About the AIA 2021 Compensation Survey & Calculator.

About this calculator

This salary calculator is based on the same data as in AIA's published report of the 2021 Compensation Survey; responses from the Small Firm Compensation Survey are not included. Results are shown both for the user's selection, and for all respondents (no selection). Statistics for both base pay and additional cash compensation are displayed. Results are not displayed if fewer than 5 establishments meet the selection criteria.

This calculator is intended to give a high-level view of the salaries of different architectural staff positions. It does not set definitive salaries and is not intended to be interpreted as such. The salaries found in this calculator are not adjusted for specific factors that may affect salary like exact location, firm size, firm type, and other factors. These salaries are broad averages and ranges only, and may vary substantially based on your location, years of experience, specific job duties, and/or other factors. These salaries are intended as a broad guide only. Salaries in many geographic areas will be significantly lower than the ranges noted here.

For more compensation data and insights

To obtain the full 2021 AIA Compensation Report with more insights and information, such as compensation for 26 other positions at architectural firms, details on benefits packages, and select state and metro area salaries, visit Information on salaries at small firms (fewer than 3 architectural staff employees and/or those classified as a sole proprietorship) can be found at

Sample composition

Invitations to the AIA 2021 Compensation Survey were extended to 12,831 addressable emailable architecture establishments (i.e., single locations of what might be multiple-location firms), developed from five lists supplied by AIA: its HR Large Firm Roundtable participants, its lists of "firm leaders," respondents to the 2019 Compensation Survey, a special request list, and contacts provided by certain components. Readex deduped all lists against LFRT by firm. In addition, open invitations to complete the survey were published/broadcast by certain components through a variety of means.

Data collection

Survey instrument content was developed collaboratively by the AIA and Readex Research, working from the instrument used in 2019. Development of the survey website, data collection, data processing, and tabulation were handled by Readex Research.

Prior to survey fielding, Readex contacted the list of 135 emailable AIA component leaders to alert them of the upcoming survey and to ask them to spread the word locally. After the AIA sent an alert email to the invitation list on February 11, 2021, Readex broadcast initial email requests (in the name of the AIAís president) to all sample members on February 16, inviting them to participate in the survey by visiting the access-controlled website hosted by Readex Research.

On February 22, reminder emails were sent by Readex to the sample members who had not yet submitted one or the other version of the survey. Four additional reminders to nonrespondents were deployed on February 25, March 1, March 5, and March 10. Throughout the fielding, leaders of AIAís various component organizations (local and state chapters) also assisted in prompting local members to participate.

The survey was closed for processing and tabulation on March 17, 2021. A total of 719 unique firms qualified for the main survey, having at least one domestic office with three or more architectural staff employees (at least one of whom is full-time). These 719 unique firms reported on a total of 1,089 qualifying locations ("establishments"). Compensation data was recorded for 10,675 positions. Survey data were edited and cleaned by Readex; compensation data were screened for outliers and trimmed (top and bottom 1% of distribution by position) to enhance reliability.

About AIA Research

The AIA Research group provides AIA members with insights and analysis of the economic and market factors that shape the business of architecture. We conduct monthly and periodic surveys to track business conditions and provide our members with useful and timely analysis. We also work with and use data from other institutions to compile information that helps explain the market dynamics of the architecture business. Using our quantitative expertise and deep knowledge of the architecture marketplace, we provide reports and industry outlooks to shed light on the economic environment and how it affects an architectural firmís performance.

For questions or comments please email us at

About Readex Research

Founded in 1947, Readex Research ( is a nationally recognized independent research company located in Stillwater, MN. Its roots are found in survey research for the magazine publishing industry, but its specialization in conducting high-quality self-administered surveys has brought it clients from many other markets, including associations, corporate marketers and communicators, and government agencies.

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