The Peace Garden state, right on the Canadian border, might be the ideal situation for fulfilling your graphic design career. You get the best of both worlds, especially if you live in the northern part of the state. The graphic designer salary in North Dakota is lower than in other states but is enough to live a content lifestyle while enjoying a weekend away in Manitoba. Depending on your priorities and graphic design goals, North Dakota has potential.
What Is the Graphic Designer Salary in North Dakota?
You can expect the average graphic designer salary in North Dakota to sit around $17.88 per hour. If you translate that to an annual rate, it hovers around $48,230 yearly. This is lower than its sister state, South Dakota. Entry-level graphic designers may receive an offer for around $38,779, while veteran professionals could reach almost $60,000 or more.
Numerous factors play into what your potential could be. For example, people with over 10 years of experience could receive an offer of $62,081 with a benefits package worth thousands. Additionally, the right company might hire you, and it could be a wage outlier by paying more than the average.
Presently, Dexian DISYS offers nearly six figures for experienced designers, and administrative assistance agency Williams Lea may provide between $5,000 and $8,000 above the high end. These numbers explore how much the sector plays into wages and how much the salary is customizable to your experience and perseverance.
What Is Life Like in ND?
The potential salary may be enough to entice you. Still, you may want to consider the lifestyle, climate, and travel opportunities that North Dakotans experience before making a move or committing to staying.
People have spent time analyzing the pros and cons of living in the state. Job opportunities are a massive pro — good news for graphic designers. But what are some of the other benefits?
- High-quality education
- Gorgeous national parks and scenery
- Roomy, quiet neighborhoods
- Cheaper-than-average taxes
A few of the cons might outweigh the pros, depending on your living preferences and priorities. Being so far up north in the U.S. means winters are brutal. They only get colder, and the extreme weather is heightening yearly. While the spacious lands might inspire rural-living lovers, those used to urban dwellings may prefer shorter commutes. The state is vast and sparsely populated, making travel long and arduous if you don’t love a long car ride.
What Is the Cost of Living?
All of these factors amount to an average cost of living score of 88.6, where the base score is 100 in the U.S. Everything is less expensive in the state, from transportation to housing. The only outlier is health care, which is only 3.4 points above the national average, barely noticeable.
Whether buying a home or signing a lease for a rental, you will spend thousands of dollars less in the long term. For example, the average cost of a studio apartment in ND is $690 per month, where the national average exceeds $1,000.
Most of ND is expansive, lush natural landscapes. If you don’t enjoy spending money on these leisure activities, then you may save a few dollars. Otherwise, you may experience increased leisure or miscellaneous expenses by engaging with all that nature ND has to offer.
What Graphic Design Degrees Can You Get in ND?
Because top-tier education is a draw for graphic designers in the state, you may want to know your options. This is especially important if your employer provides raises for post-graduate education or offers tuition reimbursement for career-related degrees. Here are some of the most well-known colleges in the state for graphic design:
- University of North Dakota
- North Dakota State University
- Dickinson State University
- University of Jamestown
- United Tribes Technical College
- Rasmussen University-North Dakota
- Minot State University
If your employer does not specify in their policies anywhere how higher education impacts your salary, set up a meaning and obtain clarification to determine whether or not it is worth the financial and time investment.
What Skills Do You Need to Make It as a Graphic Designer?
You must ensure your graphic design skills are sharp before writing your resume or meeting a potential employer. What are the most essential skills to have as a foundation that justifies your expertise?
First is branding and marketing expertise. These seem irrelevant if you focus on the purely creative side — this is important, too. However, most graphic design nowadays has transformed for modern digital landscapes, and the most employed use of graphic design content is advertising, video creation, and social media. Without knowing how these fields relate to your work, you might fall behind against other savvier applicants.
Knowing the meta does not mean anything if your design foundations are weak. You need to know typography, negative space, color theory, user interface design and more. You do not need to be an expert, but knowing what they mean and how to apply them to work will be extremely helpful in convincing employers you are well-rounded and willing to deepen your specialties.
Lastly, you will need soft skills. Here are some of the most prominent, especially for traditional in-office roles:
- Good communication
- Teamwork and team-building
How Can You Nail Your First Graphic Design Interview?
How well you perform in your interview will impact the offer they provide. The more impressed they are, the more willing they are to convince you to accept with a higher starting salary. If this is your first deep dive into the world of interviewing for graphic design positions, here are a few ways to prepare with confidence.
The first step is knowing how you would function as a graphic designer in the scope of their business. For example, would you be creating graphic design content for the company with consistent branding, or are you working for a marketing agency with hundreds of clients that require adaptability and diverse designs?
These are crucial for knowing what portfolio aspects to highlight and what skills you should brag about. Specialties are excellent to discuss, but discussing how you are amazing at one style does not benefit a company that needs flexible designers.
Another way to lean an interview your way is to know the company’s values and mission statement. For example, if a company wants to prioritize innovation, you can discuss how your experience exemplifies your willingness and success at sparking innovation. Someone already curated to function in existing workplace culture is a safer bet than someone who appears too heavily molded by the goals of irrelevant, previous workplaces. Practice culture-based questions in mock interviews for preparation.
Analyzing the Graphic Designer Salary in ND
How does the graphic designer salary in North Dakota stack up to your expectations and experience? Is it more or less than what you expected? If you have a decade of work behind you, you may immediately fall into the higher end of earners.
Starting and growing as a designer in ND is a different story. It may not feel like you will ever earn millions — and perhaps you won’t. However, graphic design has growth potential no matter where you live, so North Dakota could make that dream a reality.