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Career and Education Opportunities for Set and Exhibit Designers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for set and exhibit designers in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. The national trend for set and exhibit designers 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 $16 per hour or $34,710 per year on average in Pennsylvania. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $21 per hour or $44,660 annually on average. Incomes for set and exhibit designers are not quite as good as in the overall category of Art and Design in Pennsylvania, and not quite as good as the overall Art and Design category nationally. Jobs in this field include: miniature set designer, stage set designer, and museum curator.

There are eighty-three schools of higher education in the Pittsburgh area, including nine within twenty-five miles of Pittsburgh where you can get a degree to start your career as a set and exhibit designer. Given that the most common education level for set and exhibit designers is a Bachelor's degree, it will take about four years to learn to be 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 Pittsburgh 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.
  • 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

Carnegie Mellon University - Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890. Carnegie Mellon University is a large university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,646 students and an admission rate of 29%. Carnegie Mellon University has 3 areas of study related to Set and Exhibit Designer. They are:

  • Design and Visual Communications, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated zero, zero, and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Design and Applied Arts, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated zero and fifteen students respectively in 2008.
  • Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology, bachelor's degree and master's degree.

Robert Morris University - Moon Township, PA

Robert Morris University, 6001 University Boulevard, Moon Township, PA 15108-1189. Robert Morris University is a small university located in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,767 students and an admission rate of 75%. Robert Morris University has a bachelor's degree program in Design and Visual Communications which graduated thirty-two students in 2008.

Seton Hill University - Greensburg, PA

Seton Hill University, Seton Hill Dr, Greensburg, PA 15601. Seton Hill University is a small university located in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,010 students and an admission rate of 63%. Seton Hill University has a bachelor's degree program in Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology which graduated one student in 2008.

Douglas Education Center - Monessen, PA

Douglas Education Center, 130 7th St, Monessen, PA 15062. Douglas Education Center is a small school located in Monessen, Pennsylvania. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 222 students. Douglas Education Center has 2 areas of study related to Set and Exhibit Designer. They are:

  • Design and Visual Communications, associate's degree which graduated 80 students in 2008.
  • Illustration, associate's degree which graduated 5 students in 2008.

La Roche College - Pittsburgh, PA

La Roche College, 9000 Babcock Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15237-5898. La Roche College is a small college located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,425 students and an admission rate of 57%. La Roche College has 2 areas of study related to Set and Exhibit Designer. They are:

  • Design and Visual Communications, bachelor's degree which graduated 21 students in 2008.
  • Design and Applied Arts, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree.

Community College of Allegheny County - Pittsburgh, PA

Community College of Allegheny County, 800 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233-1895. Community College of Allegheny County is a large college located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,366 students. Community College of Allegheny County has a less than one year program in Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology which graduated two students in 2008.

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh, PA

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, 420 Boulevard of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1328. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh is a small school located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,985 students and an admission rate of 46%. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Design and Applied Arts, Other Specialties which graduated zero and twenty-two students respectively in 2008.

Point Park University - Pittsburgh, PA

Point Park University, 201 Wood St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222-1984. Point Park University is a small university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,846 students and an admission rate of 79%. Point Park University has 2 areas of study related to Set and Exhibit Designer. They are:

  • Design and Visual Communications, bachelor's degree.
  • Design and Applied Arts, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree.

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh-Online Division - Pittsburgh, PA

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh-Online Division, 1400 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222-4332. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh-Online Division is a medium sized school located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,250 students and an admission rate of 53%. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh-Online Division has a bachelor's degree program in Design and Visual Communications which graduated two students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania photo by Conk 9

Pittsburgh is located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 310,037, which has shrunk by 7.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Pittsburgh, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Pittsburgh cost $196,700 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eighty-five new homes were built in Pittsburgh, up from one hundred seventeen the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Pittsburgh are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 26.2% of Pittsburgh residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Pittsburgh is 7.8%, which is less than Pennsylvania's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Pittsburgh residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 71.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Saint Pauls Cathedral, Saint Patrick Roman Cathlic Church and Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church are some of the churches located in Pittsburgh. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church.

Pittsburgh is home to the Mount Washington Overlook and the Golden Triangle as well as Magee Playground and Kennard Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Shadyside Shopping Center and Allegheny Center Mall. Visitors to Pittsburgh can choose from Best Western University Center, Avalon Motel and Four Points By Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport for temporary stays in the area.