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Career and Education Opportunities for Art Directors in Alexandria, Virginia

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for art directors in the Alexandria, Virginia area. The national trend for art directors sees this job pool growing by about 11.7% over the next eight years. Art directors generally 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.

A person working as an art director can expect to earn about $31 hourly or $66,260 yearly on average in Virginia and about $37 hourly or $76,980 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for art directors are better than earnings in the general category of Art and Design in Virginia and better than general Art and Design category earnings nationally. People working as art directors can fill a number of jobs, such as: product designer, artistic director, and art department head.

There are eight schools within twenty-five miles of Alexandria where you can study to be an art director, among eighty-four schools of higher education total in the Alexandria area. Art directors usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so you can expect to spend about two years training to become an art director if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Art Director

In general, art directors 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.

Art directors formulate basic layout designs and presentation approaches and specify material details, such as style and size of type. They also talk with creative or production department heads to consider client requirements and presentation concepts and to direct creative efforts. Equally important, art directors have to develop custom illustrations or other graphic elements. They are often called upon to inspect and approve art materials and proofs of printed copy developed by staff members. They are expected to inspect illustrative material to establish if it conforms to standards and specifications. Finally, art directors talk with clients to establish objectives and presentation approaches, styles, and techniques.

Every day, art directors are expected to be able to be creative and generate new ideas. They need to see details at a very fine level of focus.

It is important for art directors to mark up and complete layouts and write typography instructions to ready materials for typesetting or printing. They are often called upon to hire and direct staff members who develop layout concepts into art layouts or who ready layouts for printing. They also oversee own accounts and projects, working within budget and scheduling requirements. They are sometimes expected to attend photo shoots and printing sessions to insure that the products needed are obtained. Somewhat less frequently, art directors are also expected to ready detailed storyboards showing sequence and timing of story development for television production.

Art directors sometimes are asked to negotiate with printers and estimators to establish what services will be performed. and coordinate with creative directors to optimize layout solutions. And finally, they sometimes have to attend photo shoots and printing sessions to insure that the products needed are obtained.

Like many other jobs, art directors must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Alexandria include:

  • 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.
  • Graphic Designer. Design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.
  • 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.
  • Music Composer. Write and transcribe musical scores.
  • Music Director. Direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups.
  • Public Relations Specialist. Engage in promoting or creating good will for individuals, groups, or organizations by writing or selecting favorable publicity material and releasing it through various communications media. May prepare and arrange displays, and make speeches.
  • 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: Art Director 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 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 a bachelor's degree program in Intermedia/Multimedia which graduated fifteen students 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 less than one year, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree programs in Graphic Design which graduated seven, two, and fourteen 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.

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 an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Graphic Design which graduated two and twenty-eight students respectively in 2008.

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 2 areas of study related to Art Director. They are:

  • Graphic Design, bachelor's degree.
  • Intermedia/Multimedia, bachelor's degree.

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 a bachelor's degree program in Graphic Design which graduated nine 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.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Graphic Communication Manager: The In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association's (IPMA) Certified Graphic Communications Manager (CGCM) designation was created in 1976 to establish a professional standard of proficiency for the in-house graphic arts and printing management profession.

For more information, see the International Publishing Management Association website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria, Virginia photo by SchuminWeb

Alexandria is situated in Alexandria City County, Virginia. It has a population of over 143,885, which has grown by 12.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Alexandria, 124, is far greater than the national average.

The three big industries for women in Alexandria are professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 30 minutes. More than 54.3% of Alexandria residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Alexandria is 4.6%, which is less than Virginia's average of 6.4%.

Church of Resurrection Episcopal, Agudas Achim Synagogue and Alexandria Bible Church are some of the churches located in Alexandria.

Alexandria is home to the Circle Terrace Hospital and the Kate Waller Barrett Branch as well as Marina Park and Founders Park. Shopping centers in the area include Hamlet Shopping Center, Landmark Shopping Center and Arlandria Shopping Center. Visitors to Alexandria can choose from Comfort Inn-Landmark, Best Western Old Colony Inn and Hilton Inn for temporary stays in the area.