When one has interest in a career, usually the first step is to find some statistical information about the career. The next step is getting a gauge of the required education. Well here you go, below is a detailed analysis on the job outlook of graphic design and how to go about getting a degree.

Let’s start with salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010 the average graphic designer salary was $43,500. The bottom 10% of the group earned less than $26,300 and the top 10% earned more than $76,910. Graphic designers usually work as employees; 29% of designers are self-employed. Self-employment entails meeting customers on the customers’ schedules and taking time to generate new work leads.

Self-employment may be an easy alternative for graphic designers in tough economic times. However, despite our economy, the graphic design field is expected to increase at a rate of 13% through 2020. There is more to this statistic though. Graphic design jobs in printing are expected to rise 2% through 2020, jobs in publishing are expected to fall 4% through 2020. Not very flattering right? Get this: Graphic design jobs in computer systems design and related services are expected to rise 61% in the next ten years! Hello internet! This statistic is the writing on the wall for what you are best off to have your eyes on if you are considering a graphic design career.

It is reasonable to say that many graphic designers today use online resources or plan to design online. The boom of the internet has already provided jobs for thousands of designers and will provide many more going into the future. According to the BLS estimates, we will need to fill a gap of 40,000 designers by 2020 (this is only the demand for employed designers, not freelance or self-employed designers). From a macro perspective, now is a great time to obtain a graphic design degree as our lives shift more and more towards digital media and entertainment.

Hopefully via the aforementioned data we have established that graphic design is a trending and valuable field to get involved in. So what’s next? The next step is to invest in yourself with an education. There are a few degrees that can up your graphic design IQ, and even give you a specialty or area of emphasis.

Graphic Design Degree

This degree provides the greatest amount of diversity within the graphic design field. You get a taste of all the technologies used for graphic creation. Of course, the emphasis of this degree is on design. You will receive a fundamental understanding of design principles, practice, philosophy, and trends. While learning software and tools can be learned outside the classroom, the full design process and design fundamentals are much harder to learn independently.

A graphic design degree will teach you to see the world in a different light. The very site you are reading now has had hours upon hours of design efforts put into it. Classes in graphic design open your eyes to these design elements often unrealized yet subconsciously enjoyed by consumers. Typography may be one of the most important classes you will take. Believe it or not (well, if you take the class you will believe it), good typography speaks when the most flashy designs fail to. You will learn through typography the importance of simplicity and the true meaning of, “less is more”. Another class of importance is branding, which will teach you how to bring decided values and messages of a client to the design and logos.

If you are unsure as to what graphic design degree to pursue, I suggest starting with this degree and getting a feel for all the core classes (you will have to take cores anyways for other specialty design degrees). Later on you can change to another specialty degree if you prefer it, but starting basic can’t hurt.

[Cannot display listing: You must configure the listing from the admin screen before you can add listings to your page.]

Animation Degree

Pixar—Cartoons—Movies—these professions are animation and thus require an animation degree. This degree is all about creating motion in design. Classes range from 2D and 3D animation to storyboard and character design. This particular degree leaves the door open for either computer animation or animation by hand, which is a nice flexibility to have. Often you have the option to use whatever technology you prefer, but do not mistake this flexibility for choice—you need to know both the technical side of the profession as well as the artistic side. Some jobs can be obtained with an associate’s degree or even a certificate of completion, but higher level jobs and career promotions will probably require a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree.

[Cannot display listing: You must configure the listing from the admin screen before you can add listings to your page.]

Web and Multimedia Design Degree

Earlier when I said “computer network designs and other related services will increase 61% through the year 2020” I was circling and highlighting this degree with a massive sharpie. If you want to be a web designer, this is the degree to get. These classes will teach you the basics of design, but you will also be heavily schooled in using technologies to produce websites. You will know Adobe products like the back of your hand by the end of the education. There is one caveat with regards to this degree. For best results, you need to practice designing websites quite often along the way. There are designers out there who are technically sound, but are not good at all at creating attractive, visually appealing websites. Designers are judged on the visuals of the design, not so much by a clean technical CSS profile—so practice and imitate the best!

[Cannot display listing: You must configure the listing from the admin screen before you can add listings to your page.]

Video Game Design Degree

Video games are another trending degree. It should be no brow-raiser that video game usage is at an all-time high. Entertainment more and more is coming in the form of digital media, and video games and websites are right at the heart of the movement. This degree is a very safe bet in our given time and most certainly will be for many years to come. There are two main ways to get involved with video games, a computer programming degree or a video game design degree. Programmers and designers work together to create beautiful aesthetics and clean functionality within every video game.

This particular degree will be a great decision if you already like video games. We’ve all heard the quotes about how making a job out of something you love is like having 5 extra days off every week. So if video games are already something you enjoy, I need not say much else. Go for it.

[Cannot display listing: You must configure the listing from the admin screen before you can add listings to your page.]