Creative Directors in the United States tend to have a good amount of experience under their belt — just under two-thirds have more than 10 years in the field. While pay runs from $43K to $165K per year, median earnings come to $86K per year. Total cash earnings of Creative Directors range from $43K on the low end to $165K on the high end; the final amount can include bonuses and profit sharing proceeds that occasionally exceed $25K and $40K, respectively. The company is the main element affecting pay for this group — the particular city and years of experience are driving factors as well. A fair number enjoy medical while more than half get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to slightly more than half. For the most part, Creative Directors enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$45,378 - $155,681
(Median)
$45K
$86K
$160K
MEDIAN: $86,366
10%
50%
90%

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$14.31 - $100.10
(Median)
$14
$26
$100
MEDIAN: $25.00
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
$45,378 - $155,681  
   
Bonus
$1,243 - $24,753  
Profit Sharing
$1,163 - $40,359  
Commission
$2,883 - $18,548  
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).
)
$43,049 - $164,518  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 2,700
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
$14.31 - $100.10  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.36  
Overtime
$10.00 - $74.03  
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
$1,243 - $24,753  
   
Commission
$2,883 - $18,548  
Profit Sharing
$1,163 - $40,359  
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).
)
$43,049 - $164,518  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 233
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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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While not commonly seen, Creative Directors who transition into an Executive Creative Director position may see a rise in pay. The median salary for Executive Creative Directors is $173K per year. With an annual salary of $142K, VP or Creative Director is the most common role for Creative Directors to subsequently assume on their way up the ladder. Transitioning into a Creative Services Director role — which usually pays $76K — is also typical for Creative Directors, though less common by comparison.

Creative Director Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Creative Director


Heading up the field in terms of compensation, Havas offers the most; Creative Directors earn $151K on average there.

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 7 percent and 15 percent. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Adobe InDesign, Graphic Design, and Adobe Photoshop. Most people skilled in Adobe Illustrator are similarly competent in Graphic Design.

Pay by Experience Level for Creative Director

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


Experience seems to be a major factor in determining the incomes of Creative Directors. The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $55K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $79K. Professionals who spend a good 10 to 20 years in the workforce haul in an average of $101K. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $108K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $87,021

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

For those looking to make money, Creative Directors in San Francisco enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 62 percent above the national average. Creative Directors will also find cushy salaries in Seattle (+41 percent), Los Angeles (+38 percent), New York (+32 percent), and Chicago (+20 percent). Salt Lake City is the lowest-paying area, 19 percent south of the national average. Employers also pay below the national average in Austin (18 percent lower) and San Diego (8 percent lower).

Creative Director Reviews

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

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Experience Affects Creative Director Salaries



National Average
$87,000



Skills That Affect Creative Director Salaries





Design
up arrow 1%

Branding
0%

Advertising
0%

National Average
$87,000

Marketing Communications
up arrow 3%








Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 411 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
44%
20 years or more
21%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 80%
dental benefits
Dental: 65%
medical benefits
Vision: 55%
dental benefits
None: 18%
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