Prospective Student?
Apply here
Current Student?
Register here

The Office of Career Services
Library Building, Room 429 & 430
222-05 56th Avenue
Bayside, NY 11364
Phone: (718) 631-6297

Search other Careers:

Search by Career

Occupation Info

Set Designer

Overview: Set designers plan and design stage sets and props for theatrical productions. They confer with play directors to interpret set requirements and determine architectural and interior furnishing styles. They prepare drawings of plans, cost estimates, manage construction and stage lighting.
Duties: They confer with directors of a play or theatrical production to develop an understanding of the theme, intent and degree of flexibility required in stage sets.

They conduct research to determine appropriate style of architecture, furniture and art work for the time period and geographical location of the production.

They integrate all the set requirements regarding their mobility, interchangeability and budget limitations. They prepare drawing and models for approval by the directors.

Prepare floor plans to show where curtain, borders, buildings, walls, art work, etc. are located on the stage. They design stage lighting. They oversee the building of the sets.

Degree(s): A.S. Visual and Performing Arts: Art & Photography Concentration 
A.A.S. Computerized Architectural and Industrial Design 
A.S. Visual and Performing Arts: Dance Concentration 
A.S. Visual and Performing Arts: Music Concentration 
A.S. Visual and Performing Arts: Theatre Arts Concentration 
Job Outlook: Employment of set designers is expected to grow faster than average through 2018. Workers will be needed to design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets, study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles. There is ongoing consumer interest in films, DVDs, videos, live theatre, and other entertainment events.
Salary Range (National Average): $27,000 to $31,000
Education Level: Training for this occupation generally requires an Associate Degree from a 2 year or community college.
Additional Training/Education: An associate or bachelor's degree in fine arts or theater and studio arts is the usual training required. Courses in interior design, art history and computer-assisted design are important, as well as work experience through a college club, local TV station, or summer theater.
Recommended Skills:
  • Analyzing requirements for a new product or service and creating a design to satisfy those needs.
  • Painting, drawing, crafting, sculpting and creative designing.
  • Paying attention to what other people are saying, and taking time to understand the points being made.
  • Determining how much money is required to get a job done, allocating those monies, and then accounting for all expenditures.
  • Assigning duties to others, motivating them, and evaluating their performance.
  • The ability to make appropriate use of equipment and materials to get a job done.
  • Allocating and budgeting your time for different tasks so that things get done when needed.
  • Dance, drama, music, that is, things that are performed in front of an audience.
  • Ability to identify a problem, review related information, develop and evaluate options, and implement a solution.
  • The ability to understand complex written paragraphs, instructions, or reports.
  • Using logic to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Recommended Values:
  • Doing something where you can physically see the results of your work.
  • Being able to express creative ideas through the arts.

* National data collected by the Department of Labor between 2008-2012.
* For New York salary data information please click here
* For New York green job information please click here.

Understanding acquiring positions in this field may be enhanced through continuing academic study (i.e. earning a baccalaureate or a master's degree) and/or work experience in the field, Queensborough Community College has established transfer agreements with other institutions for students who wish to further pursue their educational goals. Students are highly encouraged to meet with one of our Career Services to fully understand the opportunities available through study in their degree program.