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The average salary in the design field looks strong for the years ahead. Student work by Julie Finch.

Design Career Guide

Design Career and Salary Outlook

Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO of Apple, once said: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Today, thanks to the design and technology innovations of the last thirty years, design is regarded as a serious and rewarding career option. Whether you aspire to create great logos, stunning Web sites, or innovative products, a career in design can mean not just a creative field but also stability, professional recognition, and compensation.

Looking for proof? Check out the following design career and salary statistics, compiled from authoritative design industry sources.

U.S. Design Career Statistics and Salaries

These are statistics for full-time or freelance employment in fields related to our programs in the United States.

  • Employment of graphic designers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations. Graphic designers are expected to face strong competition for available positions (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median annual salary for graphic designers in 2020 was $53,380 (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • The median salary for Web Developers and Digital Designers in 2020 was $77,200.(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • In 2020, California and New York offered the highest levels of employment in the field of graphic design, while Washington D.C. boasted the highest-paid graphic designers (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Employment of graphic designers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2020 to 2030 (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • The average annual salary for Web Developers and Digital Interface Designers was $85,490 in 2020 (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Employment of photographers is projected to grow 17 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • The median hourly wage for photographers was $19.85 in May 2020 (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Sixty four percent of photographers are self-employed (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Career and Salary Information Sources

There are many reputable sources to perform your own research of career and salary opportunities. Our favorite sources include: