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Set designer

Alternative titles for this job include

Set designers design and create the settings for commercials, television, theatre and films.

Average salary (a year)


Typical hours (a week)

40 to 42 variable

You could work

freelance / self-employed managing your own hours

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Set designer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role


You can study for a higher national diploma or degree in a relevant subject, like:

  • fine art
  • interior design
  • architecture
  • 3D design
  • theatre design

You could also do a course in performing arts production or design for film and television at some universities, colleges and drama schools.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information


You could do a college course to learn some of the skills you'll need for this job. Courses include:

  • level 3 Certificate or Diploma in Production Arts
  • level 3 Diploma in 3D Design and Crafts
  • level 3 Art and Design

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More Information


You could do a Scenic Artist Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship.

This usually takes around 2 years to complete as a mix of study and workplace learning.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information


You could start in a junior position and work your way up. For example, you could start as a:


You'll find it useful to build a portfolio of your design work to show to potential employers. This might include sets you've designed for amateur theatre, school plays or films.

To get experience to include in your portfolio, you could get involved in:

  • student theatre or film
  • local amateur or community theatre
  • low budget independent films

More information

You can find out more about working as a set designer from ScreenSkills and other creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • design skills and knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a set designer, you could:

  • study scripts, discuss ideas with the director and research details
  • communicate ideas to costume, make-up, props and lighting designers
  • work out problems like lighting and scene changes
  • sketch design ideas to produce a storyboard and create designs within budget
  • build and take photos of scale models

Working environment

You could work in a theatre, in an office, on a film set, in a creative studio, from home or at a film studio.

Your working environment may be physically demanding and outdoors some of the time.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could work on larger film, TV and theatre productions.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Set designer right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

BA (Hons) Stage Management & Technical Theatre

  • Start date: 16 September 2024
  • Location: Worthing

UAL L4 Prof Diploma in Technical Theatre

  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: Dartford

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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