How To Become A Graphic Designer In Oregon?

Oregon brings many opportunities to people who want to become graphic designers as the market opens up new businesses that need more than traditional design skills. Graphic design has now entered a new market, especially for social media and websites, as branding becomes ever more popular as people want to stand out amongst the sea of many.

Through diverse job titles and chances to work with different programs, you will see that graphic design will be ideal for earning a living. You’ll see more language that fits the graphic design niche that maybe you hadn’t considered as you look around. For example, you could provide promotional needs for companies large and small, digital artistry through many platforms, motion graphics, or you might be asked to develop a complete branding package. Graphic designers are helping to transform the way people communicate visually through electronic media, published work and printed art.

Annual Salary For Graphic Designers In Oregon

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the annual salary for a graphic designer in Oregon is $56,830. The median wage is slightly higher than the rest of the country as it’s $50,710 or $24 an hour on average. There is an expected increase of 3 percent in graphic design over the next 10 years, a slow and steady pace. However, that amount could rise as more people take on freelance or independent contract work.

The state has a median income of $50,521. The cost of living in Oregon is 13.1 percent higher than the national average, making the gap between income and affordability a consideration over the long term. However, the recent job growth in Oregon has been positive, and you can expect to commute around 25 miles a day.

Top Paying Industries For Graphic Designers

The bulk of employment in graphic design is in advertising, public relations and design firms. However, many opportunities include book and magazine publishing, software design, video promotion and advertisement for higher-level clients like large corporations, government offices and people of power worldwide.

Requirements For Graphic Design

Education requirements are not needed to call yourself a graphic designer, and you have the freedom to choose what avenue you can afford and what aligns with your particular learning style. What helps determine where your level of education depends on the industry you are attracted to serving.

As the industry transforms, measures have been put in place to protect people under a language that spans all learning platforms. The Professional Association For Design (AIGA) creates standards and criteria adopted by vocational schools, high schools, and universities alike. The National Association Of Schools Of Art & Design (NASAD) comes to support the AIGA, so the language is clear, so quality employers and graphic designers can find each other in the right setting.

Quality education is the main focus of NASAD and AIGA, as they know the importance of having some sort of training to understand the industry you’ll be participating in. A four-year degree program can be a great choice as it exceeds the standard of knowledge required to take an entry-level graphic designer position. Generally, 65-70 percent of classes will have vast learning of diverse historical and experiential knowledge. You can then expect to see 30 percent of coursework dedicated explicitly to graphic design as you learn to grasp the many ways art can be displayed.

Entry-level positions available with a bachelor’s or four-year degree program

  • Brand Manager
  • Graphic Designer
  • Communications Specialist
  • Illustrator
  • Motion Graphics Specialist
  • Visual Marketing Director
  • Publication Designer
  • Brand Manager

The AIGA and NASAD define a two-year degree program or associate’s degree as community colleges, universities, or vocational schools that offer classes in visual communication, mass forms of diverse art and a strong focus on graphic arts. These classes will be at a faster pace and will be condensed to take less time to complete. As a result, many students can enter the job market early and start earning in the field as they expand their education or expertise.

The Importance Of Education

Being a graphic designer is not relegated to only those with a highly prestigious education. Still, you will realize that any type of training will be ideal if you want to understand the current climate of the graphic design world. In addition, increasing opportunities improve the flexibility of learning styles. They include universities, community colleges, technical schools, dual programs for high school students, and having a personal mentor or teacher. These scenarios will prepare you for the fast-paced world you’ll find yourself in.

The flexibility of how you like to attain a quality education can now be based on your living situation and what works best for you and your family. Most universities and community colleges will offer an online learning option, and other condensed programs will prefer the online reach. So choose what’s suitable for your budget, living style, and personal needs to get your life started in graphic design today.

Oregon State University (OSU)

Oregon State University’s (OSU) graphic design program helps students find their role in shaping contemporary visual design practice with a philosophy that focuses on “action of design” — how design transforms, translates and communicates. Located in Corvallis, Oregon, OSU prides itself on encouraging students to find their creative voice, how to seize the right opportunities and helps to create a portfolio of work that sets a graduate apart in the competitive industry.

Examples of work graphic designers engage

  • Branding and visual identification
  • Exhibition design
  • Information design
  • Interactive design (web, video)
  • Publication design (magazines, newspapers, catalogs)

To apply to the competitive graphic design program offered at OSU, you must have obtained a C or better in every prerequisite course and be declared a graphic design major. In addition, many classes need completion before you participate in the core graphic design classes, so be sure to look at OSU’s BFA Degree Plan to make sure you start on the right path.

Estimated tuition at OSU is $4,397 for residents and $11,661 for non-residents. OSU has a comprehensive list of estimated costs associated with attending their campus and gives a good breakdown of what to prepare for. OSU also has a scholarship website dedicating its resources to keeping students informed on the latest available opportunities. Working with their Scholarship Office works to provide financial guidance to families and students.

Portland Community College (PCC)

Portland Community College (PCC) is located in Portland, Oregon, and they predict the demand for graphic designers will grow by 18 percent through 2027. Portland is a highly creative city and community that thrives on new innovation and design. Local design firms in the area include Nike, Adidas, and Weiden + Kennedy, and they employ graphic designers with a high level of craft. They offer a two-year Associate’s Degree program that teaches you a myriad of industry skills necessary to break into the competitive world of creative design.

Places that hire graphic designers:

  • Interactive design firms
  • Breweries
  • Book publishers
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Commercial printers
  • Event planning and promotion
  • Magazine design
  • Architecture firms
  • Real estate agencies

Tuition is estimated at PCC, where they charge residents $123 per credit hour, and non-residents pay $258. That price applies to international students and students residing in states that do not border Oregon. Their website has a great calculator that helps you assess fees and considerations outside of tuition expenses like transportation, parking permits and housing costs.

PCC’s small class size is open to a maximum of 72 students, and the first year once prerequisites are complete, will begin the winter term.

How to apply

  • Apply to PCC
  • Attend an information session about graphic design
  • Take prerequisite courses that must be completed with a “B.”

American Graphics Institute (AGI)

American Graphics Institute (AGI) offers classes in different areas of the US, giving future enthusiasts a chance to pick and choose how they want to learn. When you take graphic design courses with AGI, you can take classes with a live instructor or online, making it easy to learn from the comfort of your own home or schedule. In addition, classes run from the low $ 400 to the $2,000 range, which can be substantial cost savings instead of attending a two or four-year university.

Popular graphic design classes

  • Graphic Design Course
  • Typography Class
  • UX Design Course
  • UX Class: Rapid prototyping training
  • InDesign Classes: Introduction, Intermediate, Advanced and Bootcamp
  • Photoshop: Introduction, Intermediate, Advanced and Bootcamp
  • Adobe Illustrator: Introduction, Intermediate and Advanced

Your New Graphic Design Career

The way we work as a society is changing, and the opportunities available to us with technology have never been easier. Working for yourself or working with a prestigious company or brand gives you a long-standing place in graphic design. This career can provide you the ultimate edge as you are not relegated to location, schooling or job requirements.