Creative Director Salary

Creative Directors in the United States with more than 10 years of experience in their profession represent nearly two-thirds of Creative Directors. Salaries average out to around $83K per year and spread from $43K to $163K per year. Cash earnings for Creative Directors — including $21K in bonuses and $25K in profit sharing proceeds near the top of the pay scale — generally stretch from $43K to $163K depending on individual performance. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is the specific employer, followed by the particular city and experience level. A large number report receiving medical coverage from their employers and the larger part collect dental insurance. For the most part, Creative Directors enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. There are more male Creative Directors than female among those who completed the questionnaire, making up 62 percent. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$44,426 - $152,383
(Median)
$44K
$83K
$150K
MEDIAN: $83,429
10%
50%
90%

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$13.27 - $102.24
(Median)
$13
$29
$100
MEDIAN: $29.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$60K$120K$180K
Salary
$44,426 - $152,383  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $20,645  
Profit Sharing
$1,024 - $25,001  
Commission
$2,980 - $38,783  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$42,758 - $162,857  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 3,612
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50$100$150
Hourly Rate
$13.27 - $102.24  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.36  
Overtime
$0.00 - $72.38  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$100K$200K$300K
Bonus
$0.00 - $20,645  
   
Commission
$2,980 - $38,783  
Profit Sharing
$1,024 - $25,001  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$42,758 - $162,857  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 285
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Job Description for Creative Director

The creative director is the leader of a team tasked with creating and implementing creative work; this could include projects in graphic design, advertising, music, media or similar fields. Their tasks vary depending on their industry and position; for example, they may work as a lead designer for websites, oversee copywriting for advertising campaigns or serve as the art director for a publication or advertising firm. Other tasks led by a creative director commonly include helping with the casting of a commercial, developing radio commercials, and helping guide copywriters and graphic designers on a wide variety of projects.

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Creative Director Tasks

  • Coordinate with relevant departments on all promotions productions.
  • Develop and manage creative teams to promote product brands.
  • Develop and manage creative ideas.
  • Develop and produce promotional spots.

Common Career Paths for Creative Director


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There are some Creative Directors — though it's uncommon — that transition into Executive Creative Directors, where earnings are an average $165K annually. Becoming a VP or Creative Director is, more often than not, the most common role that Creative Directors move into when they're ready for the next step in their career. The average salary for the position is $139K. Another frequent advance is for Creative Directors to assume a Creative Services Director role; in this role, workers often earn $76K.

Creative Director Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Creative Director


For Creative Directors, comfortable salaries can be found at Havas; in fact, median earnings sit around $163K, the highest in the area.

Popular Skills for Creative Director


Creative Directors report using a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in User Interface Design, Team Leadership, Copywriting, and Strategic Marketing are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 8 percent and 15 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Adobe InDesign, Graphic Design, and Adobe Photoshop. It is not unusual for someone who knows Adobe Illustrator to be familiar with Adobe Photoshop as well.

Pay by Experience Level for Creative Director

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


For many Creative Directors, experience and pay levels seem to be correlated; more years in the business generally lead to more money. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $54K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $75K. Creative Directors who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $99K. Veterans who have surpassed the 20-year mark may make only slightly more than those who are navigating the mid-career stage; the more senior group reports median earnings of around $104K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $84,943

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For Creative Directors, busy San Francisco offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 50 percent above the national average. Creative Directors will also find cushy salaries in New York (+43 percent), Boston (+33 percent), Chicago (+30 percent), and Seattle (+27 percent). Austin is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 14 percent. Employers also pay below the national average in San Diego (10 percent lower) and Dallas (6 percent lower).

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Creative Director Salaries



National Average
$85,000



Skills That Affect Creative Director Salaries





Advertising
up arrow 4%

Design
up arrow 2%

Branding
up arrow 1%

Marketing Communications
up arrow 1%

Product Development
0%

National Average
$85,000







Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 617 votes.

Gender

Female
38 %
Male
62 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
13%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
45%
20 years or more
21%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 80%
dental benefits
Dental: 65%
medical benefits
Vision: 52%
dental benefits
None: 18%
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