Building Designer Salary [2023]

Working as a building designer can be rewarding in many different ways other than from a good building designer salary.

You get to make your schedule, build cool designs, and solve problems on the go.

This work can be very fulfilling when it all comes together correctly.

It can be a very challenging career but also a rewarding one.

Therefore, it’s one of the most lucrative professions you can pursue.

Disclaimer: Due to anti-trust laws, the AIBD can not recommend how much to pay or charge. These are not suggestions nor recommendations. Sources are linked throughout the article.

What Is a Building Designer, and What Do They Do?

Building designers are responsible for creating construction drawings and plans for building projects.

Designers work closely with engineers to create blueprints that show how a building should be constructed.

They also determine the economically feasible materials to obtain a low bid from possible contractors.

They use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create and manage drawings of homes, shop buildings, apartment buildings, and office buildings.

Building designers are typically skilled in areas of architecture and construction, so they have a sound knowledge base for their job.

They are also responsible for creating plans for remodeling buildings such as old warehouses into something usable.

Further, they help the engineer ensure that what they are building will be structurally sound and can support the building’s load capacity.

The Duties of a Building Designer

Some duties building designers have been known to handle:

  • Get involved in designing and producing building plans from beginning to end.
  • Verify plans and provide feedback to engineers.
  • Assemble materials and perform calculations to estimate the price and schedule of building projects.
  • Analyze blueprints to determine if they meet code requirements.
  • Check construction sites to ensure all relevant construction codes are followed, such as safety and fire prevention codes.
  • Take photographs and prepare reports of problems that need to be addressed.
  • Work with architects to provide them with information about structures and materials to design new structures.
  • Help clients organize the building site, coordinate schedules, and make decisions.
  • Work closely with clients to ensure they are satisfied with the design.

There are no education nor license requirements to become a building designer in most US states.

However, many employers still prefer that a student have at least taken some classes in architecture or engineering from an accredited institution of high learning.

Although a degree isn’t required, students who plan to become designers and still feel the need to attend college should take classes in:

  1. Construction technology.
  2. Residential design.
  3. Construction methods.
  4. Civil engineering principles.
  5. Electrical and mechanical systems installation technology.
  6. Computer science.
  7. General business principles and practices.
  8. Drafting.

How Much Could You Earn (Building Designer Salary)?

According to our job board’s career insights, the average pay in the United States is $77,367 a year for designers.

This figure translates to $37.20 an hour, $1,488 a week, or $6,447 a month.

It’s important to note that this is an average figure.

Some designers earn as much as $119,500 annually while others as low as $20,500 in the same period.

The difference in earnings can be attributed to the following factors:

1. Education and Experience

For designers with less than three years of experience, the average salary can be as low as $25,000.

Designers with more than ten years of experience can earn as much as $120,000.

The level of education also affects the salary.

College graduates with a degree in building design can earn $40,000 to $65,000, while those with bachelor’s degrees in architecture can earn as much as $80,000.

2. Work Setting

The average salary for designers working in the government sector is $81,750, while those working for architectural firms earn $76,250 a year.

3. Company Size

Designers working for small architectural practices are paid less than those in large firms.

Small architectural firms pay $67,000 annually, and large firms pay $83,750.

4. Industry

For designers working in educational facilities, the average salary is $70,000.

Those working for engineering services firms can earn as much as $85,000 a year.

5. Geography

You will earn more if you work as a designer in more developed states and cities.

In New York, for instance, the average salary for a designer is $76,250, while in Houston, a designer can earn $56,000.

A bigger city will have a high demand for designers unless rural areas where a construction site is hard to come by.

6. Full Time or Part-Time

Full-time employment results in more income than part-time work for most design fields.

Full-time designers earn $75,000 annually, while part-timers earn as little as $40,000.

7. Hours Worked

Designers who work for more earn more than those working fewer hours.

For example, those who work 40 hours a week and use their Saturdays to meet deadlines will earn an average of $57,750, while those working 20 hours a week will only make around $27,000.

Building Designer Salary Growth Rate

As already mentioned, the annual building designer salary in the United States is $77,367.

In 2021, it was estimated to be $56,272 on average.

These statistics show an increase of 37.4 percent for one year.

It is important to note that this increase happened amid a financial crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The trend is expected to continue throughout 2022.

Global growth will be the strongest with 91% projected salary increases.

Increase in Demand for Building Designers

The projected growth in demand for designers is due to continued improvements and the emergence of more sophisticated design tools.

These improved tools have allowed designers to become more efficient and productive as they complete their clients’ projects.

Improvements in design software have also made the work of designers considerably easier.

Designers will continue to be in high demand during the next five years due to the increase in construction needs of the expanding economy.

A forecast indicates that 27,000 new positions are expected in 2022.

Real estate companies will hire more designers with excellent educational backgrounds and adequate training to cope with the demand for new constructions.

The job outlook is also expected to remain steady for the next ten years.

So, you don’t need to worry about your skills becoming obsolete after a quite a while.

Requirements for Becoming a Building Designer

  • One DOES NOT need to earn a bachelor’s degree in architecture, engineering, or interior design.
  • An individual needs to possess knowledge (or access to resources) of state and local building codes, as they set the standards on what needs to be built and how much it will cost.
  • One should be prepared to commit themselves fully, as any other career.
  • An individual must have strong skills in constructing plans and blueprints of new buildings, renovations and remodeling, as well as structural strength.
  • One must be able to analyze blueprints and drawings, solve problems, and knowledge of building construction.
  • An individual must have a high level of creativity.
  • One must be skillful at using computer programs that involve drafting, drafting plans and blueprints, and computer-aided design.
  • And individual must have a good background in photo editing and digital imaging skills. These two will help them create digital images of buildings.

Some designers are also technical experts repairing and working on buildings.

A designer’s role is quite varied as it involves a combination of design, construction, consulting, and supervision.

These designers work from home offices, remote offices, or sometimes job sites.

They are often required to travel for business.

According to the job description, they may combine this travel with field visits for site inspections.

For someone to excel in this field, they need to have flexibility.

Building Design Courses

Many accredited colleges and universities offer the teaching of architectural design.

Through these courses, one will learn how to design and draw plans for constructing houses, buildings, bridges, and roads.

One can attend classes physically or enroll in virtual learning.

The AIBD offers access to many online courses and other educational resources (members get a discount).

Employment Options

The following are some alternative examples of employment options for a building designer:

  • Building managers.
  • Commercial developers.
  • Contractors.
  • Facilities managers.
  • Consultants.

There are endless employment opportunities for competent designers.


The building design profession offers excellent opportunities for people who have the right skills and training.

These designers plan everything from residential homes to large office buildings and retail shopping centers.

In our world, the population is ever increasing.

One can say the same of developments.

With an expanding economy, the demand for construction is forever growing, and thus, demand for designers.

For this reason, it does not seem farfetched that these designers can expect a steady rise in building designer salary over this year and in the foreseeable future.

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