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What does a Lighting Designer do?

Lighting designers conceptualize, create and plan lighting designs for a wide variety of industries. A lighting designer can work in fields such as the theater, film and television industries, as well as special event coordinating, retail store display and residential and commercial interior design.

A lighting designer is often required to have both engineering skills and a creative outlook, as they are often responsible for capturing a particular mood in a space. Though there are a wide range of avenues to pursue, a lighting designer is often knowledgeable about design and function.

Educational requirements of a lighting designer

All employers for lighting designers will require a different amount of education and experience. To become a lighting designer in the interior design or retail display industries, you typically need at least an associate or bachelor's degree. However, most design firms will also require postsecondary education from a professional design school. In addition, many interior design firms also require a designer to take a qualifying exam and become licensed by the state.

The motion picture and video industries, on the other hand, tend to look for an applicant with more hands-on training. In this field, an entry-level lighting designer may work on documentaries and educational videos to gain experience.

Career paths of a lighting designer

A lighting designer can pursue a number of careers after completing the necessary education requirements and training. Interior designers that focus on lighting design can work independently or with a design firm. They can be responsible for creating lighting solutions for both residential and commercial spaces.

A lighting designer that pursues a career in the theater, motion picture or video industries can be responsible for the lighting of a play, movie, television show or commercial. They can work with production companies and directors to create lighting effects that are unique and aesthetically appealing.

Job outlook of a lighting designer

Though there are a wide variety of industries a lighting designer can pursue, many are expected to have ample competition, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Students have an increasing interest in many of these fields, especially high-paying positions in the motion picture, television and interior design industries. All three of these fields are expected to grow between 14 and 19 percent.

California and New York have both the highest concentration of these positions but also the highest salaries.

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