These Are The 10 Highest Designer Salaries By State

Chris Kolmar
by Chris Kolmar
Best States For Professions, Rankings - 2 years ago
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Without fail, in surveys across basically every demographic, the number one most important aspect of a job for most people is the salary — how much do designers get paid where I live?

And while there are many things to go into how much you, specifically, can expect to make, there’s really good data for average salaries for designers by state across America broken down by seniority level. So while your city may be slightly different than the state average, these averages give you a rough sense of what to expect for your salary.

To better understand how designer salaries change across America, we decided to take a look the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on average pay for designers by state.

Additionally, we wanted to adjust the salary based on the cost of living in a state — because your salary goes further in North Carolina than it does in California.

The state with the best salary for designers after this adjustment? That would be Georgia. Here’s a quick snapshot of the top ten states for designer salaries:

  1. Georgia
  2. Indiana
  3. Missouri
  4. Ohio
  5. Michigan
  6. Illinois
  7. Kansas
  8. Kentucky
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Maine

Let’s take a look at how we got here and a full ranking of all the states.

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How we determined designer pay by state

As we mentioned earlier, we took the average annual salary data for designers from the 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics — specifically their “Occupational Employment Statistics”.

To make the comparison of salaries apples to apples across states, we also took into account the cost of living in each state.

We then created an index by dividing the average wage for a state by the cost of living relative to average. As an example, the cost of living index in California is 135.9 and the average pay is $72,780, so our index value would be:

$72,780 * (100 / 135.9) = $53,554

We then ranked every state on this criteria with the state with the highest salary index ranking as highest average salary for designers.

Here’s a look at the full ranking for all states.

Detailed List Of Designer Salaries By State

Rank State Adjusted Salary Average Wage Cost Of Living
1 Georgia $96,236 $87,960 91.4
2 Indiana $80,826 $72,340 89.5
3 Missouri $78,573 $71,030 90.4
4 Ohio $76,535 $71,790 93.8
5 Michigan $73,168 $65,120 89.0
6 Illinois $71,892 $68,010 94.6
7 Kansas $70,589 $63,460 89.9
8 Kentucky $69,270 $62,690 90.5
9 Massachusetts $64,917 $86,600 133.4
10 Maine $64,106 $71,030 110.8
11 South Carolina $64,002 $63,490 99.2
12 Texas $61,841 $56,090 90.7
13 Utah $61,612 $57,300 93.0
14 New York $60,770 $79,610 131.0
15 Florida $58,606 $57,610 98.3
16 North Carolina $58,455 $54,890 93.9
17 Colorado $57,581 $59,770 103.8
18 Oregon $56,487 $65,300 115.6
19 California $53,554 $72,780 135.9
20 Minnesota $52,519 $52,940 100.8
21 Pennsylvania $52,031 $52,760 101.4
22 New Jersey $51,640 $62,950 121.9
23 Virginia $44,365 $44,720 100.8
24 Hawaii $26,777 $44,960 167.9
25 Washington $0 $0 105.2
26 Wisconsin $0 $0 96.8
27 New Hampshire $0 $0 117.0
28 Tennessee $0 $0 89.4

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