Raise after license?

Raise after license?

Postby ekelsey15 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:59 pm

Alright. I've always heard to expect a raise after getting registered but I've recently talked to a few people who say otherwise. One said nothing the other said not nearly what he thought. But that I might suggest a bonus for reaching such a milestone.

I'm in a small firm about 14 people total, 6 practicing partners 4 of which are registered, two additional architects in the state we practice in. I will be licensed in a different jurisdiction for a few years until I can get the BEA. But I've been told in my firm being licensed it may benefit the firm a little since there are so few architects and I believe it'll allow me to "run" another project. I may be mistaken on that.

According to the AIA tool that was in a different thread it should get about 5k. Thoughts?

Also sorry if this has been talked about before. I can't get the search thing to work correctly.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby Coach » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:03 pm

Architects are notoriously shitty employers. The only way to get what you're worth is to move on. And when you interview, never tell anyone what you currently make.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby ekelsey15 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:17 pm

Not to doubt what you're saying but I have been given 5 raises over 4 years with 2 bonuses each year and other incentives. I must have gotten lucky and found a gem..
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby corbismyhomeboy » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:26 pm

When I talked to the partner of my firm about getting my license, he basically told me to expect no changes in my salary. Licensure affects nothing except you're more responsible for the project when things go wrong. (To be fair, my firm has stopped giving raises about 2 years ago; instead you get hefty bonuses when business is up and get to keep your job when things are slow.)
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby vrcat25 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:35 pm

It really just depends where you work and how much they value you. I work at a much smaller firm than you do, but I get a raise annually AND after passing each test. I also get the test paid for along with study material. I'm pretty sure that after i get licensed, I will get a raise and possibly offered part ownership in the company. If they don't value you, I'd find somebody who does, especially since you will have leverage after getting licensed.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby ekelsey15 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:38 pm

I feel they value me. I don't think I will be offered partner status yet. But things have been hinted at that one or two partners will be retiring and new openings. That I should get my license asap..
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby chrisschumm » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:08 am

I think i overhead someone say 15-20% increase at our firm... but who knows.. With my experience with jumping around jobs here in Cali - Coach has the best advise
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby Huberman » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:36 am

I recently got my license, boss wanted to take me out to" talk about what I want to do with the rest of my life" He's getting older and retirement is somewhere in the horizon. We talked about where the firm was headed and how it could grow. I am the next young guy in line to potentially take over. (I'm 29 and graduation 2 years ago) any way I got a 25k raise and possibility of becoming an associate. So depends where you work and they value you.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby gbalaka » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:36 am

Huberman wrote:I recently got my license, boss wanted to take me out to" talk about what I want to do with the rest of my life" He's getting older and retirement is somewhere in the horizon. We talked about where the firm was headed and how it could grow. I am the next young guy in line to potentially take over. (I'm 29 and graduation 2 years ago) any way I got a 25k raise and possibility of becoming an associate. So depends where you work and they value you.


Wow dude...you have it made! Good for you. You're one of the lucky ones.

I personally work for a very large company that only has 1 architect and we don't even primarily do architecture and the architect is in his 70's. My personal goal is to take over his position once he retires.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby ekelsey15 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:43 am

I personally work for a very large company that only has 1 architect and we don't even primarily do architecture and the architect is in his 70's. My personal goal is to take over his position once he retires.


Stage a coup?
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby gbalaka » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:52 am

ekelsey15 wrote:
I personally work for a very large company that only has 1 architect and we don't even primarily do architecture and the architect is in his 70's. My personal goal is to take over his position once he retires.


Stage a coup?


Hahaha....you see how it worked out for Turkey....
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby are15 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:55 pm

You won't know unless you ask.

At my firm it wasn't "standard." However, I asked, made my case, and I received.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby cafefille » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:20 am

I'll weigh in because I'm one of the unlucky ones. I am 27. Three years out of grad school, specialized in healthcare, was with my current firm for 2 years. Got licensed and asked for a $9K raise to bring me up to what the AIA salary calculator for my area says.

They gave me $2k raise because it's their "firm standard."

I get it, I'm young, but that is kind of BS. We have unlicensed designers here who will never be licensed, and I worked my ass off to get through these tests. I'm up and leaving this month and finding a firm that values me.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby gbalaka » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:18 am

cafefille wrote:I'll weigh in because I'm one of the unlucky ones. I am 27. Three years out of grad school, specialized in healthcare, was with my current firm for 2 years. Got licensed and asked for a $9K raise to bring me up to what the AIA salary calculator for my area says.

They gave me $2k raise because it's their "firm standard."

I get it, I'm young, but that is kind of BS. We have unlicensed designers here who will never be licensed, and I worked my ass off to get through these tests. I'm up and leaving this month and finding a firm that values me.


I agree with you 100%. You need to go work in a place where you are valued more and will make more $$$. I was "stuck" in a similar place for 6 years when i got out of college. Leaving that place was the best decision i ever made!

And when you apply for a new job and they ask you how much you used to make - you bump that number way up!
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby corbismyhomeboy » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:17 am

Has anyone else's firm switched to the 'bonuses only' model? Where they bump everyone's salary up to a certain level, then you get bonuses every year based on the performance of the firm? It's sounding like I'm in the minority here... :?
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby ekelsey15 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:21 am

Has anyone else's firm switched to the 'bonuses only' model? Where they bump everyone's salary up to a certain level, then you get bonuses every year based on the performance of the firm? It's sounding like I'm in the minority here... :?


Bonuses in lieu of what?

We typically get 2 bonuses a year depending on the firms performance, but we have also gotten raises. Are you saying your hourly is maxed and you may or may not get a bonus?
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby corbismyhomeboy » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:27 am

ekelsey15 wrote:Bonuses in lieu of what?

We typically get 2 bonuses a year depending on the firms performance, but we have also gotten raises. Are you saying your hourly is maxed and you may or may not get a bonus?


Bonuses in lieu of raises. Yeah, my salary is what it is - and it's pretty far from the AIA standard - but certain years there are 20k+ in bonuses and some years you get none. It just depends on how we are doing. We do a lot of government work, so with the new guy in office, the reins have been tightened on government spending, therefore less work for us. Even private owners, many of them depend on grants or government money, are scared about the economy and spending less. It's hard to complain about no raise when you get that 20k extra, but on years when you don't...
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby ekelsey15 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:31 am

Are you hourly or salary?
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby corbismyhomeboy » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:36 am

Salary.

Didn't mean to hi-jack the thread... !
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby ekelsey15 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:40 am

No you're fine. Thats interesting. I'm not that far yet so I have no idea. I believe the only people in our office that are salary are the partners, and they take bonuses at the end of the year too..
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby corbismyhomeboy » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:44 am

Everyone is salaried in my office. It makes it easier to do overnight site visits, and to accommodate everyone's schedules. I think when they give out bonuses, everyone gets a bonus, not just top members, etc., Our office is too small for that (20-25 ppl) - people would find out and get pissed.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby ekelsey15 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:51 am

Yeah. We are pretty small but do a good amount of work so it's pretty similar.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby gbalaka » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:52 am

corbismyhomeboy wrote:
ekelsey15 wrote:Bonuses in lieu of what?

We typically get 2 bonuses a year depending on the firms performance, but we have also gotten raises. Are you saying your hourly is maxed and you may or may not get a bonus?


Bonuses in lieu of raises. Yeah, my salary is what it is - and it's pretty far from the AIA standard - but certain years there are 20k+ in bonuses and some years you get none. It just depends on how we are doing. We do a lot of government work, so with the new guy in office, the reins have been tightened on government spending, therefore less work for us. Even private owners, many of them depend on grants or government money, are scared about the economy and spending less. It's hard to complain about no raise when you get that 20k extra, but on years when you don't...


20K bonus??? Wow, i'm in the wrong office......
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby nickedemus » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:41 am

corbismyhomeboy wrote:Has anyone else's firm switched to the 'bonuses only' model? Where they bump everyone's salary up to a certain level, then you get bonuses every year based on the performance of the firm? It's sounding like I'm in the minority here... :?


How is that? I considered a job like that a couple of years ago. It was quite a successful firm. I did contract work for the owner for years and watched the place practically explode. It was an appealing offer, even though I wasn't too fond of that bonus thing. I ended up staying here, at my current job, because of the diversity of discipline and expertise in the group that I now work for.

To get back to the topic, I believe it's pretty typical to get a raise upon licensure here. Just not sure what it is yet....
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby cafefille » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:56 am

gbalaka wrote:
cafefille wrote:I'll weigh in because I'm one of the unlucky ones. I am 27. Three years out of grad school, specialized in healthcare, was with my current firm for 2 years. Got licensed and asked for a $9K raise to bring me up to what the AIA salary calculator for my area says.

They gave me $2k raise because it's their "firm standard."

I get it, I'm young, but that is kind of BS. We have unlicensed designers here who will never be licensed, and I worked my ass off to get through these tests. I'm up and leaving this month and finding a firm that values me.


I agree with you 100%. You need to go work in a place where you are valued more and will make more $$$. I was "stuck" in a similar place for 6 years when i got out of college. Leaving that place was the best decision i ever made!

And when you apply for a new job and they ask you how much you used to make - you bump that number way up!



Thank you thank you thank you. That's what I need to hear. Not only did licensure barely change my salary, but also didn't change my status. I'm basically the Revit monkey for a project team that's all men (& I'm a woman) and I get no design input. I'm 3-4 years younger than the designer/architect on the team.
I keep telling myself just 1 month, and I'm out of here to a firm that will hire me for being an architect, not an intern... Sorry for the rant.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby gbalaka » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:07 am

cafefille wrote:
gbalaka wrote:
cafefille wrote:I'll weigh in because I'm one of the unlucky ones. I am 27. Three years out of grad school, specialized in healthcare, was with my current firm for 2 years. Got licensed and asked for a $9K raise to bring me up to what the AIA salary calculator for my area says.

They gave me $2k raise because it's their "firm standard."

I get it, I'm young, but that is kind of BS. We have unlicensed designers here who will never be licensed, and I worked my ass off to get through these tests. I'm up and leaving this month and finding a firm that values me.


I agree with you 100%. You need to go work in a place where you are valued more and will make more $$$. I was "stuck" in a similar place for 6 years when i got out of college. Leaving that place was the best decision i ever made!

And when you apply for a new job and they ask you how much you used to make - you bump that number way up!



Thank you thank you thank you. That's what I need to hear. Not only did licensure barely change my salary, but also didn't change my status. I'm basically the Revit monkey for a project team that's all men (& I'm a woman) and I get no design input. I'm 3-4 years younger than the designer/architect on the team.
I keep telling myself just 1 month, and I'm out of here to a firm that will hire me for being an architect, not an intern... Sorry for the rant.


Cafefille, I would highly encourage you to seek out other job opportunities out there. You've done a lot to become licensed - don't let your current job hold you back. If you're a licensed design professional (basically an Architect) AND you are good at REVIT - believe me - there's a very high demand for your skills. You'd be surprised.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby nickedemus » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:58 am

I agree, Cafefile--start fishing!!!
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby corbismyhomeboy » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:44 am

cafefille wrote:Thank you thank you thank you. That's what I need to hear. Not only did licensure barely change my salary, but also didn't change my status. I'm basically the Revit monkey for a project team that's all men (& I'm a woman) and I get no design input. I'm 3-4 years younger than the designer/architect on the team.
I keep telling myself just 1 month, and I'm out of here to a firm that will hire me for being an architect, not an intern... Sorry for the rant.


Is anyone allowed to design their own projects/lead projects with 3 years experience? That's certainly not the case in my firm. Don't get me wrong, you should most certainly be able to contribute design input, no matter what level. (I say this as someone with between 3-4 years experience myself, so definitely not intended to be an insult or derogatory comment.) As others have said, if you feel you're getting the short end of the stick, definitely go and find somewhere that will appreciate you!
Last edited by corbismyhomeboy on Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby tmston2 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:53 am

Not to rain on anyone parade, but I guess my questions is when is the difference between deserving a raise for license and being patient for a year or 2 and seeing were things may lead?
for me I never really expected much of a raise after getting licensed, especially were a lot of firms actually reimbursed you for test, have study material availabel, help you with advice
on passing or how to pass, help you grow as a designer, and you actually have a job?
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby Coach » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:38 am

corbismyhomeboy wrote:Is anyone allowed to design their own projects/lead projects with 3 years experience?

I did. That's why I like small firms.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby corbismyhomeboy » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:47 pm

Coach wrote:
corbismyhomeboy wrote:Is anyone allowed to design their own projects/lead projects with 3 years experience?

I did. That's why I like small firms.


Coach, what firm size are you referring to? Mine is around 20 altogether. About 10 of us do the designing/producing. Everyone else is support, research, business, etc,. (Each project team is about 3-4 people.) Before here, I briefly worked for an office of 4 including myself, which dwindled down to 2 (me and my boss) then we hired 2 intern architects before I could hit the bricks. It was fun, but I was working way too much to barely keep head above water. (I ask because some people say "small" and mean 'less than 100' and some mean '4 people'.)

I know I'm getting off topic, but frankly, it's interesting to hear about how other firms organize their studios, communicate, and compensate.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby Coach » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:09 pm

When I started my first full time job, there was one principal, a secretary, one highly skilled senior unlicensed (never intended to be) guy and a drafter. The principal did very little on the boards. The senior guy left about 6 months after I started and we hired a 2nd drafter. I ran all the jobs until I left. We did commercial, healthcare and light industrial.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby chrisschumm » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:13 am

corbismyhomeboy wrote:
cafefille wrote:Thank you thank you thank you. That's what I need to hear. Not only did licensure barely change my salary, but also didn't change my status. I'm basically the Revit monkey for a project team that's all men (& I'm a woman) and I get no design input. I'm 3-4 years younger than the designer/architect on the team.
I keep telling myself just 1 month, and I'm out of here to a firm that will hire me for being an architect, not an intern... Sorry for the rant.


Is anyone allowed to design their own projects/lead projects with 3 years experience? That's certainly not the case in my firm. Don't get me wrong, you should most certainly be able to contribute design input, no matter what level. (I say this as someone with between 3-4 years experience myself, so definitely not intended to be an insult or derogatory comment.) As others have said, if you feel you're getting the short end of the stick, definitely go and find somewhere that will appreciate you!


I started at a 15 person firm that was heavy into schools/ commercial projects - it was a firm that was very established (we did probably 4-5 new schools, or renovations per year) I started as a cad/ photoshop/ sketchup assistant, but learned as much as they would let me, they let me manage smaller projects within 3-4 years, after 5 years i was managing entire school projects along with a few smaller commercial projects simultaneously, it was awesome and i was in line to become a partner/ principal...but i quit and moved down to san diego to be near the ocean again... now i work at a fairly top heavy corporate firm as basically a job captain/ job admiral... whatever the bean counters want to call me on the client invoice..
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby nickedemus » Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:31 am

corbismyhomeboy wrote:
cafefille wrote:Thank you thank you thank you. That's what I need to hear. Not only did licensure barely change my salary, but also didn't change my status. I'm basically the Revit monkey for a project team that's all men (& I'm a woman) and I get no design input. I'm 3-4 years younger than the designer/architect on the team.
I keep telling myself just 1 month, and I'm out of here to a firm that will hire me for being an architect, not an intern... Sorry for the rant.


Is anyone allowed to design their own projects/lead projects with 3 years experience? That's certainly not the case in my firm. Don't get me wrong, you should most certainly be able to contribute design input, no matter what level. (I say this as someone with between 3-4 years experience myself, so definitely not intended to be an insult or derogatory comment.) As others have said, if you feel you're getting the short end of the stick, definitely go and find somewhere that will appreciate you!


I did from the get-go in my first full-time job. But it was just me and the principal. Really small firm--his office was in his home. He designed too, but he also had to hunt for work, meet with clients, etc., so a lot fell to me. One of my first designs was actually selected by the client over my boss's designs. I think that must have given him some confidence in me (although that particular client got stolen by an interior designer from another firm -- with MY design (isn't that illegal??)!!--So I never got to photograph the end result there, unfortunately). We did mainly residential projects, but also some light commercial and religious institutions. I worked there for two years. Everything was in Revit, so I got to learn the program really well.

I left that company and now work for an absolutely huge firm where I wear a lot of different hats but I don't do any design. I am ok with this because in my mind, there is much more to architecture than design. Some might gasp to hear that, but it seems to me that these beautiful designs that people come up with need to be built at some point, or else they are just pretty pictures. And I'll never learn how to get them built if I am drawing all the time. In a big firm like this, you do have to be careful who you work for and not let job security lull you into complacency. A lot of the architects do get pigeon-holed, unfortunately. A lot of people are on jobs where everything is already branded and no creativity is required. However, there are tons of opportunities to network and develop your career if you think outside the box and are tenacious. Edited to add: For example, doing residential architecture I got some experience handling RFIs, submittals, change orders, etc. But I've gotten the most valuable construction administration experience on a fast-track heavy construction job through the company I work for now. The scale, the budget, the pace, and the complexity of the job offer a lot more opportunities for me to develop proficiency than more traditional architectural projects. Plus, I'm learning about interest during construction, operation and maintenance costs, and feasibility analysis.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby corbismyhomeboy » Fri Apr 28, 2017 6:52 am

nickedemus wrote:For example, doing residential architecture I got some experience handling RFIs, submittals, change orders, etc. But I've gotten the most valuable construction administration experience on a fast-track heavy construction job through the company I work for now. The scale, the budget, the pace, and the complexity of the job offer a lot more opportunities for me to develop proficiency than more traditional architectural projects. Plus, I'm learning about interest during construction, operation and maintenance costs, and feasibility analysis.


Totally agree with you on this. In the past 3.5 years, I've worked on 2 very big scope projects (one was DD-CA, and the other was SD-CD) with a lot of very complex scope. I think I learned the most through those projects. Now I'm working on 6-8 very small scope projects, some being fussier than others, but what I learned in those big projects has helped me tremendously with these small projects.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby Bailey15 » Tue May 02, 2017 12:21 pm

I recently became licensed and heard from co-workers that I should expect a bump in pay. I got $3k. Very grateful, but I was expecting more, something that would really cap off this process with a super big positive because these 7 tests are hell. I am right at the mean salary for my level and in my region with the raise. I suppose you could say I was very well compensated as an intern but it would have been nice to get a bit more since this is a major milestone.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby chrisschumm » Wed May 03, 2017 6:57 am

Id be grateful for 3k because its better than noting, but without a salary bump id be pretty pissed, Shoot.. ive spent about that much on the ARE's & study material! Regardless of whatever firm you work for realize that it's in the firms best interest for you to become licensed because they can justify a higher billable rate, for example here (i think we are up to 60 people, 22 architects) i think its about a $50ish/ hr delta between licensed & non licensed, in my mind the firm would recover from that 3k in 60 days based on your new rate... Ive worked at smaller firms and my salary + bonuses was WAYYY better at a small 5-6 person firm vs. a larger commercial firm (we don't even get bonus's here) the trade off was stability and consistent work.... after my license i may be willing to get "risky" again lol...
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby vrcat25 » Wed May 03, 2017 9:10 am

Bailey15 wrote:I recently became licensed and heard from co-workers that I should expect a bump in pay. I got $3k. Very grateful, but I was expecting more, something that would really cap off this process with a super big positive because these 7 tests are hell. I am right at the mean salary for my level and in my region with the raise. I suppose you could say I was very well compensated as an intern but it would have been nice to get a bit more since this is a major milestone.


How much were you expecting? This is not a rhetorical questions, just curious about how much it would have taken before you are happy? How much would have been too much? The reason i ask is because it may be worth negotiating. If you think it's worth 5k then you could possibly talk with them and see if they would be willing to meet your needs. You don't have to give them an ultimatum, you could just explain to them that you would like more and see what you would need to do to get to that point. As you mentioned, these tests are hell and EXPENSIVE. Even if you pass all 7 the first time, that's over $1500 in tests plus study material. I would think that the incentive would be a little greater too. Now on the other hand, do you think it's worth a 10k bump? Have you considered asking if they would give you a share in the firm? IMHO, it's definitely worth talking with the principals.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby arearcher » Sun May 14, 2017 11:34 am

Edit: I want to reiterate Coach's comments. Architect's are shitty employers. I work in construction now. It's a night and day difference, not only to my old firm but to all the firms we work with. I make much more then any offers from arch firms, benefits are amazing, and my supervisor is awesome. They treat you like an adult.

Don't be afraid to look around and go on some interviews to gauge your value, especially if you've been with your firm for several years. I was interviewing less than 6 months ago and thought my firm of nearly 5 yrs had been treating me well.

Every offer I had was $7-15,000 above my salary with better benefits and more design opportunities. Keep in mind I'm not yet licensed. The AIA salary calculator has limited data that is several years old. The market is hot and at least in Boston my offers were well over the AIA compensation report.

I noticed some comments here regarding low salaried positions with high bonuses and other non-guaranteed compensation. Be wary of that, especially discretionary bonuses that employers are under no obligation to pay even if you work the entire year and meet performance criteria.
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Re: Raise after license?

Postby nickedemus » Mon May 15, 2017 4:07 am

arearcher wrote:The AIA salary calculator has limited data that is several years old.


Dang it. I knew that was too good to be true.

Yeah, looks like data is from 2015. You can use the Consumer Price Index as an estimate to update the dollars to 2017 levels, but it's only a 3% increase (for NY-NJ-CT-PA) which I think indicates a data flaw on AIA's side. Reason I think that it's an AIA flaw is that BLS's salary rates are much higher in general (at least for my area).
nickedemus
 
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