How To Become A Graphic Designer In Nevada?

Graphic designers are a crucial part of our visually communicative world. They participate in almost every facet of marketing and advertising, including motion graphics, promotional needs, logos and typography. Graphic designers transform the landscape of published, printed or electronic media.

Graphic designers can go into any arena in Nevada. You will find them employed in high-end casinos, utility companies, gas station chains, private firms that need visual communication and print shops– not to mention the growing number of professional sports teams that work with prestigious design firms in the area.

Annual Salary For Graphic Designers In Nevada

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the annual salary is $52,930 for graphic designers in Nevada, while the median salary is $50,710 or $24.38. The total number of jobs held in this position in 2020 was 254,100. The job market for graphic designers for the next ten years is expected to see a 3% increase.

Nevada is one of the fastest-growing states globally, and the population has risen 9.7 percent since 2020, coming in at 3.1 million people. However, the cost of living in Nevada is 10.5 percent higher than the national average, so consider that in your long-term planning. In addition, as many people move in from neighboring states, the need for quality graphic designers will be needed as new businesses arrive.

Top Paying Industries For Graphic Designers

Industries with the highest levels of employment and highest levels of concentration in graphic design are specialized services such as design firms, advertising, and public relations. However, with as few as 30 in some instances, the top-paying industries see high annual wages in central banking, software publishing, natural gas distribution, and the federal executive branch.

Accredited Degree Programs In Nevada

The importance of degree programs is significant as there are many types of graphic design courses you can take. However, they are not all created equal. The Professional Association For Design (AIGA) helps create criteria for accredited programs and the National Association Of Schools Of Art & Design (NASAD). They both support the need for higher education.

Both places have numerous resources to help you continue to be inspired and build connections to get you thinking about your future career. Both professional heavyweights in graphic design, you can be confident the schools and backing of investing in quality education are paramount. In addition, your design firm or personal customers want to be reassured you know how to handle their specific needs and have been trained at a level to do so.

The AIGA and NASAD define a Four-Year Professional Degree program as preparation for the specific standard body of knowledge and skills required for entry-level graphic designer work. This will usually be described as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design or  Bachelor of Graphic Design. When taking required course work, at least 65 percent of classes will be design-related, while the 25 percent will be singularly focused on graphic design.

Positions one can hold with a freshly obtained four-year degree

  • Multimedia Designer
  • UI Specialist
  • Exhibition
  • Photo Imaging Specialist
  • Environmental Designer
  • Advertising Designer
  • Motion Graphics Specialist
  • Infographics Designer
  • Visual Marketing Director
  • Brand Manager
  • Typographer
  • Web Designer
  • Illustrator
  • Graphic Designer
  • Art Director
  • Creative Director
  • Communications Specialist
  • Publication Designer

The AIGA and NASAD define a Two-Year Degree Program as many community colleges and vocational schools that offer courses in commercial art, graphic arts, and visual communications. These courses will be condensed in nature and could leave the student without proper industry knowledge, software expertise and experience of industry change. An Associate of Arts, Associate of Science,  and Associate of Fine Arts will be some of the descriptions you see in course catalogs.

College Of Southern Nevada (CSN)

The College of Southern Nevada created a 2-year AAS degree for graphic design, training people to use digital tools for employment in the design and creative production fields. This two-year program is directed toward producing and assembling digital material for visual communication and designing. General education requirements include classes in mathematics, English, communications, human relations, natural science, fine arts and history while taking 38 credit hours in your graphic design courses.

Tuition and fees at CSN are $115 per credit hour for the lower division courses, while the upper-division courses are $188 per credit hour. Many additional costs need to be considered, such as living expenses, transportation and books. Full-Time non-resident students taking seven credit hours or more will pay $3,843 per semester. CSN has several locations around the Las Vegas Valley; the Charleston Campus, Henderson Campus, and North Las Vegas campuses serve different degree programs. Prerequisite courses can be taken at any location.

Additional school fees to consider

  • E-Learning Fee (Online Course Fee)- $10 per course
  • Athletics and Recreation- $2.00 per credit
  • Student Union Fee- $4.00 per credit
  • Technology Fee- $8.50 per credit
  • Registration fee for lower-division courses- $115.75 per credit
  • Registration fee for upper-division classes- $188.00 per credit

CSN offers a comprehensive two-year degree program that helps students get an entry-level job in the field. With the many courses you’ll need to take and the various advantages you’ll gain, you will find an area or particular field of design that you like the most.

University Of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV)

University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) has a BS or four-year program in Graphic Design & Media that focuses on creating an environment that emphasizes hands-on design practice and building technical and formal skills while learning theory and practice.

UNLV prepares its students through the following learning outcomes

  • Prepare students to employ the appropriate strategy to solve technical and creative design needs.
  • To learn how to respond to design examples in both verbal and written form.
  • Demonstrate fluency in the software applications used by typical design professionals.
  • Assimilate a competitive work portfolio that displays all of your design work and media that focuses on your career goals.

UNLV requires that students obtain 69 credit hours worth of prerequisite coursework before taking your specialized degree program classes. You can expect to take a varied load of coursework in communications where they give you real-world speaking-related experiences that help you in effective public speaking, such as successfully leading a meeting or organizing a presentation. There is a core foundation in art through classes such as hand drawing and design fundamentals with lines, planes, spaces, and colors. A handful of courses surround the survey of art history, giving you examples of design principles worldwide. Attending the four-year university program gives you a well-rounded education, giving you examples of applying your knowledge and finding the right niche for your unique design style.

UNLV is a central point of the Las Vegas community and receives funding from many businesses like casinos and conventions. In addition, they give back to students by offering 5.7 million dollars in annual funding for scholarships and fellowships. They also provide 21 million dollars a year to graduate students to assist in funding their education, making their 1000+ graduate student program robust, stable and supportive. 

Assess your tuition and fees using their Student Registration Fee Calculator; however, expect to pay $157 per credit hour for your graduate study courses. Financial aid is available to those who qualify, so filling out your FAFSA form as soon as possible shows you what you are eligible for in grants and scholarships first.

First-year students interested in UNLV’s graphic design program should start the process early by immersing in the college for a full four years. Find your start with UNLV by filling out your application.

After submitting your application

  • Submit your high school transcripts if you did not self-report your classes on your application.
  • Send in your ACT or SAT scores as they are highly favored when selected courses.
  • Apply for financial aid by filling out your FAFSA
  • Students not eligible for FAFSA may apply for an Alternate Need by filling out a form.

Western Nevada College

Western Nevada College (WNC) offers a graphic design program that helps students get into the field of graphic design from an entry-level path through multimedia, animation, and web design. Students will participate in coursework to obtain knowledge that captivates and informs their consumers. Their program expands if you’re interested in a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. You can complete your Associate of Arts degree at WNC and transfer to UNLV, University of Nevada Reno, or Truckee Meadows Community College.

WNC offers an easy alternative to its students, so they are fully prepared to take their degree to the next level without figuring out if the courses taken are correct. However, if you’re looking for the basics and are not interested in extending your education, then WNC could be for you, especially if you’re unsure of where you’d like to land. Apply to WNC here.

Self Employment With Graphic Design

Self-employment, freelancing, and entrepreneurship are where most graphic designers win with financial gain and versatile clientele, putting your degree to the test. When you take the road to work for yourself, you have the chance to market your services, control your schedule and work with people and brands that you’re genuinely passionate about supporting.