5 Factors That Determine a Graphic Designer’s Salary in the U.S.

Ginger Abbot

Feb 10, 2023
Hand holding a spread of dollar bills, graphic designer's salary

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Graphic design is a field that encompasses a wide range of industries and career paths. However, a graphic designer’s salary can vary greatly depending on factors such as location, experience and the specific industry in which they work.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for graphic designers in the United States was $50,710 as of May 2021. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,310 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $90,000. Below are insights on factors that determine a graphic designer’s salary in the U.S.:

1.  Experience

As with most jobs, the more experience a graphic designer has, the higher their salary will likely be. According to PayScale, entry-level graphic designers — with four years of experience — earn an average salary of $40,000, while those with five to nine years of experience make an average of $48,000. Meanwhile, designers with 10-19 years of experience earn up to $62,000 and those with 20+ years of experience earn an average of $70,000.

2.  Education

Education plays a vital role in determining a graphic designer’s salary. According to the BLS, those with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field typically earn more than those with an associate degree or just a high school diploma. Additionally, those with more certifications or training may also be able to command higher salaries. While a formal education is not always required for a career in graphic design, it can be beneficial for advancement opportunities and higher earning potential.

3.  Location

Location is another crucial factor to consider when looking at the average salary for graphic designers. The cost of living in different parts of the country can vary significantly and this can impact how much designers are paid. Reports revealed that states with the highest average salary for graphic designers include the District of Columbia, Washington, California and New York. In contrast, states with the lowest average salary include South Dakota, Wyoming, Oklahoma and North Dakota.

4.  Industry

The industry in which a graphic designer works also impacts their salary. According to statistics by the BLS, the industries that pay graphic designers the most are the software publishing industries, the motion picture and video industries and the advertising and public relations industry.

5.  Job Outlook

The job outlook for graphic designers is positive, with the employment rate projected to grow by 3% from 2020 to 2030. This growth is largely driven by increasing demand for visually appealing marketing materials and branding as businesses continue to expand their digital presence.

Graphic Designers’ Salary

The average annual salary for graphic designers in the United States can vary greatly depending on location, industry, experience or education. As the demand for skilled graphic designers continues to grow, salaries in the industry will likely see the same increase. If you’re considering a career in graphic design, it’s essential to research the earning potential in your desired region and industry and to consider your own experience and education.

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