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Career and Education Opportunities for Set and Exhibit Designers in Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for set and exhibit designers. There are currently 450 working set and exhibit designers in Florida; this should grow 9% to about 490 working set and exhibit designers in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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 $21 per hour or $45,150 annually on average in Florida. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $21 per hour or $44,660 annually on average. Earnings for set and exhibit designers are better than earnings in the general category of Art and Design in Florida and not quite as good as general Art and Design category earnings nationally. People working as set and exhibit designers can fill a number of jobs, such as: display designer, display coordinator, and scenic designer.

There are fifty-four schools of higher education in the Tampa area, including four within twenty-five miles of Tampa where you can get a degree to start your career as a set and exhibit designer. Set and exhibit designers usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so 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 Tampa 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.
  • 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

Florida Southern College - Lakeland, FL

Florida Southern College, 111 Lake Hollingsworth Dr, Lakeland, FL 33801-5698. Florida Southern College is a small college located in Lakeland, Florida. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,319 students and an admission rate of 67%. Florida Southern College has a bachelor's degree program in Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology which graduated two students in 2008.

Southeastern University - Lakeland, FL

Southeastern University, 1000 Longfellow Blvd, Lakeland, FL 33801-6034. Southeastern University is a small university located in Lakeland, Florida. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 3,075 students. Southeastern University has a bachelor's degree program in Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology which graduated one student in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Tampa - Tampa, FL

ITT Technical Institute-Tampa, 4809 Memorial Hwy, Tampa, FL 33634-7350. ITT Technical Institute-Tampa is a small school located in Tampa, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 813 students and an admission rate of 44%. ITT Technical Institute-Tampa has an associate's degree program in Design and Visual Communications.

ITT Technical Institute-Pinellas Park - Pinellas Park, FL

ITT Technical Institute-Pinellas Park, 3491 Gandy Blvd Ste 101, Pinellas Park, FL 33781. ITT Technical Institute-Pinellas Park is a small school located in Pinellas Park, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 219 students and an admission rate of 34%. ITT Technical Institute-Pinellas Park has an associate's degree program in Design and Visual Communications.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida
Tampa, Florida photo by Caltrop

Tampa is located in Hillsborough County, Florida. It has a population of over 340,882, which has grown by 12.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Tampa, 95, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Tampa are valued at $188,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, six hundred thirty-five new homes were constructed in Tampa, down from 1,008 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Tampa are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 25.4% of Tampa residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Tampa is 11.8%, which is greater than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Tampa residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.8%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abundant Life Assembly of God Church, Florida Tampa Mission and Most Holy Redeemer Church are among the churches located in Tampa. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Tampa is home to the Parkers Railroad Station and the Drew Station Railroad Station as well as Ybor City Museum State Park and American Legion Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Northgate Shopping Center, Old Hyde Park Village Shopping Center and Benttree Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Tampa can choose from Backstage Restaurant & Lounge, Baymont Tampa Busch Gardens and Budget Inn for temporary stays in the area.