How To Become An Industrial Designer

The vehicles, gadgets and toys that we enjoy today first started out as ideas in the mind of a very imaginative individual. If the thought of developing designs and creating prototypes of these is something you want to do then a career as an industrial designer is something to consider. In this profession, you’ll have the opportunity to draw or use computer software to create virtual models of home appliances, toys, automobiles and other gadgets. You’ll be at the forefront of new developments as you work with mechanical engineers or manufacturers to determine if the design is feasible, practical and affordable. You’ll also be presenting your ideas and prototypes to clients for their approval.

This profession obviously requires a lot of creativity, imagination and artistic abilities. In addition, you will also need to possess problem-solving and mechanical skills as well as knowledge of computer software that will help in the design making process.

Why Become An Industrial Designer

A career in industrial design is truly rewarding for those who want to play a hand in the development of new products that will improve people’s lives. It is also satisfying profession for those who are highly imaginative and innovative. Forming an idea and actually going through the process of realizing it to an actual and functional object is extremely gratifying. Industrial designers make the world a better and safer place with their ideas.

Industrial Designer Work Environment

Majority of industrial designers work in the manufacturing industry. Others are in specialized design services, wholesale trade and architectural, engineering and related services. Still others were self-employed. Industrial designers work fulltime in offices equipped with sketching designs, computers and other office equipment. When their designs are already being made, they may need to go to design centers and testing facilities to check on the progress of the project.

Industrial Designer Salary

In May 2013, commercial and industrial designers received a mean annual wage of $64,570 or median wage of $29.99 per hour based on data from the Occupational Employment and Wages report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In May 2012, the agency said that the highest paid industrial designers worked for the architectural, engineering and related services industry. Those connected with specialized design services and manufacturing industries followed.

Average Industrial Designer Annual Salary


The average annual salary for industrial designers is $70,540 a year. Salaries start at $36,430 a year and go up to $106,950 a year.

Average Industrial Designer Hourly Wage


The average hourly wage for a industrial designer is $33.91. Hourly wages are between $17.51 and $51.42 an hour.

Stats were based out of 31,250 employed industrial designers in the United States.

Highest Paying States For Industrial Designers

Top Paying Cities For Industrial Designers

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Industrial Designer Career Outlook

For the ten year period covering 2012 to 2022, employment of industrial designers is expected to experience a growth rate of 4 percent. This is slower than the average for all job types. Industrial designers are more likely to find employment in the precision instruments and medical equipment fields but employment in the manufacturing industry is expected to slow down. As a result of the slow demand, competition for available jobs is going to fierce. Those with solid knowledge and background of two- and three-dimensional computer-aided design and computer-aided industrial design are going to have an edge. Since the thrust is now in using sustainable resources, applicants with a strong working knowledge of this area are also going to have better job prospects.

Industrial Designer Degree

Industrial designers hold a bachelor’s degree in industrial design, architecture or engineering. In these programs, they learn sketching, computer-aided design and drafting, industrial materials and processes and manufacturing methods. Before one can be admitted to these degree programs, however, students need to complete basic courses in art and design. While in the degree program, students get the chance to build their portfolios which employers are going to ask later on to prove their abilities. These can be done through projects that they complete in the classroom as well as through internships or other experiences. More and more designers are taking up Master’s of Business Administration or MBA to enhance their knowledge on the business aspect of designing products as they also need to work within a set budget for their projects.

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