If you are graduating high school or thinking about going back to school for a degree in graphic design, you may be wondering if there is any advantage in doing so. You may already be an accomplished artist or designer and think you have the right skills to go out and find a great job. Why bother with an advanced degree when you could be exploring employment opportunities without one?
Even if it is true and you have all the skills you need for an entry-level position with a graphic design firm or to start your own business, there are many other factors to consider when deciding if there is an advantage to continuing your education. Here are just some of the reasons you may want to consider.
Many marketing and design companies are only hiring applicants with degrees and extensive portfolios. They want to know the person they’re hiring has the basic skills necessary for an entry-level position. These companies know prospects with degrees and portfolios can be productive the day they walk in the door.
These companies are looking for individuals who have a few years of experience in an academic environment working with trained professionals and other creative students developing their talents. They may also want to inspect your portfolio to see what kind of work you have been doing while in school.
One advantage of attending a graphic design college or university is extra time you have developing your skills and putting together a professional looking portfolio of work. What you may think looks good in high school may not be enough for entry to the next level.
By going to a first-rate graphic design school, you’ll have access to some of the best design equipment available. Most schools have state-of-the-art computer labs with the latest hardware and software available. You will be working with the same programs used by the biggest graphic designs firms worldwide.
You’ll get to study and learn from a faculty of outstanding professionals who have experience in the design field and are willing to share with you their knowledge and experience. If you are lucky, you’ll find a mentor among these teachers who can provide you with not only the skills you will need but also the insight necessary to be successful in a competitive market.
Besides getting the training you need to be successful as a designer, a good graphic design school has contacts with the outside job market. Many advertising and marking firms have strong relationships with local schools and their instructors. These companies know if they hire a graduate from one of these schools, they’ll have the skills necessary to be successful and the firm won’t have to spend a lot of time teaching basic skills.
So when looking for a school to apply to, be sure to ask about companies they have relationships with, industry relationships and find out their job-placement ratio. You want to know how many students get jobs at graduation, where they are working and what type of jobs they are getting.
Another advantage of going to graphic design school is the relationships you’ll develop with fellow students while in school. The friends you make while at school may one day be instrumental in helping you find a job. Who knows, they may even be in the position to hire you or better yet, become a partner.
Never underestimate the importance of these relationships. School is about learning the skills necessary to be successful in your field, but don’t forget the old adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know”. There is a lot of truth to that statement in today’s job market.
You may be asking yourself if going to graphic design school is right for you. It may be difficult to imagine where you’ll be three years from now much less ten or twenty. Going to a graphic design school is a great way to get your feet wet and see if this is the right choice for you.
Here you will be able to see if you have the skills to achieve you goals and quickly decide if this is the direction you want to go. Most schools offer faculty advisors, tutors, financial advisors and career councils all trained to help you along that path.
So if you decide to continue your education and go to a graphic design school, finding that school is the next important step. The best place to start your research is on the Internet. Here you will be able to find what schools are available in your area, what courses they offer, what degrees are available, what do they cost, are scholarships available and just about anything else you might need to know.
Graphic-Arts-Schools.com is an example of one of the many sites you can learn about top graphic design schools in your state. Most of these sites cover basic information about the school with the opportunity to fill out a short questionnaire to receive more information directly from the school.
When you fill out the form, a representative from that school will contact you to answer all your questions and guide you through the enrollment process. If all you want is an information packet sent to you, they will be able to provide that too.
So before you make a decision on whether or not a graphic design school works for you, take the time to make a list of the advantages and disadvantages. This way you can weigh all your options before deciding.