The Average Starting Salary for a Graphic Designer

by Dora Diamond; Updated September 26, 2017
...

Graphic designers are responsible for using various software for printing and publishing and web-based work. The average starting salary for a graphic designer depends on the geographic location of the job, the business industry in which the employer is categorized, the size of the employer and the education and experience level of the graphic designer.

Geographic Location

Starting salaries for graphic designers depend on the state in which a graphic designer seeks employment. Salary.com shows salary averages for varying proportions of graphic designers--from the 10th to 90th percentile. In the following list of graphic designer salaries, the range reflects the salary of 10 to 75 percent of graphic designers in the specified United States locations. These salary ranges may be used as a standard for starting salary. Note: the education, experience, and organizational factors are also determinants of the starting salary for graphic designers.

Atlanta, GA: $34,836 to $53,516 Dallas, TX: $35,329 to $54,273 Los Angeles, CA: $38,754 to $59,534 Nashville, TN: $33,954 to $52,161 St. Louis, MO: $35,023 to $53,803 Tampa, FL: $32,777 to $38,871

Industry of Employer

Two graphic designers in the same geographic location, having the same education and experience, yet working in two different companies, may have different pay levels based on the industry of the employer. For example, in Atlanta, GA, one graphic designer may be employed by a pharmaceutical company with a starting salary of $53,516 and another employee may be employed by a marketing agency with a starting salary of $34,836. According to USA Today in March 2010, federal employees have earned higher salaries than private sector workers.

Education and Experience

Education and experience are determinants of the salary for a graphic designer. If one company prefers two years of experience for a graphic designer and another company prefers five years of experience, a graphic designer should anticipate a higher starting salary from the position that requires more experience. The quality of a candidate's education may also be considered. An employer may be willing to pay a higher starting salary to a student who has attended a highly regarded, rigorous graphic design program.

Size of Employer

A large company may offer a higher starting salary for a graphic designer than the salary offered by a small company. When researching information about potential employment, graphic designers should identify the number of employees that a company has.

Research Salaries

Individuals seeking graphic design opportunities should go to their local library or research online to find information about starting salaries in their field. In some cases, job descriptions found on Career Builder or Monster provide salary information for job opportunities in graphic design. Salary.com and SalaryList.com are websites that provide salary information for graphic designers.

About the Author

Based in Loganville, Ga., Dora Diamond has been writing articles since 1998. They have appeared in "The Gwinnett Post," "The Loganville Post," and "TAS Journal." Diamond holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in instructional design and performance improvement.

Photo Credits

  • aqua dollar sign button image by Ruslana Stovner from Fotolia.com