deadline security.





To the architect application package with sample résumé, cover letter and further information

Architects fulfill all of these tasks for private customers who fulfill their dream of owning their own four walls or for companies that need a new office or production building as well as for public clients, for example a new town hall.

New buildings are one part of an architect's business. Conversions, renovations, preservation of monuments, project control or facility management, i.e. the care of a building during its entire use, preparation of damage and valuation reports are other tasks. Architects often work together with specialist colleagues such as interior designers, garden and landscape architects or urban planners.

What qualifications does an architect need?

The work of an architect is varied. Creativity is necessary for the design and drafting of a plan, thorough mathematical knowledge is essential for static calculations. And so that the construction project remains within the customer's financial framework, a construction project must not only be beautiful, but also planned and carried out economically. In addition, architects act as trustees for the client, which means that they are solely committed to the client's interests regardless of their own commercial interests.

Training as an architect

The training to become an architect takes place at universities as part of an architecture course, which consists of a bachelor's and master's degree. The bachelor's degree qualifies in all areas of construction and planning, but does not lead to the profession of architect. The necessary professional qualification as an entry requirement for the protected professional title of architect is only achieved with the subsequent master’s degree, which continues the first phase of study (Bachelor). In the master’s program, most universities offer specializations that enable students to deepen their knowledge according to their personal interests.

The successful master’s degree is the first step on the way to becoming an architect. But only someone who is entered on the list of architects in a federal state may call themselves an architect. The prerequisite for this is an internship after graduation. Depending on the federal state, it takes between two and three years.

Architect: a job for career changers?

The most important discipline within the professional group is, by a large margin, the architects themselves (86.5 percent). 5.7 percent work as landscape architects, 4.4 percent work as interior designers and 3.4 percent as urban planners. These are separate courses. In some cases, civil engineers take on the same tasks as architects. But in fact there is no alternative to the architect, because the professional title of architect is protected and may only be used after the above criteria have been met.

Labor market for architects

Around 124,600 architects are currently registered in the chamber lists of the federal states. Around half of the architects are freelancers, the others work in architecture and engineering offices, in construction groups, companies in industry, cities and municipalities.

The job market for architects is very tight. For years there has been a great rush at universities. But there are few good positions for the graduates. According to the prognosis of the Federal Chamber of Architects, an easing of the situation is not to be expected by the end of this decade. Although the number of architects registered as unemployed has fallen significantly in recent years, there is a considerable number of unregistered architects and those in so-called precarious employment relationships, for example part-time, fixed-term or agency work. Around 350,000 people of working age have degrees in architecture, but more than half are not in architecture. For the Federal Chamber of Architects, this is a sign of the large oversupply of architects on the job market.

What architects deserve

For employees in architecture / engineering and planning offices there is basically no tariff obligation. But there are non-binding salary tariff recommendations for employees and technical staff in architecture and planning offices from the chambers of architects in the federal states. The Baden-Württemberg Chamber of Architects, for example, considers 2577 euros gross per month to be an appropriate starting salary.

Architects are at the bottom of the income bracket for young professionals with a university degree. This is the result of a study by the consulting firm Personalmarkt from November 2010, for which 18,000 university graduates were surveyed. According to this, the average starting salary for architects is 29,300 euros per year.

Like doctors and lawyers, independent architects bill their work according to a statutory fee schedule.

Career opportunities for architects

The first career steps as an employed architect consist of project management and coordination within an architecture office. Then the promotion to office manager could take place, possibly with a specific focus on competitions or the implementation phase. The step into self-employment can take place with the establishment of your own office or as a partner in an existing office.

More information at:

Federal Chamber of Architects
Association of German Architects

(Image: Viktors Neimanis)