Find The Best Set Designer Jobs For You

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Average Salary
$49,832
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
3%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
22,170
Job Openings

Set Designer Careers

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a set designer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $23.96 an hour? That's $49,832 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 3% and produce 8,800 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Set Designer Do

There are certain skills that many set designers 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 analytical skills, artistic ability and communication skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a set designer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 27.9% of set designers included set design, while 15.2% of resumes included art direction, and 12.1% of resumes included production meetings. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the set designer job title. But what industry to start with? Most set designers actually find jobs in the education and hospitality industries.

How To Become a Set Designer

If you're interested in becoming a set designer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 61.8% of set designers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 8.5% of set designers have master's degrees. Even though most set designers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a set designer. When we researched the most common majors for a set designer, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on set designer resumes include master's degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a set designer. In fact, many set designer jobs require experience in a role such as internship. Meanwhile, many set designers also have previous career experience in roles such as artist or designer.

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Average Salary
$49,832
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
3%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
22,170
Job Openings

Set Designer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Set Designer

Artist
8.0 %

Top Careers After Set Designer

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Set Designer

Set Designers in America make an average salary of $49,832 per year or $24 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $74,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $33,000 per year.
Average Salary
$49,832

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
San Jose, CA
Salary Range46k - 80k$61k$61,318
New York, NY
Salary Range47k - 76k$60k$60,203
Atlanta, GA
Salary Range45k - 72k$57k$57,386
Metairie, LA
Salary Range38k - 65k$50k$50,321
Orlando, FL
Salary Range33k - 56k$44k$43,778
$33k
$80k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Show Set Designer
Show Set Designer
Eagle Vision Entertainment Studio
Eagle Vision Entertainment Studio
07/08/2019
07/08/2019
$46,01007/08/2019
$46,010
Show Set Designer
Show Set Designer
Eagle Vision Entertainment Studio
Eagle Vision Entertainment Studio
04/01/2019
04/01/2019
$80,00004/01/2019
$80,000
Set Designer
Set Designer
Yu and Co.
Yu and Co.
03/18/2019
03/18/2019
$52,00003/18/2019
$52,000
Set Designer
Set Designer
Yu and Co.
Yu and Co.
03/05/2019
03/05/2019
$37,56603/05/2019
$37,566
Show Set Designer
Show Set Designer
BRC Imagination Arts Inc.
BRC Imagination Arts Inc.
12/28/2018
12/28/2018
$90,00012/28/2018
$90,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Set Designer Demographics

Gender

female

48.0 %

male

46.6 %

unknown

5.4 %

Ethnicity

White

72.8 %

Asian

11.3 %

Hispanic or Latino

9.8 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.2 %

French

12.2 %

German

7.3 %
See More Demographics

Set Designer Education

Majors

Fine Arts
18.2 %
Theatre
10.3 %

Degrees

Bachelors

61.8 %

Associate

12.7 %

Certificate

9.7 %

Top Colleges for Set Designers

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

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

3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

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

4. Yale University

New Haven, CT • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,430
Enrollment
5,963

5. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

6. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Public

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

7. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

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

8. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845

9. University of Chicago

Chicago, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$58,230
Enrollment
6,600

10. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$13,226
Enrollment
31,568
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Set Designer

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, 27.9% of set designers listed set design on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and artistic ability are important as well.

  • Set Design, 27.9%
  • Art Direction, 15.2%
  • Production Meetings, 12.1%
  • Photography, 7.0%
  • Special Effects, 5.4%
  • Other Skills, 32.4%
  • See All Set Designer Skills

Best States For a Set Designer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a set designer. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, Michigan, New York, and Oklahoma. Set designers make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $66,880. Whereas in Michigan and New York, they would average $61,336 and $59,994, respectively. While set designers would only make an average of $59,982 in Oklahoma, 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. Michigan

Total Set Designer Jobs:
460
Highest 10% Earn:
$95,000
Location Quotient:
0.95
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 Set Designer Jobs:
1,176
Highest 10% Earn:
$93,000
Location Quotient:
1.47
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. Texas

Total Set Designer Jobs:
1,196
Highest 10% Earn:
$95,000
Location Quotient:
0.95
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
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Top Set Designer Employers

1. Thinkwell Group
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$66,233
Set Designers Hired: 
6+
2. NBCUniversal
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$58,897
Set Designers Hired: 
3+
3. The Walt Disney Company
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$68,186
Set Designers Hired: 
3+
4. Bath & Body Works
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$45,694
Set Designers Hired: 
3+
5. Club Med
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$42,124
Set Designers Hired: 
3+
6. Feature Films for Families
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$60,628
Set Designers Hired: 
3+