Visual Communication Technology Job Facts

Visual communication technology jobs can be found in multimedia or video production, printing, publishing or Web design. Learn about college-based classes and training programs, job duties and potential earnings. Schools offering Communication Design & Interactive Media degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Career Options for Visual Communication Technology Graduates?

Visual communication technology focuses on both the maintenance of tools to make visual media possible, as well as the creative aspects of utilizing these tools effectively. As a degree program, this field is mainly taught at an associate's level, and it's also available through certificate programs.

Upon completion, you may consider becoming a printing machine operator, more commonly known as a printing press operator, where you would be responsible for installing, operating, and maintaining various types of printing presses. You can also consider becoming a web developer, where you'd design and overlook the visual aspects of a website, as well as ensuring the compatibility of the graphics and audio are in tandem with the clients' expectations. As a multimedia artist, you would focus on creating and utilizing models in 2D and 3D formats for the purpose of designing and editing animations. The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Printing Press Operator Web Developer Multimedia Artist
Degree Required High school diploma or GED at minimum Associate's degree Bachelor's degree
Certification N/A Certifications available in computer languages NA
Key Responsibilities Operating a variety of printing presses and printing machines Design, create and manage web pages for clients Create projects using computer programs for illustrations, digital animations and more in a variety of media
Job Growth (2014-2024) -12% 27%* 6%*
Median Salary (2015) $35,240* $64,970* $63,970*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Programs in Visual Communication Technology Are Available?

Many programs in visual communication technology are offered at the certificate and associate's degree levels, and some are available at the bachelor's degree level. Through a mix of theory and practice, programs teach you how to use print, photography, video and other forms of visual media to convey a message or ideas. Many programs are oriented towards a specialty, such as graphic arts or video, while others allow you to choose a specialty or customize your degree with elective courses.

Classes in a graphic arts-oriented program might cover publishing, design fundamentals, Web design, printing technology and image editing software. Classes in a program oriented to photography and video are likely to cover animation and motion graphics, digital photography, TV production techniques and video editing. Schools that offer associate's degree programs often have arrangements that help you transfer into a bachelor's degree program aligned with your specialty.

What Jobs Can I Apply For?

You can seek entry-level positions in printing and publishing, multimedia production, video production and Web design. Possible occupations include production and planning clerks, printing machine operators, film or video production assistants, multimedia artists or Web developers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of printing press operators will decline 12% and employment of multimedia artists will increase 6% from 2014-2024.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

The duties you perform will vary by how and where you apply your education. As a printing machine operator, you'd set up machines for print jobs, monitor print jobs in progress and perform light maintenance. As a film or video production assistant, you'd help carry equipment, help set up lights and run assorted errands on and around the shooting location as requested. As a multimedia artist, you'd create effects, motion graphics or animations for videos, games, movies or websites. As a Web developer, you'd design the look and user interface of Web pages.

What Salaries Could I Earn?

Like your job duties, your salary will depend on the position you find. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2015, printing press operators earned a median of $35,240, web developers earned $64,970, and multimedia artists earned $63,970 (www.bls.gov).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Most positions related to web development and multimedia artistry require a bachelor's degree to apply, such as becoming a software developer. As a software developer, you would be responsible for coding, programming and testing applications for computer usage. If you are more interested in the creative aspects of being a multimedia artist, you could consider graphic design, where you will use computer programs to create the blueprint of an artistic idea or design either in film and television, computer programs, or websites.

If you are interested in a career similar to the hands-on aspects of being a printing press operator, you can consider becoming a print binding and finishing worker. These workers stitch bindings of books together, as well as overseeing the production and machinery to ensure quality. This position requires a high school diploma plus on-the-job training rather than a degree.

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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