Can I Work in Graphic Design with a Fine Arts Degree?

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It is absolutely possible to work in graphic design with a fine arts degree. While most positions in this field require a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, an undergraduate degree in fine arts will give you a good start on the experience and portfolio that you need to impress employers looking to hire a graphic artist. Read on to learn more about prospects and opportunities in the exciting graphic design field.

What Do Graphic Designers Do?

Graphic designers use computer software to develop images and produce layouts for promotional purposes for a variety of companies and organizations. While some graphic designers hold in-house, full-time positions at these organizations, approximately 24 percent of those in this field are self-employed according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to producing the graphics, designers must meet with clients and stakeholders to take direction, provide ideas and create layouts and materials. Most designers work full time, though hours may vary depending on client needs.

How Can I Become a Graphic Designer?

While a fine arts degree will certainly give you the artistic background you need for this role, technology is also a critical part of becoming a graphic designer. Consider minoring in computer science, graphic design, or a related field in order to become proficient with the software applications you’ll need as a designer. Alternatively, you can take continuing education courses after you finish your degree to bolster your skills and become more attractive to employers.  An online graphic design degree program can be a good option to continue your education.

How Much Do Graphic Designers Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for graphic designers in the U.S. is $44,150. This means that half of those in this profession earn more and half earn less; the lowest paid 10 percent of designers make less than $26,250, while the highest paid 10 percent make more than $77,490. Salaries vary by hours worked, type of industry, region, years of experience and other factors.

What Is the Job Outlook for Graphic Designers?

Overall, this profession is expected to grow by seven percent over the next 10 years, which is slower than the growth of most other occupations. As print publications decline and new types of media become more prevalent, the best job prospects will be those designers who are experienced and proficient with web applications, software, and other design platforms beyond traditional print media.

If you have an excellent portfolio and good references, the best way to break into the graphic design field is to begin building up a stable of freelance clients to the point where you are making a steady income, or to where your body of work is impressive enough that you can get hired as a full-time, in-house designer. If you are attempting to break into graphic design with a fine arts degree, make sure that you have taken additional courses on the necessary software and methods to keep up to speed with those who will be competing for the same positions.

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