Which design field is most lucrative?


Not looking to be a millionaire but if I'm paying back loans which one has a better job outlook? 


1,) straight architecture 

2.) urban planning/design 

3.) landscape 

4.) interior 

5.) industrial 

Jan 16, 14 10:55 pm

Plz rank 'em. Thanks!

Jan 16, 14 11:03 pm
Non Sequitur

If you're going in for the money, you are bound to be disappointed. Besides, the training and expertise required varies tremendously between these disciplines.

Jan 17, 14 12:11 am

If industrial pays the most, is that what what you will study? Non Sequitur is exactly right, you will be disappointed. No job or income level is guaranteed in any profession. 

Jan 17, 14 12:27 am

Trust me I've been working twelve dollar an hour office jobs. Moving up to 40k would seem like a dream. I'm not in it for the money believe me. I just want the advantage if I'm going to go into some debt. 

Jan 17, 14 12:31 am
Umm... Get used to $12 an hour for a few more years *facepalm*

Best paying "design" profession: Industrial & Operations Engineering
Jan 17, 14 7:23 am
Or aeronautics.
Jan 17, 14 7:24 am

It is rather sad when there is more social mobility in the fast food industry than architecture. It amazes me how everyone thinks that they will somehow over come it b/c it is them. Do believe in yourself, but don't believe in the architecture industry.

Jan 17, 14 7:40 am
boy in a well

are we really talking about $12 office jobs?

for real?


Jan 17, 14 7:49 am

Weapons and military hardware. Growth industry. 

Jan 17, 14 8:00 am

Of those listed, interior design is probably the most lucrative.  Working in-house for a real estate developer would also be more lucrative, possibly than anything else on your list, but be forewarned: most of those guys tend to be sharks.

Jan 17, 14 8:09 am

Look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Search for the careers an see which one pays the most.

Base your choice off of which one you like the most.  Getting a job in one of those fields will depend on your aptitude which is usually indicative of your passion.

Jan 17, 14 8:30 am

I majored in the social sciences in undergrad and have been stuck working office jobs for ten to twelve bucks an hour. I'm going back to school to get a trade and chose an arch drafting and design program at the local CC. Its practical and design focused enough to either go work or extend my studies into a masters or 2nd bachelors. No debt too. Classes are so cheap I can pay out of pocket. 

But I do want to continue my studies and go for masters. That's why I asking for your advice guys. 

I'm not too terribly worried because my father in law owns a construction company and is well connected in the field and can find me or offer work in the Houston area. I can always manage a project for him or something. The local extension school here at UCLA offers a construction management degree if push comes to shove but overall I would like to pursue architectute design. 

So what would be the best course guys? I can't wait any longer. I'm already 29 and want to be finished by 35 with anything I choose. 

Jan 17, 14 10:56 am

I'm not too terribly worried because my father in law owns a construction company and is well connected in the field and can find me or offer work in the Houston area. I can always manage a project for him or something.

I suggest a backup plan in case of marital discord.

Jan 17, 14 11:09 am

Obviously Im not relying on that alone.

Jan 17, 14 11:36 am

Video game design - I made twice in 2006 to what I make now in architecture - I guess there is more money in virtual.

UX design - jeez, there are some folks there pulling down 120k/yr

Jan 17, 14 12:19 pm

What the hell is this UX Design stuff I keep reading about? Why is it so lucrative and why is it also criticized by other designers? 

Jan 17, 14 12:26 pm
If you want a masters degree just apply to a career change program in architecture. The CC degree is not worth the time. This profession has little need for people who just know how to draft. Maybe people will disagree with me but looking at the job market I have yet to see any office looking for someone who just knows how to draft. Also with so many people that are out of work with M.Archs you can't compete with just a CC degree and expect to either make more money, or get licensed, or even get hired. Good luck in your decision.
Jan 17, 14 12:28 pm

Problem is I have no design background. Wouldn't I need to get some design courses under my belt and construct a portfolio to get admitted into arch school? I made sure to ask the prof at the local CC if his program was more than just a technical degree and he said that it had a strong design element too. So supposedly its good enough to get an entry level job or go on to further studies. I am sure he's proly just selling his program but so far I've heard some good things from grads of the program too. I am still looking into it. I am just looking to save money in the long run. 

But is the market really that bad even for M.Archs? Is there any design field that isn't hurting as bad? 

Jan 17, 14 1:02 pm

@manoverde84: Most people who enter a particular field of design consider that field to be a "calling" -- not a way to maximize earnings. While some do make a very good living in design, the majority don't -- and yet, most remain with their chosen field because they generally like what they do, while continually complaining about low wages. 

As for UX Design -- UX Design is "User Experience" Design (also sometimes called "Interaction Design") -- a field closely aligned with "industrial design" and focused on helping to make, for the most part, technology products more intuitive and user friendly.

Jan 17, 14 1:33 pm

Trust me I am not about the money, I am just interested in knowing which fields tend to have the most jobs, not the most amount of money. I could care less about the money, as long as it's enough to pay some student loans off. My wife makes plenty of money and has agreed to support my goals of being an architect. 

If I had to pick which one was my calling, I would say that I am just in love with urban design and planning. I love the field. Would love to just jump on it like it's nothing and go all the way with it. That is why I was leaning toward landscape or a dual M.Arch/MUP or an MUP with an urban design emphasis and what not. 

Jan 17, 14 1:38 pm

Do what you love -- if you're any good, the money will work itself out !

Jan 17, 14 1:58 pm

Urban Planning

Jan 17, 14 2:22 pm

wow, the one I love has the lowest employment opportunities. LOL. Figures with my luck. 

Jan 17, 14 2:43 pm

Industrial; like warehousing...  paste and clip jobs with almost zero design.  Boring and dull though.  Along those lines big box retail and corporate branding like gas stations where it's "site adapt, use plan B" kinds of things.  Brain dead though like you are a robot.  Pays bills... but you'll want some intellectual stimulation too.

For me though the big money is the forensic side / commissioning that you didn't list.  Still doesn't stimulate the 'creative', but is intellectual and educational....  But a prerequisite is grey hairs and a tough exterior.  If you think crits are bad, try sitting in front of a dozen lawyers getting grilled for several days in a row about your opinions.  And like a nasty wife, they'll haul up whatever you said years ago and use it against you... Hence why I charge a ton because it is 'unpleasant' to say the least.

Jan 17, 14 4:24 pm

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