August 29, 2020
Why You Should Get Licensed
Are you weighing the pros and cons of getting licensed? Ok, spoiler alert - it’s not a bad idea. We know we’re biased, but that’s the reason we developed ARE test prep materials in the first place, because we know the importance of being licensed. It opens doors, gets you some more money, and gives you a super credible email signature.
Money isn’t everything, but it definitely helps. According to the AIA Compensation Survey Salary Calculator, a licensed level three architect has the median base salary of $89,380, whereas an unlicensed staff member at the same level has a median base salary of $83,500. You’ll earn almost $6,000 per year more in compensation - with that pay increase you could buy two dogs and have them walked every day while you’re at work.
With any sort of accreditation, it makes you appealing to clients who are seeking out a more experienced team to work on their projects. If clients want you, firms will want you, increasing your employment opportunities. Being licensed makes yourself more marketable, and thus, the firm you work for more marketable.
In addition to landing a desirable job and getting paid more to do it, you can call yourself an architect and sign your emails as such. Being an architect means you’re now responsible for the safety of the general public and that’s nothing to scoff at - so bold, highlight and shoot laser beams out of that signature because you’ll earn it every day with what you do. (We know architects are tasteful so you’ll probably refrain from doing that.)
What if all of this talk about needing to get licensed to move up has overwhelmed you? Your personal calendar or availability might not allow for getting licensed right now, and that’s perfectly understandable. It’s like going from your couch to summiting Everest - Jon Krakauer would advise against that. Do some planning to see when you can dedicate your resources to executing a solid study schedule before you take the leap. Surely there’s a dad-ism in here about half-assing things.
For those ready to take that next step, brush up on your John Hancock, because after you pass that sixth division, you’ll be signing a lot of drawings.