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It’ll also give your portfolio a foundation from which to build. In addition, you have the opportunity to learn and grow within a community of other practicing designers while learning the skills needed to succeed in the industry. On the other hand, those who bypass a degree and go straight for the bright lights of the corporate world have the opportunity to learn from seasoned veterans from the get-go. These aspiring designers dive head first into the industry, offering them invaluable experience in dealing with clients and meeting harsh deadlines.

While both are practical options in today’s world, there are still a few simple truths that confirm the value of a graphic design degree.

Keep in mind these two basic facts.

Fact #1: Job Opportunities Increase with Education Level

In this day and age, most organizations recognize the need for graphic design. Whether they are in-house or contracted from agencies, designers offer an aesthetic appeal that builds brand identity and communicates a message to an audience.

Employment of graphic designers is projected to increase by 13 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The truth is, the jobs are out there, but the question remains: Are you qualified for them?

After analyzing 28,000 graphic design job listings over the past year, the specific academic credentials in highest demand are obvious. The chart below illustrates that there are fewer job opportunities for those with less education.

Based on the data, a bachelor’s degree qualifies you for more than 11,000 more graphic design jobs than an individual with no college experience. This makes bachelor’s holders eligible for nine times more jobs than those with a high school diploma. Who doesn’t like those odds?

Fact #2: Earnings Increase with Education Level

Looking at the corporate world as a whole, it’s no secret that higher education boosts lifetime salary. Bachelor’s degree holders earn nearly $1 million more over their lifetime than those with only a high school diploma, according to a study conducted by Georgetown University. Numerous other studies have yielded similar results.

But have you ever seen a similar report strictly focused on the graphic design industry? The chart below illustrates the median annual salary for graphic designers based on their education level as of February 2013.

You will notice that bachelor’s degree holders earn nearly $9,000 more per year than an individual with no college experience. That means earning your degree automatically boosts your annual salary by almost 22 percent.

The Facts are Clear

The data provided helps demonstrate the value of a graphic design degree. While you can definitely find a place in the industry without formal education, you immediately increase your attractiveness to employers when equipped with a college degree. You will likely have an easier time finding a job and the extra cash in your bank account each year won’t hurt either.