Graphic design is all around us. The pages you are holding in your hands were put together by a graphic artist. If you look around the room you are in, you’ll likely find many examples of graphic design. From company logos to road signs to product packaging, design is an integral part of modern life.

Some people are surprised to discover that Oakton Community College offers graphic design and photography programs as part of its liberal arts curriculum.

In 2008, there were 286,100 people employed in graphic design jobs. By 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of graphic design jobs will increase 13 percent. However, this doesn’t mean you’ll have smooth sailing when applying for graphic design jobs. Competition comes with the territory in many art careers. About 25 percent of graphic designers are self-employed and many of these designers work on a freelance or contract basis.

There are definitely perks to being your own boss. For instance, you get to set your own hours and choose your own jobs. If you work well by yourself and can stay motivated to meet project deadlines without a supervisor to keep you accountable, working for yourself may be a good fit for you. On the other hand, working in a graphic design job at a firm has good points as well. Your company will be responsible for maintaining your work environment, purchasing equipment and software, and building a client base. You’ll also be more likely to work regular hours for a predictable paycheck.

On average, an entry-level graphic design job pays about $36,000, advancing to $45,000 with experience under your belt. Growing into your career, an art director should average around $75,000 and a creative director around $100,000. Free-lancers find their salaries can vary widely, depending upon how much work they take on.

Oakton offers certificates in photography, animation and multimedia, and web graphic page design in addition to the Associate in Applied Science in Graphic Design.