Employment & salary outlook
A degree in visual communications will give you the skills to enter the field of graphic, web, and digital media design. Designers are creative thinkers and problem solvers who create visual solutions that meet their clients' needs. The designer's process involves analyzing, brainstorming, and developing concepts that address the client's need to inform or market to a target audience in a visually compelling way.
Graphic designers prepare artwork and designs for many purposes and in a variety of media. Some examples include brochures, logos, business identity systems, advertisements, product packaging, web sites, user interface, motion graphics, and interactive displays.
Graphic design occupations are currently in demand in Washington state. As an entry-level designer in Whatcom county, you may be hired in the range of $12.33 to $14.22 per hour (source: CareerOneStop 2015). Recent visual communications program graduates reported graphic design wages ranging from $15 to $22 per hour (WCC Prof-Tech alumni survey: Sum/Fall 2015; survey conducted July 2016). Higher wages may be found outside of Whatcom county.
Many graphic designers opt to work as freelance designers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, about 20 percent of graphic designers were self-employed.
Recent program graduates have been hired by local and regional employers, including:
- Amjay Screen Printing Inc.
- Applied Digital Imaging
- Bear Creek Photography & Design
- Boundary Bay Brewery
- Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
- Community Food Co-op
- FastCap LLC
- Lithtex Northwest
- Northwest Custom Signs & Graphics
- Skagit Publishing
- The Lones Group
With work experience and/or the acquisition of additional higher educational credentials in graphic design or a related field, graphic designers may advance to take on more complex creative and consultative responsibilities with clients, while possibly also supervising and/or giving guidance to other designers. With additional education, some graphic designers may advance into into art or creative director positions.