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Career and Education Opportunities for Graphic Designers in Vancouver, Washington

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for graphic designers in the Vancouver, Washington area. Currently, 5,670 people work as graphic designers in Washington. This is expected to grow by 16% to about 6,580 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for graphic designers, which sees this job pool growing by about 12.9% over the next eight years. Graphic designers generally design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos.

Graphic designers earn about $21 hourly or $45,410 annually on average in Washington and about $20 hourly or $42,400 annually on average nationally. Graphic designers earn less than people working in the category of Art and Design generally in Washington and less than people in the Art and Design category nationally. People working as graphic designers can fill a number of jobs, such as: label maker, desktop publisher, and creative manager.

The Vancouver area is home to forty-eight schools of higher education, including eight within twenty-five miles of Vancouver 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, 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 Vancouver 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

Mt Hood Community College - Gresham, OR

Mt Hood Community College, 26000 SE Stark St, Gresham, OR 97030. Mt Hood Community College is a medium sized college located in Gresham, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,251 students. Mt Hood Community College has 3 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design, associate's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.
  • Commercial and Advertising Art, associate's degree.
  • Graphic Design, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated zero and fifteen students respectively in 2008.

Pacific Northwest College of Art - Portland, OR

Pacific Northwest College of Art, 1241 NW Johnson, Portland, OR 97209-3023. Pacific Northwest College of Art is a small college located in Portland, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 507 students and an admission rate of 51%. Pacific Northwest College of Art has a bachelor's degree program in Graphic Design which graduated eight students in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Portland - Portland, OR

ITT Technical Institute-Portland, 9500 NE Cascades Parkway, Portland, OR 97220. ITT Technical Institute-Portland is a small school located in Portland, Oregon. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 816 students and an admission rate of 50%. ITT Technical Institute-Portland has 2 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design, associate's degree which graduated 17 students in 2008.
  • Design and Visual Communications, associate's degree.

The Art Institute of Portland - Portland, OR

The Art Institute of Portland, 1122 NW Davis St., Portland, OR 97209-2911. The Art Institute of Portland is a small school located in Portland, Oregon. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,728 students and an admission rate of 73%. The Art Institute of Portland has 6 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 two and ten students respectively in 2008.
  • Computer Graphics, bachelor's degree which graduated 23 students in 2008.
  • Design and Visual Communications, bachelor's degree which graduated 34 students in 2008.
  • Commercial and Advertising Art, bachelor's degree which graduated 9 students in 2008.
  • Industrial Design, bachelor's degree.
  • Graphic Design, associate's degree and bachelor's degree which graduated six and forty students respectively in 2008.

Portland Community College - Portland, OR

Portland Community College, 12000 SW 49th Avenue, Portland, OR 97219-7132. Portland Community College is a large college located in Portland, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,657 students. Portland Community College has 3 areas of study related to Graphic Designer. They are:

  • Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design, less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree which graduated two, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Design and Visual Communications, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated six and six students respectively in 2008.
  • Commercial and Advertising Art, associate's degree which graduated 13 students in 2008.

Clark College - Vancouver, WA

Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, WA 98663-3598. Clark College is a large college located in Vancouver, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,378 students. Clark College has a one to two year program in Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design which graduated three students in 2008.

Clackamas Community College - Oregon City, OR

Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Ave, Oregon City, OR 97045-8980. Clackamas Community College is a medium sized college located in Oregon City, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,701 students. Clackamas Community College has a one to two year program in Web Page, Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design which graduated two students in 2008.

Portland State University - Portland, OR

Portland State University, 724 SW Harrison, Portland, OR 97201. Portland State University is a large university located in Portland, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,959 students and an admission rate of 80%. Portland State University has a bachelor's degree program in Graphic Design which graduated forty-seven 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: Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver, Washington
Vancouver, Washington photo by Matthiasb

Vancouver is located in Clark County, Washington. It has a population of over 163,186, which has grown by 13.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Vancouver, 98, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Vancouver are priced at $95,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred eighty new homes were built in Vancouver, down from four hundred twenty the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Vancouver are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, computer and electronic products, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 21.7% of Vancouver residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Vancouver is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Vancouver residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 27.9%, is less than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Vancouver is home to the Vancouver Square and the Vancouver Plaza as well as Leverich Park and Wintler Park. Shopping malls in the area include Arbours Shopping Center, Millport Shopping Center and Vancouver Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Vancouver can choose from Comfort Suites Vancouver, Homewood Suites Portland-Vancouver and Best Western Hotel and Suites Vacouver Mall Dr for temporary stays in the area.