3 High-Paying Graphic Design Jobs that Could be Yours

high-paying-design-jobsIf you’re considering pursuing your dream of working in the graphic design field it’s normal to have some questions or concerns. After all, you’re no longer a wide-eyed 18-year-old without a care in the world. You’ve spent some time in the “real world” you know how difficult it is to provide for a family.

Being in the workforce has taught you to always have a plan, which is why you want to do a little research before making the career change you might be contemplating. One of your biggest concerns is likely whether or not graphic design salaries can support your family. It’s great to chase your dreams but now that you’ve got real responsibilities it’s important to consider how any career change may impact your financial status.

Take comfort in knowing there are high-paying graphic design jobs out there and they could be yours with the right planning and preparation. We analyzed thousands of job postings from the past year and identified three graphic design salaries that top $60,000 per year.*

Impressive graphic design salaries

There are many stereotypes about graphic designers that might lead you to believe that they don’t make much money. It’s true that some choose to wear wrinkled t-shirt paired with worn jeans and sneakers, however this doesn’t necessarily reflect their earnings.

Below you’ll find three unique graphic design careers that offer sizeable salaries. You will see the earning potential for each position, get a taste of the responsibilities of each job and learn what it takes to land these positions.

1. Multimedia artist & animator: $61,370/year**

Professionals in these positions create animation and special effects for movies, television, video games and other forms of media. They breathe life into ideas by writing code and using computer software. These workers often have the option of being self-employed or may work for an agency or television or film studio. Available jobs = 7,723*

Education: Eighty-two percent of job postings preferred candidates to have a bachelor’s degree, although it is not always required. Many multimedia artists and animators earn a graphic design degree.

Experience: Fifty-seven percent of job postings asked for candidates to have zero to four years of experience, which means with the proper knowledge and skills you can enter this field relatively quickly.

    Hard skills needed:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • JavaScript

    Soft skills needed:

  • Software & programming
  • Visual & graphic design
  • Tech development & design


Takeaway: If you’re a creative individual who is also software savvy, you are a great candidate for a multimedia artist or animation position!

2. Web developer: $62,500/year

Web developers create and design websites using scripting and programming languages such as Java, C++ or PHP. They are responsible for maintaining and tracking several aspects of a website, such as its performance, capacity, speed and traffic. These professionals decide which applications and designs best fit specific websites depending on the client’s needs. Available jobs: 85,035

Education: Eighty-nine percent of job postings prefer candidates to have earned a bachelor’s degree. Most web developers have either a graphic design degree or a web programming degree.

 Experience: Fifty-six percent of web developer job postings were seeking developers with less than four year of experience. Positions in this field are projected to grow much faster than average, which means you’ll be immediately employable once equipped with the necessary skills.

    Hard skills needed:

  • JavaScript
  • jQuery
  • Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP)

    Soft skills needed:

  • Software & programming
  • Tech development & design
  • Problem solving


Takeaway: If you consider yourself analytical and are equipped with strong technical skills, you are a perfect fit for a position in web development!

3. Art Director: $80,880/year

Art directors work for magazines, newspapers or various agencies to manage the overall aesthetic direction of a project. They generally supervise teams of design professionals to ensure budgets are kept, deadlines are met and the artistic vision of the client is achieved. They are also responsible for reviewing and approving all creative materials before being presented to a client. Available jobs: 6,832

Education: Ninety percent of art director job postings require candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. In a prestigious leadership position like this, many individuals also have a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) or a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Experience: Seventy-six percent of postings require candidates to have a minimum of four years of experience, with many asking for as many as seven years. Most individuals start as graphic designers, illustrators or copy editors before climbing the corporate ladder to the role of art director.

    Hard skills needed:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Concept development
  • Graphic design

Soft skills needed:

  • Problem solving
  • Business environment understanding
  • Project management & process flow

    Takeaway: If you are passionate about design but also employ outstanding leadership and project management skills, you are perfectly suited to be an art director!

    Don’t wait any longer...

    You’ll notice that the three featured careers are very different from one another. We chose these specific careers to illustrate that there are high-paying graphic design jobs for designers of all kinds. The information above should help you decide which career is best aligned with your skills, interests and abilities.

    The bottom line is that you shouldn’t feel apprehensive about pursuing your dream of working in graphic design. Any of these high-paying graphic design jobs would allow you to achieve both personal satisfaction and financial stability.

    So take the next step and explore the graphic design degree options that can help you acquire the knowledge and skills to launch your career. The sooner you decide, the sooner you can start earning these impressive graphic design salaries!


    *Jobs available, skills needed, experience and education information came from an analysis of graphic design job openings, Dec. 10, 2013 to Dec. 9, 2013 (BurningGlass.com).

    **Median annual salaries came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.


    External links provided on Rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

    Callie is a Content Marketing Specialist who writes helpful and encouraging career-focused content on behalf of Rasmussen College. Her eagerness for helping others combined with her creative writing passion makes her a great asset to past, present and prospective learners...

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