Creative directors are key personnel in marketing and advertising agencies. They design media strategies and monitor communication campaigns for brands and products. They oversee the work of copywriters and graphic designers, revise presentations and coordinate the work of the creative team, making the final calls in creating advertisements.

The job of creative directors is essentially to whittle down the creative chaos their team generates into the most efficient, witty, and spot-on ad solutions. A good creative director will know how to motivate and inspire his/her or her team, bring the best out of the people they work with, and give space for great ideas to grow.

Advertising is a highly competitive and lucrative business for anyone involved, and creative directors are certainly not the ones to miss out on the financial perks. There are a lot of opportunities to show your worth, and as a creative director, you can make anything between $87,869 to $169,072 a year, depending on your location, the size and reputation of your agency, your experience in the field, and the results your work brings.

What Does a Creative Director Do

There are certain skills that many creative directors have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed management skills, problem-solving skills and leadership skills.

Learn more about what a Creative Director does

How To Become a Creative Director

If you're interested in becoming a creative director, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 76.5% of creative directors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 7.2% of creative directors have master's degrees. Even though most creative directors have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Creative Director

Creative Director Career Paths

Average Salary for a Creative Director

Creative Directors in America make an average salary of $137,779 per year or $66 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $228,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $82,000 per year.
Average Creative Director Salary
$137,779 Yearly
$66.24 hourly
$82,000
10 %
$137,000
Median
$228,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Creative Director Education

Creative Director Majors

11.0 %

Creative Director Degrees

Bachelors

76.5 %

Associate

12.1 %

Masters

7.2 %

Top Colleges for Creative Directors

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

2. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

4. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

5. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,465
Enrollment
6,483

6. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

7. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

8. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,381
Enrollment
34,564

9. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,522
Enrollment
13,760

10. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

Top Skills For a Creative Director

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 23.5% of creative directors listed creative concepts on their resume, but soft skills such as management skills and problem-solving skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Creative Director Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Creative Director templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Creative Director resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Creative Director Demographics

Creative Director Gender Distribution

Male
Male
65%
Female
Female
35%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among creative directors, 35.3% of them are women, while 64.7% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among creative directors is White, which makes up 72.8% of all creative directors.

  • The most common foreign language among creative directors is Spanish at 46.6%.

Online Courses For Creative Director That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
Adobe Creative Cloud 2021 Ultimate Course
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Creativity, Design Thinking, and Innovation for Business
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Improve Your Professional and Personal Life By Unleashing Your Creative Mind...

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Best States For a Creative Director

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a creative director. The best states for people in this position are California, New York, Washington, and Alaska. Creative directors make the most in California with an average salary of $165,697. Whereas in New York and Washington, they would average $145,570 and $144,458, respectively. While creative directors would only make an average of $143,583 in Alaska, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. California

Total Creative Director Jobs:
607
Highest 10% Earn:
$249,000
Location Quotient:
1.17 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. New York

Total Creative Director Jobs:
470
Highest 10% Earn:
$226,000
Location Quotient:
2.06 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Washington

Total Creative Director Jobs:
97
Highest 10% Earn:
$227,000
Location Quotient:
0.75 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Creative Directors

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Top Creative Director Employers

Most Common Employers For Creative Director

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Apple$226,183$108.7421
2Meta$221,411$106.4528
3Leo Burnett$188,871$90.8027
4The Integer Group$188,022$90.4015
5Goodby Silverstein & Partners$186,821$89.8219
6The Walt Disney Company$185,556$89.2113
7Microsoft$185,384$89.1313
8Wunderman Thompson$184,338$88.6216
9Young & Rubicam$179,582$86.3418
10DDB$178,959$86.0425

Creative Director Videos

Becoming a Creative Director FAQs

How long does it take to become a creative director?

It takes around 11 to 14 years to become a creative director. This includes the time it takes to earn a four-year bachelor's degree. That means the remaining 7 to 10 years it takes to become a creative director comes down to work experience.

Is becoming a creative director hard?

Yes, becoming a creative director is hard. To become a creative director takes time, at least 7 to 10 years of work experience, and an impressive work portfolio. In addition, some formal education and specific skill sets.

What skills do creative directors need?

Creative directors need an assortment of skills related to their craft and also in leadership. To become a creative designer takes at least 7 to 10 years of work experience. During this time, a prospective creative director hones their skill set and builds their work portfolio.

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