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How much do UX designers make? (State and metro comparisons)

female ux designer works out user flow on whiteboard

UX—short for "user experience"—is a growing computer technology field. UX designers create the overall experience a consumer has with a product or service to make it as streamlined and enjoyable as possible. Although UX design is applicable in many industries, it is perhaps associated most often with the design of websites, apps and other digital products.

UX designers can have a wide range of potential salaries which are affected by a multitude of factors. In some areas of the country, UX designers may have the chance to earn a generous six-figure income with the 90th percentile of web and digital interface designers earning at least $166,180, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

UX designer salary and top-paying states

The BLS doesn't compile salary data for UX designers specifically, but they are included in the profession of web and digital interface designers. According to their 2022 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, the median annual salary for web and digital interface designers is $83,240. That's about $20,000 more than the annual mean wage across all occupations.

The top three paying states for web and digital interface designers—which also happen to be the three states that employ the most designers—are California, New York and Washington, all of which have six-figure median annual salaries. This is not terribly surprising when you consider the number of large tech companies located in these states, from Apple and Google in California's Silicon Valley to Microsoft and Amazon in Seattle, Washington.

Web and Digital Interface Designers

National data

Median Salary: $83,240

Projected job growth: 15.2%

10th Percentile: $43,100

25th Percentile: $56,640

75th Percentile: $124,070

90th Percentile: $166,180

Projected job growth: 15.2%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alabama $75,410 $42,990 $126,140
Alaska $56,830 $32,850 $85,110
Arizona $67,080 $39,680 $113,710
Arkansas $46,020 $26,410 $90,710
California $102,820 $51,260 N/A
Colorado $94,490 $48,180 $149,990
Connecticut $62,900 $47,590 $98,660
Delaware $69,150 $43,520 $69,150
District of Columbia $101,060 $33,280 $136,700
Florida $82,190 $43,830 $147,870
Georgia $87,140 $46,640 $152,530
Hawaii $71,990 $34,200 $105,300
Idaho $56,920 $35,820 $94,270
Illinois $61,460 $32,070 $124,300
Indiana $55,310 $30,160 $101,560
Iowa $63,710 $38,290 $143,170
Kansas $65,800 $33,660 $106,890
Kentucky $63,260 $39,840 $107,180
Louisiana $48,090 $31,460 $145,320
Maine $40,560 $30,790 $90,430
Maryland $78,920 $31,550 $122,320
Massachusetts $101,690 $58,940 $162,280
Michigan $78,540 $37,260 $106,730
Minnesota $79,600 $47,690 $127,260
Mississippi $64,100 $34,960 $128,790
Missouri $58,200 $28,930 $127,770
Montana $66,580 $27,200 $136,090
Nebraska $47,810 $28,690 $98,100
Nevada $78,800 $36,400 $141,280
New Hampshire $70,220 $42,850 $138,900
New Jersey $80,840 $43,040 $134,170
New Mexico $60,480 $25,410 $143,710
New York $106,450 $52,450 $178,120
North Carolina $75,920 $42,490 $130,690
North Dakota $52,500 $29,930 $93,800
Ohio $77,780 $35,960 $130,110
Oklahoma $53,160 $36,500 $102,810
Oregon $93,200 $52,700 $152,940
Pennsylvania $62,300 $45,620 $131,380
South Carolina $62,140 $47,930 $121,240
South Dakota $78,160 $56,490 $96,370
Tennessee $60,720 $29,490 $90,410
Texas $80,990 $33,290 $137,600
Utah $81,620 $39,310 $138,000
Vermont $64,240 $38,430 $109,990
Virginia $76,580 $37,440 $129,720
Washington $107,730 $61,430 $182,600
West Virginia $78,270 $34,050 $111,770
Wisconsin $78,450 $52,940 $112,170
Wyoming $100,210 $47,860 $102,340

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2022 median salary; projected job growth through 2032. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Your potential salary as a UX designer can be influenced by a variety of factors, primarily location and experience. Education level can make a difference in salary too, but the degree you have probably won't make an impact on salary as much as your experience and portfolio of work would. 

There are numerous other metropolitan areas scattered throughout the country that also have median annual salaries over $100,000, such as Boulder (Colorado), San Diego (California), Worcester and Boston (Massachusetts).

User Experience designer pay compared to similar occupations

UX designer salaries tend to fall right in the middle of a few other computer technology and design professions. Computer programmers and software developers have a higher median annual salary, for example, and graphic designers and web developers tend to earn a little less. That said, individual salaries can vary greatly and you may earn more (or less) than some of these similar occupations.

Career Median Annual Salary
Web and Digital Interface Designers $83,240
Computer Programmers $97,800
Software Developers $127,260
Web Developers $78,580
Graphic Designers $57,990

Where the majority of UX designers are employed

It's noted that certain areas of the country are more disposed to tech industry and because of that, hire more technology-skilled workers. The BLS says digital and web designers have the highest concentration of employees in the following metro areas:

Metropolitan Areas Employment
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 8,840
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 6,450
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 6,310
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 6,120
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 3,790
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 3,300
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 2,290
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 2,230
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 2,220
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH 2,190

How can I increase my salary as a UX designer?

While education level may not affect a UX designer's salary as much as experience would, getting a college degree in UX design, computer science or a similar subject usually allows students complete projects that can be used later in a professional portfolio. Having an impressive portfolio of work could land you higher-paying jobs.

...experience seems to be one of the biggest influences on the salaries of UX professionals according to a report by the Nielsen Norman Group.

Indeed, experience seems to be one of the biggest influences on the salaries of UX professionals according to a report by the Nielsen Norman Group. As of 2019, their data indicated that UX professionals experience a $6,000 average annual salary increase for each year of experience for the first five years of their career. This "experience premium" then drops to $3,000 per year after those first five years. 

Andrea Huang, a New York-based UX designer, said that networking is also an important key to success as a UX designer.

"I think networking is definitely really crucial. Having the ability to share your experience, not be afraid of getting critiqued, and asking questions when you are confused. If there's a network or a community that you know you can reach out to, then you [may] have the resources to solve what your challenges are. Networking has a huge return, so that would be one of the top things to do."

UX designer job outlook

Despite massive layoffs in the technology industry in the first quarter of 2023, the outlook for UX designers in the long term is still bright. As the field of computer technology continues to proliferate, the number of UX design jobs is expected to grow, too. The BLS estimates that the employment of web and digital interface designers will increase through 2031, which is about three times faster than the average across all occupations.

kendall upton

Written and reported by:

Kendall Upton

Staff Writer

With professional insight from:

Andrea Huang

UX Designer

UX Designer Degree & Career Guide