Located in the southeastern United States, South Carolina is known for historical architecture, plantations and Civil War battlefields. From oceanfront property to brackish waters to the history of Charlestown, the state is rich with things to do and places to live. You’re probably wonder what is a graphic designer salary in South Carolina and if it’s worth it to seek a job there.
Legend says that people painted their porch ceilings blue to keep the evil spirits away. However, it also deflects bugs, which can be rampant in the south. Not only is South Carolina a good place to visit but the growing economy and inexpensive housing makes it ideal for people just getting started in their careers.
The state is made up of 32,000 square miles of land and some barrier islands such as Hilton Head. Major cities include Charleston, Columbia, Mount Pleasant and Greenville. Scattered throughout are many small towns that have old southern appeal.
How Much Is a Graphic Designer Salary in South Carolina?
The national average for graphic designer pay is $50,710 per year. People just entering the workforce will make less and those with years of experience earn more. South Carolina is known for low cost of living, so salaries align with a more reasonable cost for the area.
For example, a look across Indeed, Salary.com and Payscale showed the average pay for the Palmetto State between $39,000 and $71,000 per year. Since many jobs now offer remote opportunities, you might consider working for a brand in another area of the country and taking advantage of the low cost of living in many areas of the south.
Average Cost of Living in South Carolina
Payscale lists South Carolina’s cost of living at about 5% below the national average. Housing is 26% less but utilities are 34% more. Other sites point out that while food and utilities are slightly higher, healthcare, transportation and goods are all lower.
Even in the larger cities, such as Charleston and Columbia, housing is inexpensive enough to draw young families in droves. The average rent is $1,366 for an apartment in Columbia for a 1,007 square foot space. However, the costs of living in Charleston are considerably more, with a 967 square foot apartment running $1,989 per month.
Some things to keep in mind is that public transportation is often lacking except right in urban areas. You may have to drive quite a way to commute to and from work, so you’ll need to add the cost of owning and maintaining a vehicle.
How Much Is a Graphic Designer Salary in South Carolina–Charleston?
Charleston is a port city dating back to the 17th century. You’ll find antebellum houses, cobblestone streets and old forts. The squares and beautiful, lush gardens give the city a particular beauty that draws visitors in and works its way into your soul.
You’ll find tons of places to eat and cultural events to check out. Even though summers in the south are humid, the ocean breezes bring a cooling effect that makes the town pleasant.
The average graphic designer salary in Charleston, South Carolina is $51,384 per year. The low end of the scale comes in around $39,465 and the high end at $66,902. Some of the companies with listings include places such as Charleston Southern University, Aramark and United Bank.
One thing to note is that there are only eight jobs listed on Indeed in September 2023. For such a large area, the lack of graphic designer jobs is a bit concerning. However, there may be many supporting roles with other titles.
How Much Is Graphic Designer Salary in Columbia, South Carolina?
Another town with a lot of history and southern charm is Columbia, South Carolina. The universities in the city bring diversity and cultural events you might not find in other places. Located in the central part of the state, you can reach any other town in the state quite easily from the location.
Known as “Soda City,” Columbia has an informal, fun vibe. The city is still small enough to have an intimate feel but large enough to offer urban amenities.
Unfortunately, not many jobs are listed in the area for Columbia, with Indeed only pulling up two in September 2023. Likely, many job postings are internal or sent to the universities, so don’t hesitate to send your resume to some of the larger corporations in the city, such as Amazon, PwC, McDonald’s and Teleperformance.
Network with others so you can find positions before they go up on public job boards. You should also look at supporting work, such as social media marketing and creative director type positions.
The average base graphic designer salary on Indeed comes in at $75,594 per year. When combined with lower cost of living, competition for work in the area is fierce.
Cast a Wider Net
Next, we went ahead and looked at graphic designer jobs in the state as a whole. Only 27 listings popped up. Some were “urgently hiring,” which means there is a need for graphic designers, but the lack of options is a bit concerning.
You have a couple of options to track down a position and live in South Carolina. You can take a remote position with a company that allows you to work from anywhere. Or, you can try jobs other than graphic designer but that need some illustration skills.
Another idea is to look at neighboring states and commute to and from work while living where you’d like. You could move to Fort Mill, South Carolina and work in Charlotte, North Carolina. Around 28 jobs pop up just for Charlotte, so the job market may be a bit more open for graphic designers in areas across the border.
Should You Move to South Carolina?
South Carolina offers mild winters and beautiful lush greenery. If you enjoy visiting national monuments, Fort Sumter will interest you. Access to the Atlantic ocean makes the entire area attractive.
In some areas, such as Hilton Head, you’ll see the swamp waters and ocean mix into brackish waters with an entire ecosystem unlike any other. There are advantages and disadvantages to living in the state.
- Mild winters
- Historic landmarks
- Slower pace of life
- Low cost of living
- Varied landscapes from beaches to mountains
- Blazing hot summers
- Lower pay in some areas
- Income rate is only average
- Drugs are a common issue
- Long stretches of undeveloped land and lack of healthcare facilities
The pros are strong for the state, but the cons also stack up. Before choosing to live in South Carolina, you’ll want to ensure you can weather the storms that hit in the spring and summer and are able to start at a lower pay rate until you gather raises.
Is the Palmetto State Right for You?
South Carolina has a lot to offer but the lack of job listings in most areas are of some concern. Take the time to peruse the area for opportunities but keep options open by sending resumes to surrounding states. Georgia borders the state and offers many openings for graphic designers in Atlanta.
If you like a slow pace, love history and want to live near the ocean, South Carolina may be the perfect choice for your needs.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.