Graphic Designer: Education Requirements & Career Info
Graphic designers require some formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.
Graphic designers are visual communicators who design and develop print and electronic media, such as magazines, television graphics, logos and websites. They may be employed by advertising agencies, design companies, publishers and other businesses that need design professionals. Most graphic designers earn bachelor's degrees. These programs allow them to develop design and technical skills, and develop portfolios that can help them obtain employment after graduation.
Earning a certificate or associate's degree in graphic design may qualify graduates for assistant or technical support positions in the field. However, most graphic design positions require at least a bachelor's degree. Students may benefit from attending one of the more than 300 schools approved by the National Association of Schools and Art Design. Some graphic design programs only admit applicants who have completed at least one year of art and design courses. Admission may also entail submission of sketches and other artwork.
Some colleges and universities offer Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design programs. These 4-year degree programs equip students with the technical and artistic skills necessary for entry-level employment or even higher positions in graphic design. Curricula are comprised mostly of design coursework, as well as a liberal arts core. Courses may include topics in commercial art, computer-assisted design, printing and studio art. Students may also take classes in book design and typography and participate in internships.
Along with a formal education, graphic designers should be artistic and creative and have strong verbal, visual and written communication skills. Designers often work independently and must meet strict deadlines, so the ability to manage time and stay on schedule is important. Business and sales skills are also beneficial for this career, especially for graphic designers who are self-employed.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of graphic designers was expected to increase just 1% from 2014-2024. As of 2015, graphic designers earned a median salary of $46,900, also according to the BLS. Graphic designers with expertise in computer systems design can look forward to more employment opportunities, whereas designers working in print publishing will see a decrease in jobs.
Graphic designers design and develop print and electronic media, such as magazines, television graphics, logos and websites for advertising firms, design companies and publishers. As of 2015, they earned a median salary of $46,900. A bachelor's degree, such as a BFA in Graphic Design is usually required to enter the field.