Salary and Career Info for a Masters in Graphic Design

Sep 19, 2019

A master's degree in graphic design can lead to careers such as a community college instructor or senior designer. Graduates with a master's degree typically have more opportunities for advancement in their career field.

Essential Information

While the advanced career paths of graphic designers do not directly require a master's degree, the additional education and experience can allow graduates to become senior designers or owners of graphic design firms. The most common master's degree in graphic design is the Master of Fine Arts (MFA), which also enables graduates to become community college instructors. Most MFA in Graphic Design programs require portfolios for admittance and projects throughout the course of study, providing design experience that graduates can apply in their graphic design careers.

Career Titles Senior Designer/Design Firm Owner Community College Instructor
Education Requirements MFA in Graphic Design MFA in Graphic Design
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 3% for all graphic designers 8% for all postsecondary art, drama, and music teachers
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $50,370 for all graphic designers $69,960 for all postsecondary art, drama, and music teachers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Options

A master's degree in graphic design can help individuals with a bachelor's degree and some experience to advance in the field. Career options can include senior designer, owner of a graphic design firm or college instructor.

Senior Designer

Graphic designers working as senior designers, creative directors or chief designers often have supervisory roles and authority within their companies. In September 2019, PayScale indicated that most senior graphic designers holding MFA in Graphic Design degrees earned between $42,274 and $88,854 per year. Though it is not always the case, these professionals sometimes oversee junior-level staff within their firms. They may also be given some level of authority to make decisions on behalf of their firms.

Community College Instructor

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is a terminal degree in graphic design and qualifies individuals to teach graphic design and art at community colleges. The median salary for postsecondary art, drama and music instructors, including graphic design instructors, was $69,960 in 2018, according to the BLS.

With a master's degree in graphic design, it's possible to advance to the position of senior designer if pursuing a graphic design career, or to teach at the community college level. Although the job growth expected for graphic designers from 2018-2028 will only be 3% per the BLS, an 8% increase in jobs for postsecondary teachers of art, drama and music suggests there will be good prospects in that field for graduates with a master's in graphic design.

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