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Career and Education Opportunities for Graphic Designers in Columbia, Maryland

Graphic designers can find many career and educational opportunities in the Columbia, Maryland area. Currently, 5,610 people work as graphic designers in Maryland. This is expected to grow by 8% to about 6,070 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.

Income for graphic designers is about $23 hourly or $48,030 yearly on average in Maryland. Nationally, their income is about $20 hourly or $42,400 per year. Incomes for graphic designers are better than in the overall category of Art and Design in Maryland, and not quite as good as the overall Art and Design category nationally. Jobs in this field include: desktop publisher, advertising designer, and digital artist.

The Columbia area is home to 109 schools of higher education, including twenty-four within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree as a graphic designer. Given that the most common education level for graphic designers is a Bachelor's degree, 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 Columbia 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.
  • 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

Marymount University - Arlington, VA

Marymount University, 2807 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207-4299. Marymount University is a small university located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,541 students and an admission rate of 84%. Marymount University has a bachelor's degree program in Graphic Design which graduated fourteen students in 2008.

University of Maryland-University College - Adelphi, MD

University of Maryland-University College, 3501 University Blvd East, Adelphi, MD 20783-8010. University of Maryland-University College is a large university located in Adelphi, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 34,130 students. University of Maryland-University College has 2 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design, two to four year which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Computer Graphics, two to four year which graduated 3 students in 2008.

Towson University - Towson, MD

Towson University, 8000 York Rd, Towson, MD 21252-0001. Towson University is a large university located in Towson, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 21,111 students and an admission rate of 61%. Towson University has a postbaccalaureate certificate program in Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design which graduated four students in 2008.

George Washington University - Washington, DC

George Washington University, 2121 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052. George Washington University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,027 students and an admission rate of 37%. George Washington University has a master's degree program in Design and Visual Communications which graduated one student in 2008.

The Art Institute of Washington - Arlington, VA

The Art Institute of Washington, 1820 N Fort Myer Dr, Arlington, VA 22209-1802. The Art Institute of Washington is a small school located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,871 students and an admission rate of 56%. The Art Institute of Washington has 5 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design, associate's degree and bachelor's degree which graduated three and three students respectively in 2008.
  • Computer Graphics, bachelor's degree which graduated 8 students in 2008.
  • Design and Visual Communications, associate's degree and bachelor's degree which graduated two and three students respectively in 2008.
  • Commercial and Advertising Art, associate's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Graphic Design, associate's degree and bachelor's degree which graduated two and twenty-eight students respectively in 2008.

Carroll Community College - Westminster, MD

Carroll Community College, 1601 Washington Rd, Westminster, MD 21157. Carroll Community College is a small college located in Westminster, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,453 students. Carroll Community College has 2 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Computer Graphics, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated one and seven students respectively in 2008.
  • Commercial and Advertising Art, one to two year.

ITT Technical Institute-Owings Mills - Owings Mills, MD

ITT Technical Institute-Owings Mills, 11301 Red Run Blvd, Owings Mills, MD 21117. ITT Technical Institute-Owings Mills is a small school located in Owings Mills, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,121 students and an admission rate of 54%. ITT Technical Institute-Owings Mills has an associate's degree program in Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

University of the District of Columbia - Washington, DC

University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. University of the District of Columbia is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,339 students. University of the District of Columbia has 2 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

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

Prince George's Community College - Largo, MD

Prince George's Community College, 301 Largo Rd, Largo, MD 20774-2199. Prince George's Community College is a large college located in Largo, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,005 students. Prince George's Community College has 2 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design, one to two year.
  • Commercial and Advertising Art, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated six and four students respectively in 2008.

Stevenson University - Stevenson, MD

Stevenson University, 1525 Greenspring Valley Rd, Stevenson, MD 21153-0641. Stevenson University is a small university located in Stevenson, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,435 students and an admission rate of 62%. Stevenson University has a bachelor's degree program in Design and Visual Communications which graduated thirty-one students in 2008.

University of Baltimore - Baltimore, MD

University of Baltimore, Charles at Mount Royal, Baltimore, MD 21201-208. University of Baltimore is a medium sized university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,844 students and an admission rate of 50%. University of Baltimore has 3 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Computer Graphics, bachelor's degree which graduated 13 students in 2008.
  • Design and Visual Communications, postbaccalaureate certificate and doctor's degree which graduated one and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Commercial and Advertising Art, postbaccalaureate certificate.

American University - Washington, DC

American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016-8001. American University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 11,684 students and an admission rate of 53%. American University has a bachelor's degree program in Graphic Design.

Stratford University - Falls Church, VA

Stratford University, 7777 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043-2403. Stratford University is a small university located in Falls Church, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,644 students. Stratford University has an associate's degree program in Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design which graduated two students in 2008.

Howard Community College - Columbia, MD

Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21044-3197. Howard Community College is a medium sized college located in Columbia, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,905 students. Howard Community College has a one to two year program in Commercial and Advertising Art which graduated five students in 2008.

Westwood College-Arlington Ballston - Arlington, VA

Westwood College-Arlington Ballston, 4300 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 200, Arlington, VA 22203. Westwood College-Arlington Ballston is a small college located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 293 students. Westwood College-Arlington Ballston has an associate's degree program in Graphic Design which graduated four students in 2008.

Maryland Institute College of Art - Baltimore, MD

Maryland Institute College of Art, 1300 Mount Royal Ave, Baltimore, MD 21217-4134. Maryland Institute College of Art is a small college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,176 students and an admission rate of 52%. Maryland Institute College of Art has one to two year, bachelor's degree, and master's degree programs in Graphic Design which graduated eleven, fifty-six, and eight students respectively in 2008.

Montgomery College - Rockville, MD

Montgomery College, 40 W. Gude Drive, Suite 220, Rockville, MD 20850. Montgomery College is a large college located in Rockville, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,452 students. Montgomery College has 2 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design, associate's degree which graduated 7 students in 2008.
  • Commercial and Advertising Art, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated fifteen and twenty-three students respectively in 2008.

Anne Arundel Community College - Arnold, MD

Anne Arundel Community College, 101 College Pky, Arnold, MD 21012-1895. Anne Arundel Community College is a large college located in Arnold, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,149 students. Anne Arundel Community College has a one to two year program in Commercial and Advertising Art which graduated four students in 2008.

Sanford-Brown College - Vienna, VA

Sanford-Brown College, 1980 Gallows Rd, Vienna, VA 22182. Sanford-Brown College is a small college located in Vienna, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 736 students. Sanford-Brown College has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Design and Visual Communications which graduated twenty-eight and sixteen students respectively in 2008.

Corcoran College of Art and Design - Washington, DC

Corcoran College of Art and Design, 500 Seventeenth St NW, Washington, DC 20006-4804. Corcoran College of Art and Design is a small college located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 943 students and an admission rate of 59%. Corcoran College of Art and Design has 2 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design, less than one year which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Graphic Design, less than one year, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree which graduated seven, two, and fourteen students respectively in 2008.

The Community College of Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

The Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21237. The Community College of Baltimore County is a large college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,673 students. The Community College of Baltimore County has 2 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Computer Graphics, one to two year.
  • Commercial and Advertising Art, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated eighteen and fifty students respectively in 2008.

Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale, VA

Northern Virginia Community College, 4001 Wakefield Chapel Rd, Annandale, VA 22003-3796. Northern Virginia Community College is a large college located in Annandale, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,870 students. Northern Virginia Community College has 2 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, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated two and twenty-nine students respectively in 2008.

Westwood College-Annandale - Annandale, VA

Westwood College-Annandale, 7619 Little River Turnpike, 5th Floor, Annandale, VA 22003. Westwood College-Annandale is a small college located in Annandale, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 362 students. Westwood College-Annandale has an associate's degree program in Graphic Design which graduated nine students in 2008.

Gallaudet University - Washington, DC

Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave, NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695. Gallaudet University is a small university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,389 students and an admission rate of 64%. Gallaudet University has 2 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Design and Visual Communications, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Graphic Design, bachelor's degree which graduated 9 students 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: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.