Design Director Education Requirements And Degrees

The education needed to be a Design Director is normally a Bachelor's Degree. Design Directors usually study Graphic Design, Fine Arts or Architecture. 73% of Design Directors hold a Bachelor's Degree and 12% hold a Associate Degree. We found these by analyzing 5,102 Design Director resumes to investigate the topic of Design Director education more precisely.

The most common colleges for students to pursue their goal of becoming a Design Director are Fashion Institute of Technology and School of Visual Arts. We also broke down what colleges provide the best overall education for a Design Director. Students have a great path to earning their Design Director qualifications at the following schools:

  1. University of Pennsylvania
  2. Carnegie Mellon University
  3. University of Southern California

If you're interested in getting a college degree in an affordable college for Design Directors - Brooklyn College of the City University of New York is an excellent option for you. If your SAT or ACT score aren't as high as you'd like, you can look at Notre Dame College, as the admission requirements aren't too selective. On the other end of that spectrum are the Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pennsylvania and Northeastern University.

For those who would rather stay in your pajamas during the day, we prepared some online courses that can help in Design Director education paths.

We prepared a list of a Design Director certifications that you should consider. The necessary certifications that Design Directors must have to succeed are Certified Interior Designer (NCIDQ) and Master Certified Web Professional - Designer (CWP).

What Degree Should I Get to Become a Design Director ?

The most common degree for Design Directors is Bachelor's Degree 73% of Design Directors earn that degree. A close second is Associate Degree with 12% and rounding it off is Master's Degree with 11%.

  • Bachelors, 73%
  • Associate, 12%
  • Masters, 11%
  • High School Diploma, 1%
  • Other Degrees, 3%
Design Director DegreePercentages
Bachelors73.3%
Associate11.6%
Masters10.5%
High School Diploma1.4%
Doctorate1.1%

What Should I Major in to Become a Design Director ?

Most Design Directors, 40% to be exact, major in Graphic Design. Some other common majors for a Design Director include Fine Arts and Architecture majors.

Design Director MajorPercentages
Graphic Design40.1%
Fine Arts12.0%
Architecture6.1%
Business5.8%
Interior Design5.6%

Check Jobs That Match To Your Education

None
High School / GED
Associate
Bachelor's
Master's
Doctorate

Most Common Colleges for Design Director

Here are the most common colleges for a Design Director career in the US based on their resumes. Advocates often get their degree in Fashion Institute of Technology, School of Visual Arts, and Pratt Institute .

Fashion Institute of Technology

School of Visual Arts

Pratt Institute

Syracuse University

Art Center College of Design

Design Director Common CollegePercentages
Fashion Institute of Technology24.66%
School of Visual Arts7.55%
Pratt Institute6.74%
Syracuse University6.60%
Art Center College of Design5.80%

Average Design Director Salary by Education Level

Design Directors with a Masters degree earn more than those without, at $134,238 annually. With a Bachelors degree, Design Directors earn a median annual income of $121,157 compared to $107,412 for Design Directors with an Associate degree.

Some College/ Associate Degree

Bachelor's Degree

Master's Degree

Design Director Education LevelDesign Director Salary
Some College/ Associate Degree$107,412
Bachelor's Degree$121,157
Master's Degree$134,238

Design Director JOBS

10 Best Universities For Design Directors

In a lot of cases, a higher education can mean a higher salary or even a better job. That's why we found out the best colleges for Design Directors. We based this list on these metrics: admissions rate, retention rate, mean earnings of students working, ratio of working vs. non-working students 10 years after admission, average cost of attendance and median debt for graduates.

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

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

2. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

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

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

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

4. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

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

5. New York University

New York, NY • Private

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

6. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

7. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

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

8. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

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

9. George Washington University, The

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,230
Enrollment
12,161

10. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108
RankSchoolLocation
1University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PA
2Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburgh, PA
3University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, CA
4Northeastern UniversityBoston, MA
5New York UniversityNew York, NY

20 Best Online Courses for Design Directors

Sometimes things are just better when you get to stay in your pajamas all day. That includes school. We found top courses for Design Directors from Udemy, Coursera, EDX, and ed2go that will help you advance in your career. Here are essential skills you need to be a Design Director:

  • User Interface
  • Product Design
  • Architecture
If you want to improve Design Directors skills these courses could help you in this.

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Master Digital Product Design: UX Research & UI Design
udemy
4.5
(4,195)

A complete design education for product designers: Research the user experience, then design a great user interface...

Ultimate Guide to Product Design: Design Thinking Approach
udemy
4.5
(287)

Uncover the secrets of successful products for outstanding user experience. Design your unique product that users love!...

Mechanical design and Product development process
udemy
4.6
(327)

Learn the basic ideas and concepts behind developing mechanical products related to mechanical engineering...

Learn Figma: User Interface Design Essentials - UI/UX Design
udemy
4.5
(1,211)

Master Figma app to get a job in UI Design, User Interface, User Experience design, Web Design & UX design...

Architectural Design Tools in Blender - 3D Design
udemy
4
(418)

Create 3D architectural models & achieve stunning design results in Blender - Interior 3D Scenes all inside Blender...

Graphic Design Certification - Legendary Edition
udemy
4
(1,377)

MBA in Creative Arts, Design and Animation: Level 1 - Part 1 course that focusses on Graphic Design Tools and Software...

Visual Design for Web Designers, UI Designers & Developers
udemy
4.3
(379)

Improve your ugly UI designs to awesome level by mastering Design Theory, Design principles and Secret Techniques...

Product Design Management for Agile Practitioners
udemy
4.2
(627)

Application of product design management principles, concepts, tools and techniques in agile product management...

Graphic Design Masterclass - Learn GREAT Design
udemy
4.7
(34,049)

The Ultimate Graphic Design Course Which Covers Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Design Theory, Branding and Logo Design...

The Complete User Interface Design Bootcamp - Sketch UI/UX
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4.7
(375)

Master Sketch software to get a job in UI Design, User Interface, User Experience design, Web Design & UX design...

Graphic Design Mastery: The FULL Branding & Design Process
udemy
4.6
(737)

Follows the FULL Graphic Design Process for A Company: Logo, Ad, Social Media, T-Shirt, Package, Website Design & More!...

User Experience Design Essentials - Adobe XD UI UX Design
udemy
4.6
(36,736)

Use XD to get a job in UI Design, User Interface, User Experience design, UX design & Web Design...

Graphic Design Masterclass: Learn Graphic Design in Projects
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4.5
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Graphic design principles, typography, & color mastery using Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. For beginners & more!...

Graphic Design Foundations in Canva: Theory and Projects
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4.9
(293)

Learn design theory and practice GREAT graphic design through practical real world projects in Canva...

DESIGN RULES: Principles + Practices for Great UI Design
udemy
4.6
(8,753)

Learn to design powerful user interfaces for apps, sites and systems...

Graphic Design Bootcamp: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign
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(15,204)

Bestselling Beginner Course! Use Photoshop, Illustrator, & InDesign for logo design, web design, poster design, and more...

Automotive product design using CATIA V5
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4.4
(326)

Automotive domain design using CATIA, interior and exterior trims on CATIA, Plastic product design in Automotive sector...

Affinity Designer: The Complete Guide to Affinity Designer
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4.8
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You can start using Affinity Designer 1.9 today to design beautiful and professional graphics!...

3D House Design Mastery in Blender 2.9x - Graphics & Design
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4.6
(424)

Design & 3D model with Blender - Architectural design - 3D Graphics - Full project in Blender...

Graphic Design MasterClass- Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign
udemy
4.5
(3,341)

Graphic design for beginners including Graphic Design Theories, Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, CC & Creative Thinking...

Best Design Director Certifications in 2022

1. Certified Interior Designer (NCIDQ)

The NCIDQ Examination consists of three separate exam sections, the Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), the Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX), and the Practicum Exam (PRAC), that measure a candidate's proficiency in interior design principles and application of knowledge to protect public health, safety and welfare. Two of the exams, IDFX and IDPX, are multiple choice exams.

The NCIDQ Examination consists of three separate exam sections, the Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), the Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX), and the Practicum Exam (PRAC), that measure a candidate's proficiency in interior design principles and application of knowledge to protect public health, safety and welfare. Two of the exams, IDFX and IDPX, are multiple choice exams.

Certification Details
  • More than two years of education or training after high school required? Yes
  • More than two years of work experience required? Yes
  • Oral or Written Exam Required? Yes
  • Renewal Required? Every 1 year(s)
Certifying Website
Certified Interior Designer
Certifying Organization
Council for Interior Design...

2. Master Certified Web Professional - Designer (CWP)

Certification Details
  • More than two years of education or training after high school required? No
  • More than two years of work experience required? Yes
  • Oral or Written Exam Required? Yes
  • Renewal Required? Every 3 year(s)

3. Professional Certified Marketer (PCM)

Being a top marketer means continually enhancing your skills as well as highlighting your accomplishments. The American Marketing Association's Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) program gives you a tangible, convenient way to do both. You can earn the PCM designation by passing a comprehensive exam covering the key areas of marketing. Developed with input from hundreds of marketing experts, the PCM program meets strict national professional certification criteria and standards for excellence in marketing.

Being a top marketer means continually enhancing your skills as well as highlighting your accomplishments. The American Marketing Association's Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) program gives you a tangible, convenient way to do both. You can earn the PCM designation by passing a comprehensive exam covering the key areas of marketing. Developed with input from hundreds of marketing experts, the PCM program meets strict national professional certification criteria and standards for excellence in marketing.

Certification Details
  • More than two years of education or training after high school required? No
  • More than two years of work experience required? No
  • Oral or Written Exam Required? Yes
  • Renewal Required? Every 3 year(s)
Certifying Organization
American Marketing Association

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Design Director

Top 10 Affordable Universities For Design Directors

If those top 10 were a bit out of your price range, you might want to check these schools instead. After factoring in in-state tuition and fees, average cost of attendance, admissions rate, average net price and mean earnings after 6 years, we found that these are the most affordable schools for Design Directors.

1. Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

Brooklyn, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,240
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$13,991

2. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,381
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$21,034

3. Brigham Young University

Provo, UT • Private

In-State Tuition
$5,620
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$18,136

4. Fashion Institute of Technology

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$5,740
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$17,864

5. Lehman College of the City University of New York

Bronx, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,210
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$14,359

6. SUNY Farmingdale

Farmingdale, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,306
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$16,091

7. Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,992
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$22,430

8. University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,222
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$20,422

9. San Jose State University

San Jose, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,796
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$24,514

10. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Private

In-State Tuition
$11,207
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$25,275

Top 10 Hardest Universities To Get Into For Design Directors

Some people like a challenge. Well, we challenge you to get into one of these schools. It's not going to be easy. We know this based on these institutions' admissions rates, average SAT scores accepted, median ACT scores accepted and mean earnings of students 6 years after admission.

1. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

Admissions Rate
17%
SAT Average
1,507

2. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

Admissions Rate
8%
SAT Average
1,492

3. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

Admissions Rate
19%
SAT Average
1,466

4. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

Admissions Rate
8%
SAT Average
1,508

5. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

Admissions Rate
13%
SAT Average
1,445

6. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

Admissions Rate
22%
SAT Average
1,420

7. New York University

New York, NY • Private

Admissions Rate
20%
SAT Average
1,419

8. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

Admissions Rate
5%
SAT Average
1,520

9. George Washington University, The

Washington, DC • Private

Admissions Rate
42%
SAT Average
1,380

10. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

Admissions Rate
9%
SAT Average
1,516
RankSchoolLocation
1Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburgh, PA
2University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PA
3Northeastern UniversityBoston, MA
4Northwestern UniversityEvanston, IL
5University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, CA

Top 10 Easier To Apply Universities For Design Directors

Why make getting a job harder on yourself than it has to be? With these colleges, you're sure to be accepted in no time. We compiled admissions rates, average SAT scores, average ACT scores and average salary of students 6 years after graduation in order to uncover which were the easiest schools to get into.

1. Notre Dame College

Cleveland, OH • Private

Admissions Rate
90%
SAT Average
994

2. Notre Dame de Namur University

Belmont, CA • Private

Admissions Rate
82%
SAT Average
983

3. Cardinal Stritch University

Milwaukee, WI • Private

Admissions Rate
71%
SAT Average
1,035

4. Marymount University

Arlington, VA • Private

Admissions Rate
91%
SAT Average
1,065

5. Grand View University

Des Moines, IA • Private

Admissions Rate
92%
SAT Average
1,060

6. Centenary University

Hackettstown, NJ • Private

Admissions Rate
67%
SAT Average
987

7. Linfield College

McMinnville, OR • Private

Admissions Rate
81%
SAT Average
1,117

8. Gwynedd Mercy University

Gwynedd Valley, PA • Private

Admissions Rate
92%
SAT Average
1,031

9. Longwood University

Farmville, VA • Private

Admissions Rate
89%
SAT Average
1,065

10. Mount Saint Mary's University

Los Angeles, CA • Private

Admissions Rate
84%
SAT Average
1,031
RankSchoolLocation
1Notre Dame CollegeCleveland, OH
2Notre Dame de Namur UniversityBelmont, CA
3Cardinal Stritch UniversityMilwaukee, WI
4Marymount UniversityArlington, VA
5Grand View UniversityDes Moines, IA

Design Director Internship Jobs

Design Director Jobs