So-you’ve decided on a career as a web designer. What kind of money can you expect to make in this field? Depending on whether you work at home as a freelancer or for a company, whether you have a degree or just programming experience-you can have either a modest or fairly good salary. The average salary range for a web developer, according to payscale.com, is from $34,281 to $51,054 a year. Web design professionals working under contract have the best salaries of between $39,799 and $67,500 a year, while freelancers top out at $48,481 annually. The Federal government pays designers well, too: annual salaries there for designers are between $48,605 and $61,935-well above the average.
College education, specifically a degree, has a marked effect on the amount of money a web design professional can earn. A Bachelor of Arts degree enables a web designer to earn a salary ranging from $37,500 to $51,590; earning a Web Designer Bachelor of Science degree increases that amount dramatically, up to $65,654. Achieving a certificate in a specialized programming skill increases earning potential: a designer certified as a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) can have a salary as high as $59,548 and those who are Sun Certified Java Programmers can see an even better increase of up to $70,000 annually. Experience counts, too-entry-level designers typically have annual salaries of around $30,000 to $40,000, while those with 20 years or more of experience can have annual salaries over $67,000.
Where you work as web design professional makes a difference in salary, as well. As payscale.com reports, the highest-paid web designers are most likely to be found in the cities of San Francisco-where web designers have yearly salaries of up to $71,000–and Seattle. And if you think that a large company is a better place to work as a designer, you’re right: the best-paid web designers are often found in companies having over 50,000 employees. Annual salaries for web designers in these large companies can be as high as $72,000-beating the salaries of web design professionals in smaller firms (50 or less employees) by at least $25,000 a year.
So—how does all this stack up against the average American worker? According to the 2007 findings of the United States Census Bureau, the average salary in the United States is around $81,000 a year, taking into account all types of jobs and experience. If you are a designer with a college degree as well as a certificate or two under your belt, you’ll need several years of experience and employment in a large company to approach this average salary figure. There are tradeoffs, though: the demand for web developers is exploding, providing job security in today’s volatile job market. You also have the option of working from the comfort of your own home and being your own boss, an attractive choice for many web design professionals. Job growth for the web design field is projected to be better than average, and with the ever-changing face of the Internet, the horizons for web designers are promising.