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Career and Education Opportunities for Graphic Designers in Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for graphic designers. There are currently 6,030 working graphic designers in North Carolina; this should grow 10% to 6,630 working graphic designers in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for graphic designers, which sees this job pool growing by about 12.9% over the next eight years. In general, graphic designers design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos.

Graphic designers earn about $18 per hour or $37,980 annually on average in North Carolina and about $20 hourly or $42,400 yearly on average nationally. Earnings for graphic designers are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Art and Design in North Carolina and not quite as good as general Art and Design category earnings nationally. People working as graphic designers can fill a number of jobs, such as: creative manager, presentation specialist, and artist.

The Charlotte area is home to forty-three schools of higher education, including nine within twenty-five miles of Charlotte where you can get a degree as a graphic designer. Graphic designers usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so it will take about four years to learn to be 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 Charlotte 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.
  • 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

King's College - Charlotte, NC

King's College, 322 Lamar Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28204. King's College is a small college located in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 604 students and an admission rate of 82%. King's College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Graphic Design which graduated four and twenty-seven students respectively in 2008.

York Technical College - Rock Hill, SC

York Technical College, 452 S Anderson Rd, Rock Hill, SC 29730. York Technical College is a medium sized college located in Rock Hill, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,094 students. York Technical College has a less than one year program in Commercial and Advertising Art which graduated two students in 2008.

TechSkills-Charlotte - Charlotte, NC

TechSkills-Charlotte, 4421 Stuart Andrew Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28217. TechSkills-Charlotte is a small school located in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 71 students. TechSkills-Charlotte has a less than one year program in Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design which graduated two students in 2008.

The Art Institute of Charlotte - Charlotte, NC

The Art Institute of Charlotte, Three Lakepointe Plaze, 2110 Water Ridge Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28217-4536. The Art Institute of Charlotte is a small school located in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,141 students and an admission rate of 47%. The Art Institute of Charlotte has 2 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design, one to two year, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree which graduated four, five, and seven students respectively in 2008.
  • Graphic Design, one to two year, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree which graduated eleven, twenty-five, and seventeen students respectively in 2008.

Lenoir-Rhyne University - Hickory, NC

Lenoir-Rhyne University, 625 7th Avenue NE, Hickory, NC 28601. Lenoir-Rhyne University is a small university located in Hickory, North Carolina. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,548 students and an admission rate of 81%. Lenoir-Rhyne University has a bachelor's degree program in Graphic Design.

Winthrop University - Rock Hill, SC

Winthrop University, 119 Tillman Hall, Rock Hill, SC 29733. Winthrop University is a medium sized university located in Rock Hill, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,018 students and an admission rate of 70%. Winthrop University has a master's degree program in Design and Visual Communications which graduated one student in 2008.

Catawba Valley Community College - Hickory, NC

Catawba Valley Community College, 2550 Hwy 70 SE, Hickory, NC 28602-0699. Catawba Valley Community College is a small college located in Hickory, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,011 students. Catawba Valley Community College has an associate's degree program in Commercial and Advertising Art which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

Central Piedmont Community College - Charlotte, NC

Central Piedmont Community College, 1201 Elizabeth Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28204. Central Piedmont Community College is a large college located in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 16,536 students. Central Piedmont Community College has 2 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Commercial and Advertising Art, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated two and twelve students respectively in 2008.
  • Graphic Design, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated five and eight students respectively in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Charlotte - Charlotte, NC

ITT Technical Institute-Charlotte, 4135 Southstream Blvd., Suite 200, Charlotte, NC 28217. ITT Technical Institute-Charlotte is a small school located in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 724 students and an admission rate of 45%. ITT Technical Institute-Charlotte has an associate's degree program in Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design.

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: Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina photo by Alaskan Assassin

Charlotte is located in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. It has a population of over 687,456, which has grown by 27.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charlotte, 86, is well below the national average.

The three big industries for women in Charlotte are health care, finance and insurance, and educational services. For men, it is construction, finance and insurance, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 36.4% of Charlotte residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charlotte is 9.7%, which is less than North Carolina's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Charlotte residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 48.0%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. New Hampton Church, New Emmanuel Church and New East Stonewall Church are all churches located in Charlotte. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Charlotte is home to the Crown Point Plaza and the Providence Square as well as Kilborne District Park and Little Rock Road District Park. Shopping malls in the area include Heckinger Shopping Center, Hampshire Hills Shopping Center and Providence Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Charlotte can choose from American Motel, Extended Stay America - Charlotte/Tyvola and Drury Inn and Suites Charlotte for temporary stays in the area.