Career and Salary Outlook
Recent data regarding careers and salary in design fields
Design has taken its place as a serious career option with growing career opportunities and strong salaries. For further proof, review the career opportunity and average salary in graphic design statistics below. Then be sure to browse through the current job listings for opportunities in your area.
Ric Grefe, Executive Director of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), sums up how to progress in the design industry, "The way for individual designers to increase their value and compensation is through consistent training and professional development." (Source: AIGA 2010 Salary Survey)
Sessions College prepares professional designers to further their current careers, and prepares new designers for work in the design profession. Working in design is like no other industry. Design work is not rote, routine, nor predictable. It is always changing, challenging, energizing, and fun. A designer's professional life can bring both stability and a sense of adventure. Ninety-one percent of Sessions College students state that Sessions College has been central to achieving their professional design career objectives. (Source: Assessment of Sessions Online Student Outcomes, Eduventures, May 2008)
What follows are statistics most relevant to those seeking full-time or freelance employment in design fields. Sources are noted throughout and listed in more detail at the bottom of this page. We encourage you to visit the sources for further exploration of the opportunities available, and to look into certificate programs and degree programs that can help you build your career and your salary.
U.S. Salary Data
- According to the American Institute of Graphic Arts, solo designers who freelanced or worked under contract to another company reported median earnings of $55,000 in 2011 (Source: AIGA 2011 Salary Survey)
- The median salary for entry level designers has been increasing since 2004 and is now at a strong $37,500
- The median salary for Web developers (front end/interface systems) in 2011 was $52,500. (Source: AIGA 2011 Salary Survey)
- The median salary for creative directors in 2011 was $95,000. (Source: AIGA 2011 Salary Survey)
- Employment of graphic designers is expected to grow 13 percent from 2008 to 2018 as demand for graphic design continues to increase from advertisers and computer design firms (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- Employment opportunities for Web designers, visual designers, and Flash designers grew by approximately 110%, 160%, and 145% respectively from January of 2005 to December of 2010 according to job listings portal site Indeed.com (Source: Indeed.com)
- Median annual wages for graphic designers were $42,400 in May 2008. The middle 50% earned between $32,600 and $56,620 and the highest 10% earned more than $74,660 (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition)
- Most employers prefer to hire experienced desktop publishers; among individuals without experience, opportunities should be best for those with certificates or degrees in desktop publishing or graphic design (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition)
- 91% of Sessions Online students state that Sessions Online has been central to achieving their professional design career objectives (Source: Assessment of Sessions Online Student Outcomes, Eduventures, May 2008)
- 75% of Sessions Online students reported higher income after attending the Sessions and 70% credit Sessions with the increase in income (Source: Assessment of Sessions Online Student Outcomes, Eduventures, May 2008)
There are many reputable sources to perform your own research of design career and salary opportunities. The sources used for the statistics above include AIGA, Aquent, Coroflot, Eduventures, How Design/F+W Publications, Indeed, and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The average salary in graphic design looks strong for the years ahead, so get your portfolio ready!