Salary and Career Info for Digital Graphics Communications Specialists

Graphics communications specialists usually require some postsecondary education. Learn about the different job opportunities and other career information to see if this is the right path for you.

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The art displayed in advertisements, on websites, and in many other places is created by the minds of digital graphics communications specialist. There are many areas in which these professionals may specialize, including advertising, web design, general graphic design, and more. Most employers prefer candidates who hold undergraduate degrees, but specialists with strong portfolios and who are self-taught may also do well.

Essential Information

Specialists in digital graphics communications use software and other electronic tools to create and produce digital art. Employment opportunities include web design, computer graphics animation, desktop publishing, advertising, logo design, and digital photography. Formal education is available at the certificate, associate's, and bachelor's degree levels. Digital graphics communications specialists can work for large or small companies or can be self-employed.

Career Graphic Designers Web Developers Desktop Publishers
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Associate's degree Associate's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 1%* 27% * -21%*
Average Salary (2015) $51,640* $70,660* $43,900*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary Information for Digital Graphics Communications Specialists

Salaries for digital graphics communications specialists are dependent on the industry in which they work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the most common industry for graphic designers was specialized design services, and the average annual salary for those graphic designers was $55,290 in May 2015. Graphic designers in advertising, public relations and related services averaged $52,440, and those working for newspaper, periodical, directory and book publishers earned $45,500 on average. The BLS also reported in May 2015 that desktop publishers earned an average annual salary of $43,900.

The BLS predicted that jobs in graphic design would increase by 1% from 2014 to 2024. Competition is expected to be high, and those with experience in print publications and websites should have the most job opportunities. Jobs in desktop publishing are expected to decrease rapidly by 21% from 2014 to 2024 due to the increasing availability of user-friendly desktop publishing software for home use.

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Career Information

Companies require on-staff digital graphics specialists to complete a certificate or degree program. Many employers prefer an associate's degree to a certificate. Candidates who hold a bachelor's degree often have the most competitive edge. Self-employed digital graphics communications specialists can attract clients without a degree, but they may wish to consider taking advantage of postsecondary business management and software courses. Degree and certificate programs may be generalized or offer specialization in areas like website design, desktop publishing, and advertising.

Web Designers

Web designers are often self-employed and contract with businesses to create, maintain, and update websites. Large or online-based companies may hire full- or part-time staff Web designers to maintain websites that are constantly changing. Many Web designers have the opportunity to work from home. Work hours dictated by client schedules are often inconsistent. In addition to computer skills Web design requires self-motivation and creativity.

Desktop Publishers

Desktop publishers bring print and visual aids together in an organized and aesthetically pleasing way. Work includes duties like photo and chart editing, text spacing and color selection. They may write or design graphics as well. Magazines, newspapers, and print publishers hire desktop publishers, who generally work consistent shifts as hourly or salaried employees in offices.

Advertising Designers

Advertising designers use creativity and artistic ability along with computer programs to create ads that target specific audiences based on a variety of cultural and social factors. Work often consists of creating several rough or basic ad sketches, either using computer software or by hand, and then presenting sketches for an employer to choose the one the designer will complete for publication. Jobs in advertising firms or with large companies provide a consistent workweek. Self-employed advertisement designers work on a contract basis for small businesses and individuals.

Digital graphics communications specialists have many career paths to choose from, depending on their preferred area of specialty. In general, these professionals design visual pieces of art for advertising, promotions, branding, or to inform the public. Many specialists are self-employed, but full-time work is available with various organizations.

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