@ucbalumnus clearly compared the time investment of the BS/BA+MArch vs the BArch. Time generally, but not always, equals money, but financial aid can tip the scales on the total cost.
I’m a parent not an architect, but my observation from the experience of my son and his colleagues and classmates, is that there’s not a big difference in hiring preference between the BArch and MArch. Determining factors tend to be reputation of the architecture school, portfolio, work experience (both internships and post graduate), recommendations, and how the applicant’s strengths align with the firm’s personality.
Having said that, there area two overarching trends: 1) For various reasons, it’s increasingly common for BArch holders to get an MArch on top of their BArch, usually after a few years of work experience. And 2)Several schools of architecture have eliminated the BArch all together in favor of expanded and interdisciplinary MArch offerings. In either case, I think the increased complexity of the industry is the driving force, e.g., more tech, more sustainability, more new materials, more specialization.
Most (again not all) firms encourage their BArchs and MArchs to become licensed. This is a multiyear process and many people who work in architecture are not licensed. It’s a very broad industry with room for lots of different educational backgrounds.