Creative Director Salary

Creative Directors in the United States tend to have a good amount of experience under their belt — slightly less than two-thirds have more than 10 years in the field. While pay runs from $42K to $165K per year, median earnings come to $87K per year. Overall incomes of Creative Directors — including $25K bonuses, $41K profit sharing proceeds, and $25K commissions on the more lucrative end — generally ranges between $42K and $165K. This group's pay is mainly influenced by location, followed by the company and tenure. The majority of Creative Directors (60 percent) who took the survey are men. Medical benefits are awarded to a fair number, and a majority earn dental coverage. The majority of Creative Directors claim high levels of job satisfaction. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$45,093 - $155,852
$45K
$87K
$160K
MEDIAN: $86,679
10%
50%
90%

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$14.11 - $98.73
$14
$24
$99
MEDIAN: $24.48
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
$45,093 - $155,852  
   
Bonus
$1,239 - $24,956  
Profit Sharing
$1,226 - $40,645  
Commission
$2,483 - $25,168  
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).
)
$42,338 - $165,480  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 2,714
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$33$66$99
Hourly Rate
$14.11 - $98.73  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.05  
Overtime
$11.00 - $75.04  
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
$1,239 - $24,956  
   
Commission
$2,483 - $25,168  
Profit Sharing
$1,226 - $40,645  
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).
)
$42,338 - $165,480  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 239

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

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

  • 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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Creative Directors do not often transition into Executive Creative Director roles. The role averages $172K per year. The most common career progression for Creative Directors leads to becoming a VP or Creative Director, where average pay is $142K annually. However, many Creative Directors also opt to become Creative Services Directors. Typically, a Creative Services Director brings home $76K.

Creative Director Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Creative Director


The biggest paychecks can be found at Havas — the median salary there is $151K.

Popular Skills for Creative Director


Creative Directors report using a large range 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 14 percent. Skills that pay less than market rate include Adobe InDesign, Graphic Design, and Adobe Photoshop. The majority of those who know Adobe Illustrator also know Graphic Design.

Pay by Experience Level for Creative Director

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


For many Creative Directors, more experience generally translates to higher pay. Salaries of relatively inexperienced workers fall in the neighborhood of $54K, but folks who have racked up five to 10 years see a notably higher median of $79K. Experienced professionals who have spent one to two decades on the job can score lucrative paychecks that average out to $101K. Creative Directors who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $107K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $87,002

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

San Francisco offers some of the highest pay in the country for Creative Directors, 69 percent above the national average. Creative Directors will also find cushy salaries in Seattle (+39 percent), New York (+34 percent), Los Angeles (+32 percent), and Boston (+20 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Austin, 19 percent below the national average. Employers pay around 18 percent less in Salt Lake City and 2 percent less in Miami, below-median salaries for those in this field.

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 421 votes.
Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
14%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
43%
20 years or more
22%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Creative Director Salaries

▲23%

▲16%

National Average
$87,000

▼10%

▼38%

Skills That Affect Creative Director Salaries



▲8%


▲1%

▲1%

Branding
▼0%

National Average
$87,000




▼9%





Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 421 votes.

Gender

Female
40 %
Male
60 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
14%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
43%
20 years or more
22%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 79%
dental benefits
Dental: 65%
vision benefits
Vision: 54%
dental benefits
None: 19%
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