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Career and Education Opportunities for Graphic Designers in Elgin, Illinois

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for graphic designers in the Elgin, Illinois area. Currently, 11,390 people work as graphic designers in Illinois. This is expected to grow 9% to 12,350 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for graphic designers are expected to grow by about 12.9%. Graphic designers generally design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos.

A person working as a graphic designer can expect to earn about $20 hourly or $43,410 yearly on average in Illinois and about $20 hourly or $42,400 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Art and Design, people working as graphic designers in Illinois earn more. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Art and Design nationally. Jobs in this field include: advertising layout worker, layout artist, and graphic artist.

There are fifteen schools within twenty-five miles of Elgin where you can study to be a graphic designer, among sixty-one schools of higher education total in the Elgin area. Graphic designers usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years training to become a graphic designer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Graphic Designer

In general, graphic designers design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. They also may use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.

Graphic designers develop designs and sample layouts on the basis of knowledge of layout principles and esthetic design concepts. They also maintain archives of images or previous work products. Equally important, graphic designers have to design negatives and prints to produce layout photographs, using negative and print developing equipment and tools. They are often called upon to use computer software to generate new images. They are expected to design graphics and layouts for product illustrations and Internet websites. Finally, graphic designers key data into computer equipment to generate layouts for clients or supervisors.

Every day, graphic designers are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to be creative and generate new ideas.

It is important for graphic designers to mark up and assemble final layouts to ready layouts for printer. They are often called upon to produce still and animated graphics for on-air and taped portions of television news broadcasts, using electronic video equipment. They also research new software or layout concepts. They are sometimes expected to talk with clients to consider and decide on layout design. Somewhat less frequently, graphic designers are also expected to photograph layouts, using camera, to make layout prints for supervisors or clients.

Graphic designers sometimes are asked to inspect final layouts and suggest improvements as needed. And finally, they sometimes have to ready notes and instructions for staff who assemble and ready final layouts for printing.

Like many other jobs, graphic designers must be thorough and dependable and believe in innovation and creative thought.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Elgin include:

  • Art Director. Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches, and direct workers engaged in art work, layout design, and copy writing for visual communications media, such as magazines, books, and packaging.
  • Camera Operator. Operate television, video, or motion picture camera to photograph images or scenes for various purposes, such as TV broadcasts, advertising, or motion pictures.
  • Craftsman. Create or reproduce hand-made objects for sale and exhibition using a variety of techniques, such as welding, weaving, and needlecraft.
  • Director. Interpret script, conduct rehearsals, and direct activities of cast and technical crew for stage, motion pictures, or radio programs.
  • Display Specialist. Plan and erect commercial displays.
  • Fashion Designer. Design clothing and accessories. Create original garments or design garments that follow well established fashion trends. May develop the line of color and kinds of materials.
  • Fine Artist. Create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.
  • Florist. Design, cut, and arrange live, dried, or artificial flowers and foliage.
  • Industrial Designer. Develop and design manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys. Combine artistic talent with research on product use, marketing, and materials to create the most functional and appealing product design.
  • Interior Designer. Plan, design, and furnish interiors of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. Formulate design which is practical, aesthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style. May specialize in a particular field, style, or phase of interior design.
  • Multi-Media Artist or Animator. Create special effects, animation, or other visual images using film, video, or other electronic tools and media for use in products or creations, such as computer games, movies, and commercials.
  • Set and Exhibit Designer. Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Graphic Designer Training

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has 3 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design, one to two year which graduated 4 students in 2008.
  • Design and Visual Communications, associate's degree which graduated 7 students in 2008.
  • Commercial and Advertising Art, less than one year which graduated 47 students in 2008.

American Intercontinental University Online - Hoffman Estates, IL

American Intercontinental University Online, 5550 Prairie Stone Pky-Ste 400, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192. American Intercontinental University Online is a large university located in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 22,963 students and an admission rate of 45%. American Intercontinental University Online has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Design and Visual Communications which graduated 114 and 201 students respectively in 2008.

College of Lake County - Grayslake, IL

College of Lake County, 19351 W Washington St., Grayslake, IL 60030-1198. College of Lake County is a large college located in Grayslake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 16,359 students. College of Lake County has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design which graduated four and three students respectively in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design which graduated three and two students respectively in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Mount Prospect - Mount Prospect, IL

ITT Technical Institute-Mount Prospect, 1401 Feehanville Road, Mount Prospect, IL 60056-9823. ITT Technical Institute-Mount Prospect is a small school located in Mount Prospect, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 534 students and an admission rate of 40%. ITT Technical Institute-Mount Prospect has an associate's degree program in Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design which graduated four students in 2008.

Elgin Community College - Elgin, IL

Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, IL 60123-7193. Elgin Community College is a medium sized college located in Elgin, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,821 students. Elgin Community College has 3 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated two and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Design and Visual Communications, associate's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Graphic Design, associate's degree which graduated 20 students in 2008.

Westwood College-Dupage - Woodridge, IL

Westwood College-Dupage, 7155 Janes Avenue, Woodridge, IL 60517. Westwood College-Dupage is a small college located in Woodridge, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 659 students and an admission rate of 37%. Westwood College-Dupage has 3 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design, bachelor's degree which graduated 8 students in 2008.
  • Design and Visual Communications, bachelor's degree which graduated 11 students in 2008.
  • Commercial and Advertising Art, associate's degree which graduated 5 students in 2008.

Judson University - Elgin, IL

Judson University, 1151 N State St, Elgin, IL 60123-1498. Judson University is a small university located in Elgin, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,226 students. Judson University has a bachelor's degree program in Graphic Design.

Rasmussen College-Aurora - Aurora, IL

Rasmussen College-Aurora, 2363 Sequoia Drive, Suite 131, Aurora, IL 60506. Rasmussen College-Aurora is a small college located in Aurora, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 36 students. Rasmussen College-Aurora has an associate's degree program in Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design.

Oakton Community College - Des Plaines, IL

Oakton Community College, 1600 E Golf Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016-1268. Oakton Community College is a large college located in Des Plaines, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,552 students. Oakton Community College has 2 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design, less than one year which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Graphic Design, associate's degree which graduated 8 students in 2008.

Lewis University - Romeoville, IL

Lewis University, One University Parkway, Romeoville, IL 60446-2200. Lewis University is a medium sized university located in Romeoville, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,536 students and an admission rate of 71%. Lewis University has 2 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Design and Visual Communications, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Commercial and Advertising Art, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.

Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has 2 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design, less than one year which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Design and Visual Communications, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated one and eight students respectively in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Burr Ridge - Burr Ridge, IL

ITT Technical Institute-Burr Ridge, 7040 High Grove Blvd, Burr Ridge, IL 60527. ITT Technical Institute-Burr Ridge is a small school located in Burr Ridge, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 357 students and an admission rate of 40%. ITT Technical Institute-Burr Ridge has an associate's degree program in Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design which graduated ten students in 2008.

The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg - Schaumburg, IL

The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg, 1000 Plaza Drive Ste. 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4913. The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg is a small school located in Schaumburg, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,257 students and an admission rate of 47%. The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg has 4 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design, less than one year, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree which graduated five, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Design and Visual Communications, bachelor's degree.
  • Commercial and Advertising Art, associate's degree.
  • Graphic Design, less than one year and bachelor's degree which graduated four and zero students respectively in 2008.

Waubonsee Community College - Sugar Grove, IL

Waubonsee Community College, Rte 47 at Waubonsee Drive, Sugar Grove, IL 60554-0901. Waubonsee Community College is a medium sized college located in Sugar Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,218 students. Waubonsee Community College has 2 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated two and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Graphic Design, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated two and five students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Web Professional - Site Designer: A CWP Site Designer implements and maintains Web sites using authoring and scripting languages, content creation and management tools, and digital media.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Web Graphics and Multimedia Certificate: Equips the student for work as a Web graphic artist, creating illustrations, pictures, buttons, and other images for use on the Web, as well as the ability to create interactive multimedia designs in Flash or other programs.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Certified Web Designer Associate: Web Designer Associates are proficient in the visual arts and creating the images and designs that capture and keep visitors' interest.

For more information, see the World Organization of Webmasters website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Elgin, Illinois

Elgin, Illinois
Elgin, Illinois photo by James Jordan

Elgin is located in Kane County, Illinois. It has a population of over 106,330, which has grown by 12.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Elgin, 104, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Elgin cost $156,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-two new homes were constructed in Elgin, down from seven hundred fifty-six the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Elgin are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, metal and metal products, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 20.5% of Elgin residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Elgin is 12.4%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Elgin residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church and Saint Thomas More Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Elgin. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Elgin is home to the Fox Bluff Corporate Center and the Elgin Fire Station Number 2 as well as Wing Park and College Park. Shopping malls in the area include Wing Park Manor Shopping Center, Tyler Creek Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Elgin can choose from Elgin-Days Inn, Colonial Lodge Motel and Crowne Plaza for temporary stays in the area.