New media artists use elements of computer science, design, editing, film, photography, reporting, and even special effects to convey messages to specific audiences. These creative, tech-savvy professionals understand that effective message design is the key to capturing clients’ target demographic. Because new media artists play a vital role in advertising, marketing, and public relations, they are in high demand in just about every field.
While some companies assemble their own teams in-house, others prefer to hire an outside firm or freelancer to work on advertising and PR. This means, new media artists (salaried or independent) can find work at a variety of web design studios, advertising agencies, public relations firms, marketing firms, and technology companies. Career opportunities include but are not limited to graphic designer, new media designer, illustrator, new media specialist, interactive producer, art director, digital video designer, motion graphics design and production, interactive designer, web designer, and web content editor.
In the State of Virginia, aspiring new media artists will find hundreds of creative firms, dozens of publishing companies, hundreds of technology firms, and more. Just a few options include Brandylane Publishers (Richmond), Leisure Publishing Company (Roanoke), Davis & Company (Virginia Beach, D.C.), LM&O Advertising (Arlington), TriVision Studios (Chantilly), ImageWorks Studio (Chantilly), New Millennium Studios (Petersburg), and The Martin Agency (Richmond).
Virginia-based new media artists may find opportunities just about anywhere in the state. However, artists will find the widest variety of opportunities in big cities such as Virginia Beach—the state’s largest city, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Arlington, and Richmond.
Although job opportunities are plentiful in big cities, a number of excellent training programs can be found at colleges in small towns, suburbs, and even rural areas. Emory & Henry, University of Virginia's College at Wise, and Longwood University are just a few.
Whether located in a small town or big city, most Virginia colleges offer programs for aspiring artists and designers. This includes new media artists. Continue reading to find out which Virginia schools offer programs for aspiring new media artists and where to find them.
Virginia New Media Schools
Virginia is home to 129 Title IV degree-granting institutions. Around 20 top-tier schools offer the best programs for aspiring artists and designers, and several are tops for new media artists. Scroll through the list below to take a look at Virginia’s top schools for aspiring new media artists and what they have to offer.
University of Virginia - Degrees Offered: B.A. Art, Media Studies, Studio Art with Concentration in New Media; Minor in Film, Media Studies
George Mason University - Degrees Offered: B. A., B. F. A. Art and Visual Technology with Concentration in Graphic Design, New Media; B. F. A. Computer Game Design; B.A. Film & Video; M. F. A. Art and Visual Technology with Emphasis in New Media; M. A. Graphic Design; Minor Film and Media
Virginia New Media Schools Other Options - (Media, Media Art Programs)
Marymount University - Degrees Offered: B. A. Art, Graphic Design; B. S. Information Technology with Specialization in Interactive Media; Minor in Illustration, Studio Art, Media and Performance Studies
James Madison - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Graphic Design, Media Art and Design with Concentration in Digital Video and Cinema
Liberty University - Degrees Offered: B. S. Studio Art, Studio and Digital Arts: Graphic Design, Communication with Cinematic Arts Concentration, Communication Studies with Digital Media Concentration, Visual Communication Arts with Studio Art Concentration; B.S. Web Technology and Design; M.A. Communication Studies with Media and Communication Studies Concentration; Minor in Graphic Design, Photography, Studio Art
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) - Degrees Offered: B.A., B. F. A. Art; B. F. A. Communication Arts, Graphic Design, Kinetic Imaging; M. F. A. Design with Specialization in Visual Communications, Kinetic Imaging; PhD Media Art & Text
Staunton Mary Baldwin College - Degrees Offered: B. A. Studio Art with Emphasis in Drawing, Extended Media, Graphic Design, Photography, Printmaking; B.A. Art Management, Film Studies, Film Production; Minor in Film Studies, Film Production
More Virginia New Media Art related programs to consider:
- Winter Park, FL & Online
- Computer Animation - Bachelor's - Online & Campus
- Game Programs - Bachelor's & Master's - Online & Campus
- Graphic Design & Digital Arts - Bachelor's - Online & Campus
- Film & Digital Cinematography - Bachelor's & Master's - Online & Campus
- Mobile Development - Bachelor's - Online & Campus
- Simulation & Visualization - Bachelor's - Campus
Employment and Salary Trends for Virginia New Media Artists
New media artists are members of the larger “media and communications” group. And the even larges “artists and designers” group. California, New York, Illinois, and Florida have the highest employment figures for media and communications workers in the country. Although they have the highest populations in the industry, Virginia is part of the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division, which has the fifth highest employment level in this occupation. In addition, a quick 15-minute drive will take you to D.C.—the second highest paying state for media and communications workers ($65,470). At an average salary of $76,220, Massachusetts-based media and communication workers earn the highest average salary in the field.
Virginia’s 350 salaried media and communications professionals average $43,030 per year. Although they average less than the national average for all media and communications professionals, salaries are still higher than the national average for all careers. It is important to note that salaries vary by company, location, experience, job title, and more. The following information will give you an idea of what to expect in several popular fields for new media artists.
Art Director: Virginia-based art directors average $85,950 per year, up from $64,490 in 2002. In 2002, the state was home to 560 salaried art directors, up from 400 in 2002.
Artists and Designers: Virginia is home to 49,990 artists and designers, up from 40,780 in 2002. They average $56,940 per year, up from $42,310 in 2002.
Broadcasting: Virginia is home to more than 3,000 salaried workers in the broadcasting industry. They average anywhere from $29,930 up to $78,100. They work in radio and television, sound studios, and more.
Multimedia Artists & Animators: Virginia is home to 470 multimedia artist & animators, down from 710 in 2002. Fortunately, salaries are on the rise. In 2002, the state’s salaried multimedia artists & animators $44,230. Today they average $57,990.
Public Relations: Virginia is home to an impressive 7,300 salaried public relations specialists, up from 4,290 in 2002. Salaries are way up as well. In 2002, Virginia-based PR specialists averaged $48,650. Today, they average $69,250.
The U.S. is home to 23,610 salaried media and communications professionals. They average a mean salary of $52,700 per year. The highest paid professionals average $91,180 per year, and the lowest paid professionals average $23,900 per year.
It is important to note that salaries vary based on a variety of factors from education and experience to company, location, job title, and more. For example, new media graduates working as art directors or in multimedia earn some of the highest salaries in the field, while entry-level media and communications professionals in most fields average in the low $20s. For additional information, visit The Bureau of Labor Statistics at www.bls.gov.