Graphic Design Career Basics for Highly Creative Minds

Heading towards a career path in graphic design? Internships are a great way to get real-world experience.

graphic design career

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for graphic design careers is listed at $44,150 for annual salary and the hourly rate showing at $21.22. The education required to enter the graphic career area is a Bachelor’s degree. However, a degree is just a starting point to landing your graphic design dream job. Employees are expected to have job skills before being hired, as employers do not offer on-the-job training in this particular career. Internships, among other resources, can help graphic design graduates earn those necessary on-the-job skills.

Online Education Explained

New technology has given students the ability to study graphic design. Collegeonline is a great resource for students thinking about attending class “off campus”. The site connects students with over 100 online schools and provides useful articles about college. Online schools operate differently in comparison to brick and mortar schools, so it’s very important that online college students learn the terms and conditions of their school.

Another important matter to consider is determining if the online school is accredited. Having accredited classes is extremely valuable as it proves that the online university or college has the licenses needed to teach top level technology with top level professors. This also allows students to move forward with his or her degree in the career field.


After completion of a graphics degree program, the student should have the ability to obtain an internship with a design company in need of his or her specific studies. Internships are like the entry-level job for college graduates, and are usually voluntary, but they can turn into well-paying salary jobs. Internships can be found by networking through the attended college or university and building a career network. Internmatch is a great site for finding internships by area, major, and companies.

One thing to keep in mind when interviewing for internships or jobs is that agencies hire people not a list of skills. Often times, design companies will hire someone with a better personality and work ethic than a candidate with with a higher skill set that isn’t going to work well with the team. Check out these great job interview tips, click here.

Building a Career Network

A well-known network helpful to college students is Linked In because it has multiple graphic design groups useful to graduate students for furthering their career. Using LinkedIn can provide helpful documentation and professional connections which benefit in two forms. The first benefit is the presentation of career skills and background in an open, online format which allows potential employers to take a look at. The second benefit is the ability to build business connections through the network. These network connections can provide further insight or ‘leads’ on how to obtain a specific job being sought. Cambridge Who’s Who is a great resource for global networking with likeminded graphic designers, as well as professionals in all fields. You’ll also want to look into the Directory of Graphic Design for more insight.

Graphics Portfolio

The key to landing a graphic design career is combining an education, networking, and constructing a personal portfolio that displays samples of your work. Graphic design portfolios should display personally built items while attending college, during internship(s), and should also include any custom or free-hand graphic pieces. The more items added to a personal portfolio, the better, as employers like to see an evolution of your work, which should showcase your growth and skills over time.