Creative Director Salary

With approximately two in three of Creative Directors in the United States reporting more than 10 years of experience, the field is heavily weighted toward experienced professionals. Average pay for Creative Directors is $86K annually and can range from $43K on the lower end to $164K per year near the higher end. In the world of Creative Directors, overall income ranges from $43K near the bottom to $164K at the top; this can include more than $25K from bonuses and more than $40K from profit sharing in exceptional cases. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is location, followed by the specific employer and experience level. Most Creative Directors like their work and job satisfaction is high. A strong majority enjoy medical while the larger part get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to over one-half. There are more male Creative Directors than female among those who completed the questionnaire, making up 60 percent. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$45,242 - $154,275
$45K
$86K
$150K
MEDIAN: $86,118
10%
50%
90%

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$14.09 - $92.91
$14
$24
$93
MEDIAN: $24.45
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
$45,242 - $154,275  
   
Bonus
$1,041 - $24,934  
Profit Sharing
$1,010 - $39,594  
Commission
$2,928 - $18,000  
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).
)
$42,568 - $163,767  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 4 May 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 2,730
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$31$62$93
Hourly Rate
$14.09 - $92.91  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.05  
Overtime
$10.67 - $77.73  
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$70K$140K$210K
Bonus
$1,041 - $24,934  
   
Commission
$2,928 - $18,000  
Profit Sharing
$1,010 - $39,594  
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).
)
$42,568 - $163,767  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 4 May 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 241

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United States (change)

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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

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

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 $172K annually. More often than not, a VP or Creative Director role is the next step for Creative Directors moving up in the field. VPs and Creative Directors usually make $143K per year. Many other Creative Directors choose to take on a Marketing Director role, where salaries are typically $80K.

Creative Director Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Creative Director


Havas offers the largest salaries in town — $151K on average.

Popular Skills for Creative Director


Survey results imply that Creative Directors deploy a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in User Interface Design, Copywriting, Team Leadership, and Strategic Marketing are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 9 percent and 17 percent. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Graphic Design, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Photoshop. Those familiar with Adobe Illustrator also tend to know Graphic Design.

Pay by Experience Level for Creative Director

Pay by Experience for a Creative Director has a positive trend. An entry-level Creative Director with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $54,000 based on 627 salaries provided by anonymous users. Average total compensation includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay. A Creative Director with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $79,000 based on 916 salaries. An experienced Creative Director which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $101,000 based on 1,517 salaries. A Creative Director with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $106,000 based on 620 salaries.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $86,435

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

Surpassing the national average by 71 percent, Creative Directors in San Francisco receive some of the highest pay in the country. Creative Directors can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+37 percent), Los Angeles (+31 percent), Seattle (+28 percent), and Boston (+19 percent). The smallest paychecks in the market, 18 percent south of the national average, can be found in Austin. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Charlotte (7 percent less) and Miami (3 percent less).

Creative Director Reviews

Q: What is it like working as a Creative Director?

Creative Director in Seattle:
"Best Dream Job!"
Pros: I love the collaboration and strategic thinking that comes with this position. Each week I have a new creative project that I dream up and then follow to fruition. It's wonderful.
Cons: Haven't really found a negative that is greater than a simple change in direction.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Creative Director

Gender

Female
40 %
Male
60 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 446 votes.
Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
14%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
45%
20 years or more
22%
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Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Creative Director Salaries

▲23%

▲16%

National Average
$86,000

▼9%

▼38%

Skills That Affect Creative Director Salaries

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 446 votes.

Gender

Female
40 %
Male
60 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
14%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
45%
20 years or more
22%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 79%
dental benefits
Dental: 65%
vision benefits
Vision: 54%
no benefits
None: 19%
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