Dive into the specifics of a career in UI Design, including job responsibilities, average salaries, and factors that can influence pay. Learn about the educational paths to becoming a UI Designer and the potential for career growth in the industry.

Key Insights

  • A UI Designer designs user interfaces for digital applications, focusing on creating an intuitive user experience. They develop visual and interactive elements, prototypes, and are responsible for layout responsiveness across various screen sizes.
  • The average salary of a UI Designer in the US is around $83,000, with entry-level positions earning an average of $68,000 annually and senior positions earning over $100,000.
  • UI Designer salaries can vary greatly depending on factors such as education, experience, industry, location, and specialization. Experience and skills often have a greater impact on salary than education.
  • Major cities like San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, New York, and Chicago are popular locations for UI Designers and offer high starting salaries. However, the cost of living in these cities is significantly higher.
  • High-earning job titles in the UI Design field include UI Architect, User Interface Engineer, and Senior Interaction Designer, with salaries ranging from $100,000 to $170,000 annually.
  • Noble Desktop offers UI design classes for those seeking professional instruction in pursuing a career as a UI Designer. Courses can be attended in person in NYC or online from anywhere and cover essential design principles and popular UI design tools.

The average salary of a UI Designer in the US is around $83,000. An entry-level UI Designer earns an average of $68,000 a year, whereas a senior UI Designer can earn over $100,000 annually. UI Designers can freelance and charge, on average, $20-$40 an hour. However, expert UI Designers can charge much more. Remember that salary ranges can vary greatly depending on your local area and that it’s important to factor in the cost of living. 

What is a UI Designer?

A UI Designer designs user interfaces, usually for digital applications such as the web, mobile, or video games. They build visual and interactive elements such as buttons, menus, and widgets. They also develop prototypes and refine their designs based on information gained from user research. Primary job duties of UI Designers include:

  • Developing and enforcing a style guide that establishes a consistent visual “look” across the application.
  • Designing each screen and individual elements within that the user can interact with.
  • Making decisions about layout and visual elements that drive an intuitive user experience.
  • Creating animations.
  • Building wireframes and prototypes.
  • Ensuring layout responsiveness across various screen sizes.

UI Designers craft designs for various industries, such as financial and banking, healthcare apps, retail apps, education, automotive, and gaming. A UI Designer’s primary goal is to design applications so that users intuitively understand how to use them and perform the actions or find the information they need without learning how to use the application first. UI Designers play a significant role in influencing how we use digital technology in our daily lives. 

Read more about what a UI Designer does.

What Affects Your Pay as a UI Designer

Salaries for UI Designers vary greatly depending on where they work. For UI Designers looking to increase their pay, salaries generally increase with experience in the field. However, several other factors can influence salary.


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Whether from a four-year college or a six-month certificate program, education isn’t important for determining a UI Designer’s salary. This is because a four-year college is likely to offer computer science or design degrees. However, both are required for UI design work. While a certificate program will provide a more rounded education in design and computer science skills, completing the certificate program itself is not a testament to the certificate holder’s skills. Thus, a hiring manager is more interested in a UI Designer’s skills than their education. A professional portfolio is the best method for showcasing these skills and influencing salary. However, any education is still a valid choice for any UI Designer wishing to learn and increase their skills, which could lead to a salary increase.


Experience is the most common way to see a salary increase. Most experience will be gained while on the job or through industry conferences. However, as education isn’t a surefire method of building skills, newcomers may need to build experience as freelancers or through volunteer work until they can build a portfolio that showcases their experience relevant to the field. Some aspiring UI Designers take jobs related to UI design, such as graphic design or web development, to gain experience before breaking into the field. Once in the field, however, volunteer work or freelancing may not be the best method for gaining experience as they can be low-paying and lead to overwork and burnout. 


Regarding salaries, major corporations tend to pay more than smaller businesses. A large tech firm will likely work with more prominent clients and seek talented designers for larger wages. Conversely, small businesses and nonprofits will bring in less money and tend to pay designers less. While salary differences between these companies for UI Designers are unlikely to be massive, it is something to consider when seeking a UI design position. 

Freelancers set their rates but work primarily with small to medium businesses and nonprofits (multinational corporations rarely hire freelance designers). So, the rates freelancers charge have to align with their clientele's reality. Balancing how much you can charge for your skills versus how much your clients can reasonably pay is an important skill for freelancers looking to maximize their earnings.


Some of the most popular cities for UI Designers include San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, New York, and Chicago. Working in one of these cities offers high starting salaries. However, the cost of living in major cities like these is significantly higher than in other areas. So a high salary will be offset by higher prices in things such as housing and groceries. 

The salary of a UI Designer can increase or decrease by as much as 50%, depending on whether they work in a central metropolitan area or a small city. Prospective UI Designers will need to judge for themselves whether or not the increased salary outweighs the increased cost of living. Remote employment or self-employment can also impact this aspect of your prospective salary. 


UI Designers who have learned an in-demand specialized skill can be rewarded for their expertise. Many UI Designers choose to pursue hybrid training in both UX & UI design. Alternative skills a UI Designer may invest in include web development and programming languages. Before choosing a specialization, UI Designers should consider their interests and where they’d ultimately like to take their career. 

Specific specializations are likely to provide a greater increase in salary than others. Designers may consider disciplines that could open career opportunities at more diverse companies. Inversely, they may like the culture of the company they currently work for and wish to stay. In this case, they can seek out opportunities within that company, but they must keep their salary goals realistic to that company’s capabilities. 

Pay Range for UI Designers

UI Designers see a considerable pay range (from $54,000 to $135,000) that depends on various factors, including skills, specialization, and work location. The national average salary for a UI Designer falls around $85,000. However, entry-level UI Designers should expect lower wages, closer to $65,000. Companies such as Google and Apple offer salaries for UI Designers ranging from $105,000-$196,000 depending on skills, experience, and location. This type of salary range is not the norm and is offered for senior positions. However, it demonstrates the career growth and earning potential of aspiring UI Designers. 

Keep in mind that location plays a prominent role in expanding salary ranges. While working in a major city like San Francisco or New York may see significant salary increases, this increase is offset by a higher cost of living. 

Highest-Earning Job Titles for UI Designers

The highest-earning job titles for UI Designers include senior positions or positions requiring UI Designers to have increased their coding skills or knowledge of software development. A few top-earning job titles and their respective salary ranges are as follows:

  • UI Architect – uses their knowledge of software development to influence UI design and earns around $130,000 to $170,000 a year.
  • User Interface Engineer – uses their knowledge of programming languages and coding to build the final UI design of a product and makes $100,000 to $140,000 annually. 
  • Senior Interaction Designer – possesses senior experience in interaction design and building user interfaces and earns around $105,000 to $130,000.

The high salaries of these positions are far above the average $83,000-$85,000 salary of a UI Designer. Professionals pursuing a career path to one of these positions must hone the appropriate skills and build strong portfolios to demonstrate their proficiencies.

Learn the Skills to Become a UI Designer at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop offers several UI design classes for those seeking professional instruction in pursuing a career as a UI Designer. Classes are small and feature expert instructors and free retake options. Courses can be attended in person in NYC or online from anywhere. 

The UI Design Certificate is designed to prepare students to launch a career in UI design. You’ll learn essential design principles as well as how to use the most popular UI design tools: Figma, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Throughout the course, you’ll complete a number of hands-on projects and build a portfolio to showcase your skills to potential employers.

Should you be interested in UX design as well as UI design (the two fields commonly overlap), you can pursue the UX & UI Design Certificate. You’ll learn the design principles and industry tools of both UX & UI design, build a professional portfolio, and receive one-on-one job preparation assistance. 

Bootcamps are also available where you can learn the ins and outs of the most popular UI design tools, including Figma, Photoshop, and Illustrator. These courses are open to pure beginners and are designed to guide you to mastery of the program. 

If you’re not ready to jump into a full UI design course, you can explore Noble Desktop’s learning hubs. These hubs are designed to inform you about a topic and offer learning resources, including free tutorials and self-guided education. UI design learn hubs include:

Key Takeaways

  • UI Designer salaries vary greatly depending on skill, experience, and work location. 
  • The average salary for a UI Designer is around $84,000, but senior positions can see six-figure salaries.
  • Education is not a major factor in the salary of a UI Designer. The most significant factor is a demonstrable skill set from a strong portfolio.
  • Salaries for the same position vary widely depending on whether you live in a major city or a small town. While major metropolis areas like NYC or Chicago will have higher salaries, they also face a higher cost of living.
  • The job positions for UI Designers with the highest salaries are senior positions, often with proven experience in software or coding.
  • You can receive comprehensive training to become a UI Designer through an in-person or live online course with Noble Desktop.