Computer Graphics Technology: Career and Salary Facts

A degree in computer graphics technology can prepare you for jobs in design, drafting and animation. Find out about different careers, salaries and schooling options, including online study. Schools offering 3D Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Careers Are Available in Computer Graphics Technology?

Computer graphics technology professionals can work in a variety of fields, including entertainment, business and education. Earning a bachelor's or master's degree in graphic design might help you find work as a graphic or Web designer who designs websites, advertisements or magazine layouts. A degree in graphic design could also qualify you for work as a multimedia artist or animator. In some cases, earning an associate's or bachelor's degree in computer graphics technology might lead to work as a drafter or a computer aided design (CAD) specialist; these professionals create technical layouts needed for building and equipment construction.

Career OptionsGraphic design, web design, drafting, computer aided design
Job Outlook (2014-24)*No change for graphic designers; 3% decline for drafters; 6% growth for multimedia artists and animators
Areas of StudyComputer graphics technology, graphic design
Program FormatOn campus or online

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is the Salary Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of graphic design jobs was not expected to change for the period of 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS notes that graphic designers made a median annual wage of $46,900 as of May 2015.

The number of employed multimedia artists and animators is projected to grow by 6% from 2014-2024, according to the BLS. Multimedia artists and animators earned a median annual salary of $63,970 per year as of May 2015.

The BLS reported that the number of employed drafters was expected to shrink by three percent from 2014-2024. During this time, drafters in the field of electronics and electricity had the best chance of gaining employment. CAD drafters in these two fields earned a median annual salary of $59,520 as of May 2015, as reported by the BLS.

How Can I Train?

If you're interested in working as a graphic designer, you can earn a bachelor's or master's degree in graphic design. You might take courses in computer animation, typography, interactive media, electronic illustration and Web design. You could also learn how to use different software programs, such as Photoshop, AfterEffects or Dreamweaver. Some bachelor's programs in graphic design may culminate in the creation of a professional portfolio.

Associate's, bachelor's and master's programs in computer graphics technology are rare. In these programs, you'll learn how to use software programs like AutoCAD; you'll also examine the techniques used to create architectural and manufacturing drafts. Some bachelor's and master's programs include courses similar to those offered in graphic design programs, like Web page creation or visual effects. Some schools allow you to enroll in a combined bachelor's and master's program in computer graphics technology.

Can I Learn Online?

Bachelor's degree classes in computer graphics technology might be available through distance learning. You could also pursue a bachelor's degree in graphic design online.

Distance learning classes may allow you to watch lecture broadcasts live and participate asynchronously with classmates through discussion boards. Schools usually recommend that you have a high-speed Internet connection. Online graphic design programs typically require you to purchase a number of software programs; some might require the use of a flatbed scanner and a digital camera for projects. Exams might need to be proctored at your university or a nearby school.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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