Graphic Designer Employment Information

Explore the field of graphic design. Learn about the education and skills required, in addition to the salary expectations and employment growth forecast, to see if this is the career for you.

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Career Definition for a Graphic Designer

Graphic designers create and assist in the creation of graphic imaging and illustrations for businesses. They produce printed materials, such as brochures and book covers. They also create graphics and designs for non-printed materials, such as websites and movies. These materials are normally used for sales, marketing, or advertising purposes. Graphic designers collaborate with a variety of people, such as other designers, art managers, sales personnel, and corporate executives.

Required Education Associate's degree or higher, bachelor's degree recommended
Job Skills Creativity, multi-tasking, time management, computer and software knowledge
Median Salary (2015)* $46,900 (for graphic designers)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 1%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

An associate's degree or higher is typically required to become a graphic designer, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Many employers may require a bachelor's degree or significant work experience in addition to an associate's degree. Because of the high interest in graphic design and advances in computer technology, many colleges offer courses in digital illustration, website design, and graphic art for students pursuing a career in graphic design.

Skills Required

Graphic designers must be creative people. They must be able to portray a message for a client or business while capturing the attention of an audience using artistic images. Graphic designers must be able to multi-task, prioritize, and work well under strict time constraints. Considerable knowledge of computer equipment and specialized software is necessary for this career.

Career and Economic Outlook

The BLS reported the median annual salary for a graphic designer was $46,900 in May 2015. Because of the vast media opportunities in larger cities, like New York and Los Angeles, entry-level graphic designers may find work more easily in large metropolitan areas. The BLS projects employment of all graphic designers to have little or no change from 2014 through the year 2024.

Alternate Career Options

Some skills needed to be a graphic designer will help prepare you for jobs in other fields as well.

Multimedia Artists and Animators

Those interested in creating visual effects and animation for movies, television and video games might want to pursue this career. Although a degree isn't always required, many of these artists and animators do have bachelor's degrees and strong work portfolios in order to compete in the job market. Slow growth of 6% was predicted by the BLS, in general, for this career during the 2014-2024 decade. According to the BLS, the annual median wage for these occupations in 2015 was $63,970.

Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers

With at least a bachelor's degree and work experience in the field, these managers work with sales agents and art directors to plan programs that generate interest in services and products. In 2015, advertising and promotion managers earned an annual median salary of $95,890, and marketing managers took home $128,750, per the BLS. The BLS forecast a 6% increase for this field overall from 2014-2024, which is almost as fast as the average for all occupations.

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