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What is this job like?
Designers have a desire to create. They mix knowledge with artistic ability. Designers focus in a specific area of design such as cars or Web sites.
Designers make drafts or drawings by hand or with a computer. Most use computer-aided design (CAD) tools. Designers need up-to-date computer and telephone equipment.
Most designers specialize, but a few do work in more than one area. For example, commercial and industrial designers develop man-made products like toys and furniture. Fashion designersmake clothing and accessories like belts and hats. Floral designers cut and set up live, dried, or fake flowers into designs. Graphic designers use computer software to design newspapers, publications, and Internet Web pages. Interior designers plan the interiors of places like homes, offices, and hotels. Merchandise displayers and window dressers, or visual merchandisers, plan and set up windows and interiors of retail stores. Set and exhibit designers create sets for movie, television, and theater productions.
Designers may work in their own office or in their clients' home or office. They set their schedules to please their clients. They may work long hours, including evenings or weekends, to meet deadlines.
Some may travel. Those who are paid by contract are under stress to please clients and to find new ones to keep a steady income.
How do you get ready?
Designers must have an eye for color and detail. Being creative is also important. Designers also need problem-solving skills, communication skills, and must be good with computers.
Most designers need formal training after high school. Some attend a professional design school or may get an associate degree, but in general most need a bachelor's degree. It is typical for fashion and graphic designers to get a degree in the fine arts. Industrial and commercial designers usually get a degree in architecture or engineering. A few designers, like floral designers, learn their skills on the job.
New interior, graphic, and industrial and commercial designers get on-the-job training for 1 to 3 years. Fashion designers usually get their training through summer internships or by working in retail. Some designers may decide to become teachers in design schools. Some open their own design businesses.
How many jobs are there?
Designers held about 612,100 jobs in 2008. About 1 out of 4 was self-employed. Many self-employed designers also had another job in design or in some other occupation.What about the future?
Employment of most types of designers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2018. The need for better and safer products will mean more jobs for industrial and commercial designers. As homeowners and businesses have more money to spend on design, more interior designer jobs will be created. As Internet business grows and more companies advertise their products, there will be a need for more graphic designers. However, employment of floral designers will decline slowly as sales are expected to decrease. Also, fashion designers will have little or no change in the number of jobs because very few people leave the occupation and there are a small number of job openings.
Most designers are expected to face tough competition for jobs because many talented people are attracted to a career in design. However, job opportunities should be good for floral designers as many people leave the occupation due to low pay.
How much does this job pay?
In 2008, earnings of designers varied widely. For example, the average yearly wages of floral designers were $24,510 in May 2008. The average yearly wages of interior designers were more than double that amount, $51,020. Graphic designers, the largest design occupation, earned $46,750 per year on average as of May 2008.
Are there other jobs like this?
Computer software engineers