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Career and Education Opportunities for Industrial Designers in San Francisco, California

For those living in the San Francisco, California area, there are many career and education opportunities for industrial designers. Currently, 5,900 people work as industrial designers in California. This is expected to grow by 12% to 6,600 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for industrial designers are expected to grow by about 9.0%. In general, industrial designers develop and design manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys.

A person working as an industrial designer can expect to earn about $31 hourly or $66,220 per year on average in California and about $27 per hour or $57,350 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Industrial designers earn more than people working in the category of Art and Design generally in California and more than people in the Art and Design category nationally. People working as industrial designers can fill a number of jobs, such as: embroidery designer, surfboard designer, and product development engineer.

The San Francisco area is home to eighty-six schools of higher education, including eleven within twenty-five miles of San Francisco where you can get a degree as an industrial designer. Industrial designers usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years studying to be an industrial designer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Industrial Designer

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

In general, industrial designers develop and design manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys. They also combine artistic talent with research on product use, marketing, and materials to create the most functional and appealing product design.

Industrial designers ready sketches of concepts or blueprints, using drafting instruments, paints and brushes, or computer-aided layout equipment. They also talk with engineering or sales departments, or with customers, to determine and evaluate layout concepts for manufactured products. Equally important, industrial designers have to modify and refine designs, using working models, to conform with customer specifications or changes in layout trends. They are often called upon to present designs and reports to customers or layout committees for approval, and consider need for modification. They are expected to direct and schedule the fabrication of models or samples and the drafting of working drawings and specification sheets from sketches. Finally, industrial designers evaluate feasibility of layout concepts, on the basis of factors such as appearance, safety, function, serviceability, budget, production costs/methods, and market characteristics.

Every day, industrial designers are expected to be able to prioritize information for further consideration. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for industrial designers to read publications and study competing products and layout styles and motifs to obtain perspective and generate layout concepts. They are often called upon to direct the look and function of product lines. They also participate in new product planning or market research, including studying the potential need for new products. They are sometimes expected to investigate product characteristics such as the product's safety and handling qualities, its market appeal, how efficiently it can be produced, and ways of distributing, using and maintaining it. Somewhat less frequently, industrial designers are also expected to design manufacturing procedures and monitor the manufacture of their designs in a factory to further optimize operations and product quality.

Industrial designers sometimes are asked to advise corporations on issues involving corporate image projects or problems. And finally, they sometimes have to design industrial standards and regulatory guidelines.

Like many other jobs, industrial designers must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in San Francisco 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.
  • Craftsman. Create or reproduce hand-made objects for sale and exhibition using a variety of techniques, such as welding, weaving, and needlecraft.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Set and Exhibit Designer. Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Industrial Designer Training

California College of the Arts - Oakland, CA

California College of the Arts, 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618-1487. California College of the Arts is a small college located in Oakland, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,688 students. California College of the Arts has 3 areas of study related to Industrial Designer. They are:

  • Design and Visual Communications, master's degree which graduated 10 students in 2008.
  • Industrial Design, bachelor's degree which graduated 12 students in 2008.
  • Design and Applied Arts, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree which graduated 6 students in 2008.

College of Marin - Kentfield, CA

College of Marin, 835 College Ave, Kentfield, CA 94904-2590. College of Marin is a medium sized college located in Kentfield, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,577 students. College of Marin has an associate's degree program in Design and Visual Communications.

San Francisco Art Institute - San Francisco, CA

San Francisco Art Institute, 800 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94133-2299. San Francisco Art Institute is a small school located in San Francisco, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 592 students and an admission rate of 71%. San Francisco Art Institute has bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, and master's degree programs in Design and Visual Communications which graduated zero, zero, and seven students respectively in 2008.

College of San Mateo - San Mateo, CA

College of San Mateo, 1700 W Hillsdale Blvd, San Mateo, CA 94402-3784. College of San Mateo is a large college located in San Mateo, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,215 students. College of San Mateo has an associate's degree program in Commercial and Advertising Art which graduated one student in 2008.

Academy of Art University - San Francisco, CA

Academy of Art University, 79 New Montgomery, San Francisco, CA 94105. Academy of Art University is a large university located in San Francisco, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 13,335 students. Academy of Art University has 2 areas of study related to Industrial Designer. They are:

  • Commercial and Advertising Art, associate's degree, bachelor's degree, and master's degree which graduated two, thirty-four, and twenty-nine students respectively in 2008.
  • Industrial Design, associate's degree, bachelor's degree, and master's degree which graduated three, thirty-four, and seven students respectively in 2008.

University of California-Berkeley - Berkeley, CA

University of California-Berkeley, , Berkeley, CA 94720. University of California-Berkeley is a large university located in Berkeley, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 35,353 students and an admission rate of 23%. University of California-Berkeley has a master's degree program in Design and Visual Communications which graduated two students in 2008.

Chabot College - Hayward, CA

Chabot College, 25555 Hesperian Blvd, Hayward, CA 94545. Chabot College is a large college located in Hayward, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,299 students. Chabot College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Commercial and Advertising Art which graduated three and five students respectively in 2008.

The Art Institute of California-San Francisco - San Francisco, CA

The Art Institute of California-San Francisco, 1170 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102-4908. The Art Institute of California-San Francisco is a small school located in San Francisco, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,558 students and an admission rate of 41%. The Art Institute of California-San Francisco has a master's degree program in Design and Applied Arts, Other Specialties which graduated four students in 2008.

University of San Francisco - San Francisco, CA

University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94117-1080. University of San Francisco is a medium sized university located in San Francisco, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 8,772 students and an admission rate of 64%. University of San Francisco has a bachelor's degree program in Commercial and Advertising Art which graduated four students in 2008.

The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Francisco - San Francisco, CA

The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Francisco, 55 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108-5805. The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Francisco is a small school located in San Francisco, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 900 students and an admission rate of 67%. The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Francisco has an associate's degree program in Design and Visual Communications which graduated sixty students in 2008.

Laney College - Oakland, CA

Laney College, 900 Fallon St, Oakland, CA 94607. Laney College is a large college located in Oakland, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 13,104 students. Laney College has an associate's degree program in Commercial and Advertising Art.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Lighting Management Consultant: The lighting industry prides itself on distinguishing those persons who have accomplished this professional and personal achievement.

For more information, see the International Association of Lighting Management Companies website.

Certified Apprentice Lighting Technician: NALMCO offers a home study certification program, the Certified Apprentice Lighting Technician (CALT), which is indispensable for both entry-level and midlevel lighting management personnel.

For more information, see the International Association of Lighting Management Companies website.

Certified Senior Lighting Technician: NALMCO offers a home study certification program, the Certified Senior Lighting Technician (CSLT) which is indispensable for both entry-level and midlevel lighting management personnel.

For more information, see the International Association of Lighting Management Companies website.

Web Graphics and Multimedia Certificate: Equips the student for work as a Web graphic artist, creating illustrations, pictures, buttons, and other images for use on the Web, as well as the ability to create interactive multimedia designs in Flash or other programs.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Highway Design: This certification program was designed for engineering technicians who are engaged in the preparation of plans, specifications, and estimates for proposed highway construction projects.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Certified Playground Safety Inspector: Known as the most comprehensive training program on public playground safety, NRPA's National Playground Safety Institute offers hours of training by nationally certified playground safety experts, and prepares professionals for the Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) exam.

For more information, see the National Recreation and Park Association website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California photo by Optigan13

San Francisco is located in San Francisco County, California. It has a population of over 808,976, which has grown by 4.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in San Francisco, 180, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Francisco cost $218,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, fifty-seven new homes were built in San Francisco, up from fifty-five the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in San Francisco are professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 31 minutes. More than 45.0% of San Francisco residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 16.4%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of San Francisco residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.8%, is less than both the national and state average. Gold Mountain Monastery, Golden Gate Community Church of the Nazarene and Golden Gate Lutheran Church are among the churches located in San Francisco. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the United Methodist Church.

San Francisco is home to the Pier 88 and the Prayer Book Cross as well as Helen Wills Playground and Music Concourse. Shopping malls in the area include Yerba Buena Square Shopping Center, Fox Plaza Shopping Center and Galleria At Crocker Center Shopping Center. Visitors to San Francisco can choose from Astoria Hotel, A-1 Inn Motel and Best Western Canterbury Hotel for temporary stays in the area.