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Starting Salaries in Industrial Design

by Rick Suttle

Manufacturers rely on industrial designers to develop new products that appeal to businesses and consumers. Many industrial designers work in the automotive, home-appliance and toy industries, developing product concepts, sketching styles, features and models of products, and evaluating product appearance and safety. If you want to become an industrial designer, you need at least a bachelor's degree. In return, you can expect to earn a competitive starting salary.

Starting Salaries Near $50,000

The average starting salary for an industrial designer was $48,000 as of 2013, according to the job site Simply Hired. To become an industrial designer, you need at least a bachelor's degree in industrial design, architecture or engineering. Some of these professionals earn a Master of Business Administration to better understand how to integrate their designs into their company's business plans, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Other essential qualifications for this job include creativity and technical, interpersonal, critical-thinking, problem-solving and computer skills.

D.C. Pays Best

In 2013, starting salaries for industrial designers varied more within the West region, according to Simply Hired, where they earned the highest starting salaries of $76,000 in Washington, D.C., and the lowest of $38,000 in Mississippi. Those in the West made $39,000 to $55,000 per year in Montana and California, respectively. If you worked as an industrial designer in Maine or Massachusetts, you'd earn an average of $44,000 or $59,000, respectively -- the lowest and highest starting salaries in the Northeast. In the Midwest, you'd make the most in Minnesota or Illinois or least in South Dakota at $51,000 or $38,000, respectively.

Experience Pays

While starting salaries for industrial designers were $48,000 in 2013, according to Simply Hired, the average annual salary for all industrial designers was $62,430 as of May 2012, according to the BLS. This suggests that industrial designers earn higher salaries as they gain experience. Industrial designers earned the most in Oregon at $81,610, according to 2012 BLS data, and the second and third highest in New Mexico and Missouri at $80,860 and $72,420, respectively.

Average Job Growth

The BLS estimates a 10 percent increase in jobs for industrial designers from 2010 to 2020, which is statistically about average compared to the projected 14 percent rate for all jobs. Manufacturing companies need industrial designers to create new products and styles, which should increase jobs for these professionals. You may find more available jobs as an industrial designer in the precision and medical instruments industries. Precision instruments can include robotic systems used in automotive or food plants.

Photo Credits

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