If you are good with computers and have always loved to draw, graphic design may be a career path for you. Graphic designers work in print, electronic media, and film, creating everything from business logos to the overall layout and design of newspapers, magazines, and marketing brochures. Graphic designers, either working alone or with a team, have to communicate well with their clients in order to create a message through a visual form.
Graphic Designer Degrees
Many online programs in arts offer Associate degrees and certificates in order to prepare students for entry-level positions in graphic design. Classes available include Web site design, printing techniques, computerized design, commercial graphics production, studio art, and principles of design. Many graphic designers have earned a bachelor's degree with an emphasis in graphic design, either through an online training program or brick and mortar institution. Because consumer tastes are always changing and graphic designers need to be responsive, many graphic designers have also taken courses in business, marketing, cultural studies, writing, psychology, and sociology. If you already have a bachelor's degree but want to enter into the field of graphic design, many aspiring graphic designers enroll in one of several programs to earn a certificate in graphic design. Whatever route you take, art and studio classes will be especially helpful as you create your portfolio--a collection of your best work that is shown to prospective employers.
Career Training for Graphic Designers
At the beginning of their careers, many graphic designers receive on the job training for one to three years before they can advance into more specialized or supervisory positions. Keeping current with trends in computer software and applications is also a key to success in this field. Some graphic designers and artists eventually teach, open their own firms, or specialize in one specific area of graphic design. Since 25 percent of graphic designers are self-employed, many graphic designers combine teaching and freelancing.
Employment Outlook for Graphic Designers
The outlook for graphic designers is positive, with the field growing equivalent to the average for all occupations. Graphic designers are likely to be most needed in advertising, publishing, and computer design firms. Graphic designers with interactive media skills will be best positioned for Web site design and animation work. Video games, cellular telephones, personal digital assistants, and other products, not even on the market yet, will all need graphic designers. Within the last few years, some firms have started outsourcing their basic layout and design needs to graphic designers in other countries. However, the likelihood that more advanced graphic designers will continue to be in demand in the United States is good. In 2007, the median salary of graphic designers was $41,280, according to The Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The middle 50 percent of graphic designers earned between $31,620 and $55,030 a year.
With the promising employment lookout and abundant online training programs available, a career in graphic design is within reach.