California is an excellent place for aspiring visual communications professionals thanks to thousands of thriving companies and studios that need talented art directors, graphic designers, web designers, advertising photographers, and more. Other common job titles for visual communications professionals include commercial artist, communication designer, creative services director, and commercial photographer.
Unlike certain fields such as filmmaking and acting, visual communications professionals can find a wide variety of job opportunities outside of the Los Angeles area. San Jose, San Francisco, Sunnyvale, San Diego, Santa Clara, Santa Ana, Redwood City, Glendale, and Long Beach are just a few popular spots for aspiring visual communications specialists. In addition to ample employment opportunities throughout the state, California is home to a number of schools for visual communications majors and other artists. Some of the best options for artists and designers here include Ex’pression College for Digital Arts (Emeryville), California Institute of the Arts (Valencia), and the Academy of Art University (San Francisco). Continue reading to find out which schools offer the most popular visual communications programs in the state.
California Visual Communications Schools
California is home to the largest number of colleges in the U.S. According to the latest report by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), California is home to 454 accredited colleges and universities. Not only this, but California’s extensive collection of colleges offer the most diverse group of art and design programs in the U.S., if not the world. Scroll through the list below to review California’s most poplar schools for aspiring visual communications professionals and what they have to offer.
California State University Northridge - Degrees Offered: B. A. Animation, Video/Digital art, Graphic Design, Illustration; M. A. Art, Studio Art Option with Video/Digital Art Concentration; Visual Communication Option with Illustration or Video/Digital Art Concentration; M. F. A. Art, Studio Art Option with Video/Digital Art Concentration; Visual Communication Option with Illustration, Video/Digital Art Concentration or Graphic Design Concentration
San Francisco State University - Degrees Offered: B. S. Visual Communication Design
Another school worth looking into is the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM). FIDM offers an A.A. in Visual Communications and an A.A. (Professional Designation) in Visual Communications. FIDM has four California campuses including Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco.
More California schools with Visual Communication related programs:
- San Francisco & Online
- Winter Park, FL & Online
Employment and Salary Trends for California Visual Communications Professionals
According to the latest report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state of California is home to a staggering 274,570 artists and designers. This includes visual communications professionals, multimedia artists, graphic designers, art directors, and more. The population has increased since 2002, when the state was home to 226,000. Salaries have increased as well. The average salary for California artists and designers was $51,380 in 2002. As of March 27, 2012, the average salary was $65,370 per year.
It is important to note that salaries vary by industry, education, company, experience, location, and more. For example, many visual communicators eventually become art directors. The average salary for an art director living in California is an impressive $108,430 per year. This is much higher than the national average of $80,630 per year.
Visual communications professionals in California still do very well overall. They average around $64,000 per year and even more in northern California. According to salary reporting sites such as Simply Hired, visual communications professionals in the San Francisco and San Jose areas average around $75,000 per year.