Exhibit Designer: Career Info & Requirements

Exhibit designers are professionals who are responsible for the preparation of museum and gallery exhibits and often work alongside such museum and gallery professionals as curators and gallery managers. Find out the required skills, education options, salary and employment outlook for this career.

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Career Definition for an Exhibit Designer

The design, planning and arrangement of museum and gallery exhibitions can be a complicated process, and the specific role an exhibit designer plays in this process can depend on the needs of an employer. Some exhibit designers may be responsible for the planning, budgeting, coordination and construction of an exhibit, while others may have more limited responsibilities as members of a larger team. Typical tasks for exhibit designers include the consideration of how and where to display certain objects, conferring with curators about which objects should be included in an exhibit, drawing up plans for the construction of exhibit-specific structures and communicating with other staff to ensure the proper execution of exhibit design plans.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's in a relevant field
Job Skills Strong grasp of design principles and techniques, good teamwork and communication skills, and strong organizational skills
Median Salary (2017)* $53,090 (set and exhibit designers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 10% (set and exhibit designers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

It is generally required for prospective exhibit designers to hold a bachelor's degree in a relevant field and to have work experience in some aspect of museum and gallery exhibit preparation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), considerable preparation is needed for those wishing to work as exhibit designers, with 39% of those employed in the field holding a bachelor's and 39% earning postgraduate or professional degrees as of 2018 (www.bls.gov).

Required Skills

As exhibit designers generally work as a part of a team, they must be able to work well with others. Communication skills and the ability to listen well are also very important. Additionally, exhibition design requires good organizational and coordination skills, as well as the ability to solve complex problems and make important decisions under the pressure of time limits. Exhibit designers will generally need to have a strong grasp of basic design principles and techniques in order to properly perform many required tasks.

Career and Economic Outlook

The BLS projects a faster-than-average job growth of 10% for set and exhibit designers from 2016 through 2026. According to the BLS, the median wage for set and exhibit designers as of May 2017 was $53,090 annually.

Alternate Career Options

Similar career options in this field include:

Interior Designer

Still requiring a bachelor's degree, some designers might decide to go a step further and design the indoor spaces of entire homes, restaurants or shopping malls. The BLS anticipated 4% expansion in jobs for interior designers from 2016-2026 and reported an annual median salary of $51,500 in 2017.

Architect

These professionals normally earn a five-year bachelor's degree while learning to design buildings and other structures. A slower-than-average job growth of 4% was predicted by the BLS for 2016-2026. The BLS reported a median annual wage of $78,470 for architects in 2017.

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