Our primary tool within design is the computer. However, we still do a lot of sketching to get our ideas down on paper first. The industry standard computer is an Apple machine while Windows operating systems and other PCs are common within web development.
Our students work very closely with the following Adobe Creative Cloud programs: InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and XD. We frequently review the programs our students work with to reflect what’s current within the profession.
Our students learn HTML & CSS within web development. We touch on other front end tools such as frameworks and content management systems.
GD|MA graduates have secured a variety of jobs with their AAS: graphic designer focused on print and publication design, interactive or UX/UI designers, front-end developers, package designers, branding/identity designers, and freelancers. Graduates enter the field as associate or entry-level designers, can work towards becoming junior and senior designers, followed by art and creative directors.
Graduates have gained employment at both design agencies and in-house shops: Swanson Russell, Firespring, UNL, Hudl, Red Thread, Ebbeka, Don’t Panic Labs, Pixel Bakery, Evol Creative, Nelnet, Play Creative, State of Nebraska, Sandhills, and Open Harvest to name a few.
The projected change in employment of graphic designers from 2016 to 2026 varies by industry according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment of graphic designers is projected to grow four percent from 2016 to 2026. Employment of designers in traditional print positions (newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers) is projected to decline 22 percent during that same period. However, during that same period, employment of graphic designers in interactive design (websites, mobile applications, social media) is projected to grow 20 percent.
As more companies focus on their digital presences, more jobs will be available for graphic designers with website and interactive media experience. Those with these skills will have more employment options and will be better able to compete among others in the industry. GD|MA is currently one of the few programs in the state to require graduates to complete 5 courses focused on the design and development of interactive media.
We have a current 95% placement/transfer rate, and our most current salary report indicates an average starting salary of $15.92/hour, over $33,000 a year. We have also seen graduates with a focus on interactive design and front-end development skills make up to $60,000 6-months post-graduation.
The average national designer salary is $54,000. While entry-level creatives are landing good jobs, the designer salary range for experienced professionals is higher, especially for roles requiring more technical skills. Here’s a sampling of compensation from The Creative Group Salary Guide for 2018.
What Students Are Saying
“The GD|MA program didn’t just teach me HOW to be a graphic designer, but also what it meant to BE a graphic designer. It’s much more than creating pretty pictures. It’s doing research, solving problems, thinking critically, and communicating a message. With the constant feedback from my instructors, I was able to improve drastically within the short time span of the program. In the end, I graduated with a strong portfolio and solid set of skills in a variety of fields, some of which aren’t even taught in other programs.”Miguel Muniz Fall 2016 - @ Firespring
“Originally I was drawn to the affordability and brevity of SCC’s program. However, after classes began I realized this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill design program. The instructors are so supportive and knowledgeable. The course load was intense and required a lot of difficult problem-solving, but it was all worth it in the end. I learned so much through this experience, made great friends, became a better illustrator, challenged myself daily, and can honestly say I would happily do it all over again!”Evan Wood 2017 - @ Transformation Marketing
“Southeast’s graphic design program, in a nutshell, was one the most difficult, and equally rewarding things I have ever done in my life. The rigorous and unrelenting schedule of treating school as a full-time job for 18 months was exhausting, but it has benefited me as a growing designer to continually push forward and make great design. The students within the program are not the only ones putting in the work! The instructors have such a love and eye for design, and it is clearly reflected through their efforts and in the quality of this program. I have left this program a much stronger designer and human being, and I wouldn’t change a single thing about my experience. I am so incredibly proud to say that who I am today as a designer is all due to this outstanding program.”Denon Feagin Spring 2017 - @ Ebbeka