A degree in visual communications can prepare students for jobs in various areas, such as graphic design, website development or video editing. While earning a bachelor’s degree, students typically take a range of courses that help them learn how to communicate a message visually. If you’re creative and enjoy art or design, you may want to learn about the different jobs you can get with a visual communications degree. In this article, we explain what a degree in visual communications is, list eight jobs you can get with this degree and provide some tips for pursuing these jobs.
What is a degree in visual communications?
A degree in visual communications is an academic rank that students achieve after completing a bachelor’s program in this area. Bachelor’s programs in visual communications teach students how to communicate with different audiences through the use of visual products, such as illustrations or photography. It typically takes four years for full-time students to earn a degree in visual communications. While completing this degree, students usually take courses that focus on visual media, art and communications. Some examples of courses that you may complete while earning this degree include:
8 visual communications degree jobs to consider
Here are eight jobs you can get with a degree in visual communications, including their average salary information to help you understand your earning potential in this field:
National average salary: $27,076 per year
Primary duties: Illustrators produce drawings and artwork to represent a concept. They create images manually or using digital tools, such as design software, for a variety of products, including newspapers, magazines, greeting cards, online advertisements and packaging materials. They meet with clients to understand the guidelines of a project and submit various sketches for approval. Many illustrators work as freelancers, while others work for various industries, including education, publishing and advertising.
National average salary: $38,143 per year
Primary duties: A photojournalist is a professional who uses images, including photos and video, to tell a story visually. They capture images of places, people and events to document a news story. As journalists, these professionals work to maintain objectivity during news events. They edit their photos or video to enhance the images, and they often convert their images into a digital format for online use. Photojournalists usually write headlines and captions to accompany a photo or video.
3. Video editor
National average salary: $44,432 per year
Primary duties: A video editor reviews recorded footage and edits the content to convey a message visually. They rearrange video footage or combine different clips together to achieve the artistic vision for a video. They often include other elements, such as images, dialogue and sound effects, to enhance the story or message. Video editors use their storytelling skills and experience with video editing software to meet the expectations for the project. These professionals often work in film or television, broadcasting or marketing.
4. Web designer
National average salary: $48,226 per year
Primary duties: Web designers create and develop websites using programming and design skills. They’re responsible for all the visual elements of a website, including layouts, typography, graphics and images. Their goal is to design a visually appealing website that functions effectively for users. They meet with clients to understand their goals for a website and develop concepts to meet their objectives. These professionals usually have technical skills, such as programming languages, and they often work closely with developers to ensure an optimal user experience.
5. Graphic designer
National average salary: $50,329 per year
Primary duties: Graphic designers create visual elements to communicate a message or illustrate an idea. They use software to create visual content, such as advertisements, logos or marketing materials. They review and select colors, typography and layout for various print and digital products, such as book covers, magazine advertisements, social media graphics or websites. These professionals work with clients to understand their brand and design concepts to achieve their vision.
6. Visual designer
National average salary: $61,967 per year
Primary duties: A visual designer creates visual concepts for digital projects, such as websites. They help businesses identify their artistic brand and create designs to reflect that vision. These professionals use the brand’s style to convey consistent messaging across various products, such as mobile applications or devices. They work with clients to determine their requirements for a project and communicate with them to ensure a successful final product.
7. Communications manager
National average salary: $62,672 per year
Primary duties: A communications manager oversees a company’s image and promotes the mission or goals of the organization. They identify ways that a company can increase its exposure, such as through media opportunities or marketing campaigns. They create and develop promotional content for a company, such as press releases, websites and newsletters. Many communication managers use their skills in visual communications to design and produce unique marketing materials, such as interactive website content or visually appealing social media posts.
8. Art director
National average salary: $63,424 per year
Primary duties: Art directors oversee the design of a project by providing input on the artwork, images and layout. They determine ways to represent a concept visually and communicate their vision with a team of designers. They can work on a variety of projects, including film or television, magazines, video games or advertisements. Art directors work directly with clients to understand the project, brainstorm design ideas with their team and present those recommendations to clients for their approval.
Tips for pursuing a degree in visual communications
Here are some tips to help you pursue a degree in visual communications:
Research different programs
Before you begin applying to schools, take time to research different visual communications programs to help you choose one that meets your expectations and requirements. It’s helpful to develop a checklist of factors that are important to you, such as cost, location, course offerings or financial aid. Read through the descriptions of various programs to get an idea of the type of classes you’d be taking as a visual communications major. Review the eligibility requirements for college exam scores and GPA. Once you’ve researched some options, apply to a few of your top choices to increase your chances of acceptance.
Know your career goals
While visual communications programs usually include courses in a range of areas, students can often tailor their course schedule to align with their career goals. If you already know what type of job you want to get after graduation, make sure you’re taking classes in that area to build relevant skills. If you’re unsure of your future career goals, take a variety of classes, such as graphic design, advertising and video editing, to help you become more familiar with various areas of visual communications. Taking these different courses can help you decide which career path you want to take.
Build your network
While completing a visual communications program, work to build a professional network that can help you after graduation. Speak with a faculty adviser or trusted professor about the career goals you have, and ask for advice about how to reach them. Join an organization related to your area of interest, such as a photography club, to meet other students with similar interests and career goals. Engaging with faculty and other students can help you build connections that can lead to professional references or job opportunities in the future.
Complete an internship
It’s helpful to complete an internship while getting your visual communications degree so you can gain professional experience and begin to build a portfolio of work. Some bachelor’s programs even require students to complete an internship for graduation. Ask your faculty adviser or an internship coordinator about any partnerships the school may have with companies. Apply for internships in your area of interest, such as graphic design or website development, so you can grow your skills in that area. An internship can help you build relationships in the industry and distinguish you from other job applicants after graduation.