Looking for a Creative Career with Great Pay? Then Check out Graphic Design!

By Brenda on June 18th, 2011



There are few careers that allow people to be creative while providing an excellent salary and benefits. That is why a career as a graphic designer has long been a popular choice. If you are interested in a career as a graphic designer read on to find out the educational requirements as well as salary, job responsibilities, and employment outlook.

Educational Requirements

Most entry level graphic design positions require a bachelor’s degree. Students who possess an associate’s degree qualify for graphic design assistant positions. Several institutions offer online degrees in graphic arts as the curriculum lends itself well to the online environment. Students pursuing bachelor’s degrees are required to complete two years of general education requirements in the humanities, social sciences, English composition, communications, mathematics and natural sciences. Core courses vary but typically include Photoshop, Typography, graphic design, illustration, 3D design, and digital graphics.

Job Expectations and Salaries for Graphic Designers

A career as a graphic designer requires technical expertise and creativity which calls for a unique set of gifts and skills. Graphic designers are typically responsible for creating all visual media for an organization. This includes external media such as newsletters, presentations, intranet sites, and email messaging. They also create external media for customers such as flyers, websites, posters, display boards, and billboards.

Most graphic designers need to be highly organized as they typically are working on multiple deliverables at once. Depending on the company culture they may have complete artistic freedom or may be required to work within the parameters of the project manager or corporate rules concerning design. In any event it is crucial that the designer be able to work well with others.

Graphic designers work across all sectors of the economy from small private businesses to large government agencies. Students need to understand that graphic designer positions vary greatly depending on the organization. Most large organizations in government, education, health care tend to create much more conservative media while smaller entities may require more cutting edge designs. The type of industry the media is being created for also has a large influence on the style of designs the graphic designer is required to do.

The average salary of a full-time graphic artist in the United States ranges from $33,000-$57,000 according to the latest data released by the Department of Labor. Students with a bachelor’s degree typically earn more than those with an associate’s.

The highest paid graphic designers worked for themselves or were part of a partnership in a design firm. Generally, most people in this position could earn over $100,000 in one year. However students just beginning their career in graphic design should not expect a starting salary similar to this since it takes years of experience to work up to this level and be successful.

Many designers do freelance work in addition to their full-time position as a way to augment their income. Freelance work varies and may include wed design, logo creation, and newsletter design.

The employment outlook for graphic designers is expected to remain steady through the end of the decade. Job growth is projected to be approximately 13% which is faster than the average occupation.


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