How to Become a Graphic Designer

Overview & Salaries

Recommended Degree:
The right degree for you depends on the industry and company you apply for. Those looking for an entry positions will likely need at least a bachelors degree in business or project management. If you are looking to get into a competitive or advance position, then a master’s degree in project management or an MBA along with specific certificates like a PMP can help you stand out in the hiring process.

Start your career path today by signing up for free information from one of our accredited colleges below that offer programs to help get you started as a project manager.

Much Does a Graphic Designer Make?
$44,150 (national median salary, to see salaries in your state click on the “Best Places to Work” tab up top)

Expected Growth from 2012-2020:
+17,400 additional people employed

(all information above provided by the 2012 BLS Graphic Design page) 

Discover the Best Places to Become a Graphic Designer

The state of California leads the nation in employment for graphic designers, with 26,290 currently working statewide, who are earning an annual mean wage of $57,070. New York is second in employment, with 17,720 graphic designers occupying positions across the state, which make an average yearly salary of $60,400.

While graphic design employment is expected to increase 13% overall from now until 2020, employment for graphic designers in computer systems design and related services is predicted to grow by 61 percent over the same period.

  • Computer systems design and related services 61%
  • Specialized design services 27%
  • Advertising, public relations, and related services 17%
  • Printing and related support activities 2%
  • Publishing industries (except Internet) 4%

What States are Hiring Graphic Designers

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career in Graphic Design. The associated information has been gathered from the Bureau of Labor statistics, representing data collected in 2012.

Employment and Information Data for Graphic Design

Why Become a Graphic Designer?

Employment of graphic designers is expected to increase by 13% from now until to 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Graphic design professionals bring the best of two worlds to advertising. On one hand, these creative specialists provide unique and quality content to campaigns. On the other, they offer a tech-savvy insight that other creative team members may be lacking. Graphic designers are a key component in any successful advertising team.

Recommended Courses to Help You Become a Graphic Designer

  • Adobe Indesign
  • Introduction to Dreamweaver
  • Introduction to Flash
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Typography
  • Graphic Design
  • The Business of Graphic Design
  • Digital Imaging with Photoshop
  • Color Theory

Degree Options for Graphic Design Careers

In general, arts & design programs focus on creating course schedules that develop creative thinking and problem solving in the media arts. In recent years more detailed, and narrowly focused, programs have emerged – Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) — that better ready students for a career in creative design fields.

In addition, these programs allow students to vary their interests by combining studies to include: media arts (animation, computer imaging, interactive design illustration, photography), textile design (weaving, fiber arts, surface design), and traditional art + design (painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture) with other existing degree tracks within the College of Design.

The education options are wide open.

A certificate program provides a foundation for the beginning graphic designer. The framework of the program allows students to explore different aspects of graphic design while learning about theory and technology.

Associate’s Degree Programs
These programs offer a more in-depth course of study that generally fits students with some college background. The program typically is one to two-years and designed to prepare students for a career in graphic design.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs
Graphic designer programs offer students the opportunity to learn skills and production tools needed to produce professional-level products in a wide range of creative fields.