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Career and Education Opportunities for Set and Exhibit Designers in San Diego, California

There are many career and education opportunities for set and exhibit designers in the San Diego, California area. Currently, 2,300 people work as set and exhibit designers in California. This is expected to grow 17% to about 2,700 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for set and exhibit designers, which sees this job pool growing by about 16.6% over the next eight years. In general, set and exhibit designers design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets.

The income of a set and exhibit designer is about $24 per hour or $50,930 per year on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $21 per hour or $44,660 per year on average. Incomes for set and exhibit designers are not quite as good as in the overall category of Art and Design in California, and not quite as good as the overall Art and Design category nationally. Set and exhibit designers work in a variety of jobs, including: design chief, food stylist, and production manager.

The San Diego area is home to sixty schools of higher education, including six within twenty-five miles of San Diego where you can get a degree as a set and exhibit designer. The most common level of education for set and exhibit designers is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years training to become a set and exhibit designer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Set and Exhibit Designer

Set and Exhibit Designer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, set and exhibit designers design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. They also may study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.

Set and exhibit designers estimate set- or exhibit-related costs including materials and rental of props or locations. They also direct and schedule construction, erection, or decoration efforts in order to insure that sets or exhibits meet layout and schedule requirements. Equally important, set and exhibit designers have to talk with clients and staff so as to gather data related to exhibit space, proposed themes and content and/or promotion requirements. They are often called upon to acquire, or manage acquisition of, specimens or graphics required to finish exhibits. They are expected to submit plans for approval, and adapt plans to serve intended purposes, or to conform to budget or fabrication restrictions. Finally, set and exhibit designers design for location-specific issues such as space limitations, traffic flow patterns, and safety concerns.

Every day, set and exhibit designers are expected to be able to visualize how things come together and can be organized. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for set and exhibit designers to layout and produce displays and materials that can be used to decorate windows or event locations such as streets and fairgrounds. They are often called upon to direct the removal of sets and exhibits after productions or events are complete. They also research architectural and stylistic elements appropriate to the time period to be depicted, consulting experts for data as needed. They are sometimes expected to decide on and purchase lumber and hardware needed for set construction. Somewhat less frequently, set and exhibit designers are also expected to observe sets during rehearsals in order to insure that set elements do not interfere with performance aspects such as cast movement and camera angles.

and design set designs on the basis of evaluation of scripts and available locations. And finally, they sometimes have to ready rough drafts and scale working drawings of sets, including floor plans and properties to be constructed.

Like many other jobs, set and exhibit designers must believe in innovation and creative thought and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in San Diego include:

  • Art Director. Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches, and direct workers engaged in art work, layout design, and copy writing for visual communications media, such as magazines, books, and packaging.
  • Audio Visual Technician. Set up or set up and operate audio and video equipment including microphones, sound speakers, video screens, projectors, video monitors, recording equipment, connecting wires and cables, sound and mixing boards, and related electronic equipment for concerts, sports events, meetings and conventions, presentations, and news conferences. May also set up and operate associated spotlights and other custom lighting systems.
  • Camera Operator. Operate television, video, or motion picture camera to photograph images or scenes for various purposes, such as TV broadcasts, advertising, or motion pictures.
  • Choreographer. Create and teach dance. May direct and stage presentations.
  • Craftsman. Create or reproduce hand-made objects for sale and exhibition using a variety of techniques, such as welding, weaving, and needlecraft.
  • Dancer. Perform dances. May also sing or act.
  • Director. Interpret script, conduct rehearsals, and direct activities of cast and technical crew for stage, motion pictures, or radio programs.
  • Display Specialist. Plan and erect commercial displays.
  • Fashion Designer. Design clothing and accessories. Create original garments or design garments that follow well established fashion trends. May develop the line of color and kinds of materials.
  • Fine Artist. Create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.
  • Florist. Design, cut, and arrange live, dried, or artificial flowers and foliage.
  • Graphic Designer. Design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.
  • Industrial Designer. Develop and design manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys. Combine artistic talent with research on product use, marketing, and materials to create the most functional and appealing product design.
  • Interior Designer. Plan, design, and furnish interiors of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. Formulate design which is practical, aesthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style. May specialize in a particular field, style, or phase of interior design.
  • Multi-Media Artist or Animator. Create special effects, animation, or other visual images using film, video, or other electronic tools and media for use in products or creations, such as computer games, movies, and commercials.
  • Photographer. Photograph persons, subjects, or other commercial products. May develop negatives and produce finished prints.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Set and Exhibit Designer Training

Grossmont College - El Cajon, CA

Grossmont College, 8800 Grossmont College Dr, El Cajon, CA 92020-1799. Grossmont College is a large college located in El Cajon, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 18,227 students. Grossmont College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology.

MiraCosta College - Oceanside, CA

MiraCosta College, One Barnard Drive, Oceanside, CA 92056-3899. MiraCosta College is a large college located in Oceanside, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,910 students. MiraCosta College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology which graduated one, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.

San Diego City College - San Diego, CA

San Diego City College, 1313 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101-4787. San Diego City College is a large college located in San Diego, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,372 students. San Diego City College has 2 areas of study related to Set and Exhibit Designer. They are:

  • Illustration, less than one year and associate's degree.
  • Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology, less than one year.

Palomar College - San Marcos, CA

Palomar College, 1140 W. Mission, San Marcos, CA 92069-1487. Palomar College is a large college located in San Marcos, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 28,093 students. Palomar College has 2 areas of study related to Set and Exhibit Designer. They are:

  • Design and Visual Communications, associate's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology, less than one year and two to four year which graduated one and zero students respectively in 2008.

San Diego Miramar College - San Diego, CA

San Diego Miramar College, 10440 Black Mountain Rd, San Diego, CA 92126-2999. San Diego Miramar College is a large college located in San Diego, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,455 students. San Diego Miramar College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Design and Visual Communications.

ITT Technical Institute-San Diego - San Diego, CA

ITT Technical Institute-San Diego, 9680 Granite Ridge Dr, San Diego, CA 92123. ITT Technical Institute-San Diego is a small school located in San Diego, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,356 students and an admission rate of 48%. ITT Technical Institute-San Diego has an associate's degree program in Design and Visual Communications.

LOCATION INFORMATION: San Diego, California

San Diego, California
San Diego, California photo by FlickreviewR

San Diego is situated in San Diego County, California. It has a population of over 1,279,329, which has grown by 4.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in San Diego, 141, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Diego are valued at $323,700 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, six hundred forty-one new homes were constructed in San Diego, down from seven hundred forty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in San Diego are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 35.0% of San Diego residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in San Diego is 10.5%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of San Diego residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.7%, is less than both the national and state average. Penasquitos Nazarene Church, Peace Lutheran Church and Paul E Kidd African Methodist Episcopal Church are some of the churches located in San Diego. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

San Diego is home to the Zlac Rowing Club and the Rancho Los Penasquitos Golf Course as well as Adobe Bluffs Park and John F Kennedy Park. Shopping malls in the area include San Diego Factory Outlet Shopping Center, San Carlos Shopping Center and Montgomery Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to San Diego can choose from Best Western Posada at the Yac, Beachfront San Diego and Banana Bungalow Hostel San Diego for temporary stays in the area.