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Career and Education Opportunities for Art Directors in Charleston, West Virginia

If you want to be an art director, the Charleston, West Virginia area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 160 people are currently employed as art directors in West Virginia. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 8% to 170 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for art directors are expected to grow by about 11.7%. 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 earn approximately $23 hourly or $49,730 yearly on average in West Virginia. Nationally they average about $37 per hour or $76,980 yearly. Art directors earn more than people working in the category of Art and Design generally in West Virginia and more than people in the Art and Design category nationally. People working as art directors can fill a number of jobs, such as: art department head, artistic director, and creative director.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Charleston area, including one within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can get a degree to start your career as an art director. The most common level of education for art directors is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. It will take about two years to learn to be an art director if you already have a high school diploma.


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 Charleston include:

  • Craftsman. Create or reproduce hand-made objects for sale and exhibition using a variety of techniques, such as welding, weaving, and needlecraft.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Putnam Career and Technical Center - Eleanor, WV

Putnam Career and Technical Center, 101 Roosevelt Boulevard, Eleanor, WV 25070-0640. Putnam Career and Technical Center is a small school located in Eleanor, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 110 students. Putnam Career and Technical Center has a one to two year program in Graphic Design which graduated one student in 2008.


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: Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia photo by Malepheasant

Charleston is situated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 50,302, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston are priced at $268,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Charleston, up from twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 16 minutes. More than 32.6% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 16.7% of Charleston's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Starcher Baptist Church, Southeast Church of the Nazarene and South Ruffner Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Charleston is home to the John F Kennedy Center and the Kanawha County Courthouse as well as Watt Powell Stadium and Ruffner Memorial Park. Shopping centers in the area include Patrick Street Plaza Shopping Center, Laidley Court Shopping Center and Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from Days Inn Charleston East WV, Motel 6 and Fairfield Inn Charleston for temporary stays in the area.