Graphic Designer Salary in Virginia

Posted on June 1, 2023 | Updated on October 27, 2023

The average graphic designer salary for Virginia might surprise you. The state is larger than most perceive. It has a little bit of everything, from lifestyle to scenery. It makes it an ideal location for graphic designers of all levels and skills.

Everyone of all ages and educational backgrounds have a chance to make it in Virginia. You might be studying there or thinking of moving. It might be your childhood home or looking for an adventure. Graphic designer salaries in Virginia could fund the dream life of any creative. It has the benefit of being some of the highest in the nation.

The Average Graphic Designer’s Salary in Virginia

Graphic designers in Virginia can anticipate a median salary of $59,800. Higher-ranking positions could net you $101,400, and the lower side can look like $37,200. Cost of living varies across the state and graphic design salaries reflect that. Virginia has a lovely mix of rural and urban areas with a fluctuating population to match. Job opportunities reflect this dynamic.

Residents in NOVA or DC-metro area will earn more over the rural parts of Suffolk. Still, at the same time, groceries and rent will match those salaries. A cost-benefit analysis help weigh priorities and analyze budgets.

Graphic design students and freelancers will make less than those with tenure. There are exceptions to this rule. Graphic design freelancers work hard on their online presence and networking skills. It will get them higher prices per project. It could be more than traditional in-office workers get per hour.

If you want to go this route, you could work anywhere. If Virginia is calling to you and you’re a successful freelancer, every part of the state might be an option for you. You may consider living somewhere with traditional graphic design options. You may not feel comfortable being a solopreneur forever. So, having choices can make decision-making easier.

What Is a Good Salary in VA?

Virginia’s cost of living score is 104.2, where 100 is the national average. The main factors that bump Virginia over the standard are housing costs. The median home costs exceed $340,000. Miscellaneous lifestyle expenses are another big spending area. Virginians are more likely to experience nightlife or evening dining. Higher populations bring the region more options. There are some rural areas in the state. The Richmond-Virginia (RVA) area has a diverse population. It shows why cost of living is higher in the state than its neighbors.

These factors are vital for considering job options and salary negotiations. Before accepting a graphic design job offer, ensure it aligns with your lifestyle. Review this alongside cost-of-living expectations for a more comfortable career.

What makes a good salary in VA considers the cost of living and these lifestyle choices. Graphics designer salaries vary for surrounding states. Virginia’s size and income diversity makes it as variable as looking across borders. Virginia has a higher average over more than half of the country. It gives graphic designers potential peace of mind. You can research how this balances for single-income versus multi-income households.

The average salaries of Virginians correlate to graphic design wages in the state. The middle sits around $29 per hour. People entering this industry in Virginia should make what’s considered the median. It is higher here than states nearby, but everything comes back to experience. You may or may not make this starting out. So, it’s critical to adjust expectations based on your credentials.

Is VA Good for Graphic Design?

Virginia has numerous schools for aspiring creatives in the industry. They range from:

  • Associate degrees
  • Fine arts programs
  • Professional skills improvement courses 
  • Art camps

It could empower any artistic mind. They teach innovative techniques with the industry’s top programs and machines.

Want a degree in graphic design that focuses on learning Dreamweaver and Photoshop? Want a studio art degree that is more traditional and instructs on tactile art skills? Virginia has those and everything in-between. These are some schools with notable graphic design programs. Some rank in the top percentiles in the nation:

  • Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)
  • Liberty University
  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • George Mason University
  • Longwood University
  • James Madison University
  • Old Dominion University
  • Christopher Newport University
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)
  • Marymount University
  • University of Virginia (UVA)
  • College of William and Mary
  • Bluefield College
  • Emory & Henry College

No graphic designer should not feel pressured to pursue a higher education degree. It may not be suitable for their financial, personal, or educational journey. Professionals can forge from all corners, including self-motivated at-home education. But, if you want to take a more traditional route, the options exist in the Old Dominion.

Virginia is good for graphic design from a professional standpoint. Virginia has everything from:

  • Small business
  • Government work
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Corporate graphic design 

It will please everyone’s preferences and work styles. There are hirings for graphic design virtual assistants and senior professional designers alike. 

How Competitive Is Being a Graphic Designer?

Graphic design is one of the most sought-after jobs, yet it’s inaccurate to answer this question with a yes or no. Freelancing is competitive. Graphic designers rely on social media, word of mouth, reputation, or networking. Modern culture was already obsessed with side hustling, and the pandemic affirmed it. 

People wanted to find flexible ways to earn more money. Graphic design has many free online resources to become junior designers. All you need is time and motivation. There are:

  • YouTube videos
  • Paid masterclasses for inexpensive or free education
  • Pinterest for inspiration
  • Platforms like Fiver and Facebook groups to find work

Competition depends on the avenue — but at least there are plenty of ways to learn the craft. Every generation will be different in this regard. Gen Zers might flood to TikTok while millennials advertise on LinkedIn. All you need is an internet connection to stay relevant.

Traditional graphic design jobs are a different story. There is competition, but it’s another variety. Freelancers have to compete with varying skill levels. Office-based graphic designers must face the high standards of antiquated job descriptions. They usually include too-high expectations or confusing language. It’s a problem over most industries — not only graphic designers.

Social media advertising and generative AI brought it into even greater relevance. AI and blockchain make web design an essential part of businesses’ marketing strategies. Expectations are high, even if the industry is begging for candidates. Companies want to pay more than other industries for quality designers.

What Other Jobs Can You Get in Graphic Design?

Your dream may be to become a graphic designer in Virginia. Or, you want to be in the industry without taking on those kinds of projects. Graphic design encompasses more skills than artistic and creative outlets. The skills overlap with related departments like marketing or advertising.

You could be an animator. You could be a gifted communicator or people leader. You may want to transition to a more technical role than imaginative. Many designers are more versatile than they know. So, you could still be in the industry while exploring options. What other choices do you have in the state?

These can range all over the state. Some counties and cities might be more likely to adjust to that area’s cost of living. You may only get some of these jobs if you’re promoted or have specific experience. Ask bosses what progression looks like for entry-level designers. They may have these options and more for anyone curious and determined enough.

Virginia Is for Graphic Design Lovers

Virginia has been growing for decades. The average salary has increased alongside a flourishing population of creatives. Many travel to the region for its diversity and graphic design opportunities. You could work remote or in-house.

Anyone pursuing graphic design can have decent pay and quality of life in Virginia. Your choice of hometown and employment location flexibility matters. You could score a few extra dollars in your monthly budget by strategic house placement. Your graphic design salary in Virginia could be higher than your city’s average. It will provide more freedom to your life as you earn with your imagination.

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