California Graphic Design Schools and Careers

Career Information for Graphic Designers in California

Graphic Designers picture    Graphic Designers image

Graphic designers, also referred to as graphic artists, help clients communicate with a target audience by planning and developing effective visual prints and electronic media. Designers can work regular hours at a company or may work on a job basis as consultants or freelance artists. They can work for corporate businesses, advertising and design agencies or publishing companies.

Graphic Design Schools in California

A bachelor's degree in graphic design is typically required for most graphic design positions and is offered at many colleges and universities as well as private design schools. Most schools require students to successfully complete a year of basic art and design classes before entry into a bachelor's degree program. Graphic design programs usually cover coursework in principles of design, studio art, commercial graphics production and printing techniques. In addition to art and design classes, a liberal arts education that includes courses in marketing, writing, sociology, cultural studies and business may also be beneficial. Creativity, openness to new ideas, communication and problem solving skills are crucial for the job. California graphic design schools offer both online and traditional campus-based programs to give you the education and skills you need to become a graphic artist.

Graphic Designer Salaries in California

Between 2008 and 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment of graphic designers to grow 13 percent. As projects for interactive media--such as websites and mobile phones--continue to grow, those who have experience in website design and animation will be able to find better employment opportunities. To join the almost 28,000 graphic designers in California, begin earning your degree from one of the following California graphic design schools. According to BLS data from May 2009, California graphic designers earned a median hourly wage of $24.70, which equates to an mean annually salary of $51,370. You'll find the most graphic designers in the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Ana-Anaheim, while those in the San Jose and San Francisco areas earned the highest annual median salary.

Below is a list of graphic design schools in California to help you start you career as a graphic artist.

Fast Facts for Graphic Designers in California

  • Cities with highest percentage of jobs relative to population: San Francisco, Santa Ana and Oakland
  • Cities with lowest percentage of jobs relative to population: Bakersfield, Visalia and Stockton
  • Cities with the highest absolute number of jobs: Santa Ana, San Francisco and San Diego

Salaries for Graphic Designers in California

  • Metro areas with the highest median salaries: San Francisco, San Jose and Vallejo

Schools for Graphic Designers in California are listed below.

Selected Graphic Design Schools in California

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.

This list also contains online schools that accept students from California.

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The Art Institutes system of schools
Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego

With an education from an Art Institutes school, imagine what you could create.

  • Programs: Graphic Design (AS), Graphic & Web Design (BS), Game Art & Design (BS), more...
  • Degrees: Associate, Bachelor

Learning at Full Sail University has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas. Our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy.

  • Programs: Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online), Web Design and Development, Bachelor of Science (Online), Game Design, Bachelor of Science (Online), more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Master
ABCO Technology
Los Angeles

ABCO Technology is an accredited computer training academy that offers diploma programs for individual students, professionals and companies to learn different areas of Information technology and seek gainful employment.

  • Programs: Graphic Design/Desktop Publishing, Design, Multimedia and Design, more...
  • Degrees: Certificate
Platt College
Alhambra, Riverside

Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

  • Programs: Graphic Design
  • Degrees: Associate

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started

  • Programs: Graphic Arts (BS), Graphic Arts (AAS), Graphic Arts - Information Design (BS), more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Associate

Get the career of your dreams with an education from the Los Angeles Film School.

  • Programs: Bachelor of Science, Animation & VFX
  • Degrees: Bachelor
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More California Graphic Design Schools

School Name Campus Highest Award Enrolled
Academy of Art University San Francisco Masters 11,334
Allan Hancock College Santa Maria Associate 13,176
American River College Sacramento Associate 33,821
Antelope Valley College Lancaster Associate 13,312
Art Center College of Design Pasadena Masters 1,832
Bakersfield College Bakersfield Associate 17,405
Berkeley City College Berkeley Associate 5,287
Bethesda Christian University Anaheim Masters & First Professional 345
Butte College Oroville Associate 12,228
Cabrillo College Aptos Associate 15,114
California College of the Arts Oakland Masters 1,613
California Institute of the Arts Valencia Masters 1,324
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo Masters 19,777
California State Polytechnic University-Pomona Pomona Masters 21,477
California State University-Chico Chico Masters 17,034
California State University-Sacramento Sacramento Doctorate 28,829
Canada College Redwood City Associate 5,764
Cerritos College Norwalk Associate 22,273
Cerro Coso Community College Ridgecrest Associate 4,577
Chabot College Hayward Associate 13,229
Chaffey College Rancho Cucamonga Associate 18,736
Chapman University Orange Doctorate 6,022
Citrus College Glendora Associate 11,467
City College of San Francisco San Francisco Associate 46,411
Coastline Community College Fountain Valley Associate 9,316
Cogswell Polytechnical College Sunnyvale Bachelor 230
College of Marin Kentfield Associate 6,476
College of San Mateo San Mateo Associate 10,516
College of the Canyons Santa Clarita Associate 17,499
College of the Desert Palm Desert Associate 8,597
College of the Redwoods Eureka Associate 6,025
College of the Sequoias Visalia Associate 11,697
College of the Siskiyous Weed Associate 2,782
Cosumnes River College Sacramento Associate 12,967
Crafton Hills College Yucaipa Associate 5,382
Cuyamaca College El Cajon Associate 9,358
Cypress College Cypress Associate 13,592
De Anza College Cupertino Associate 24,115
Diablo Valley College Pleasant Hill Associate 19,768
Dominican University of California San Rafael Masters 2,125
East Los Angeles College Monterey Park Associate 28,889
El Camino College Torrance Associate 24,895
Folsom Lake College Folsom Associate 8,193
Foothill College Los Altos Hills Associate 18,132
Fresno City College Fresno Associate 21,624
Fullerton College Fullerton Associate 20,719
Gavilan College Gilroy Associate 6,049
Glendale Community College Glendale Glendale Associate 16,827
Golden West College Huntington Beach Associate 13,354
Hartnell College Salinas Associate 9,890
Irvine Valley College Irvine Associate 9,805
Lake Tahoe Community College South Lake Tahoe Associate 2,576
Laney College Oakland Associate 11,745
Lassen Community College Susanville Associate 1,829
Long Beach City College Long Beach Associate 25,536
Los Angeles City College Los Angeles Associate 17,204
Los Angeles Mission College Sylmar Associate 8,493
Los Angeles Pierce College Woodland Hills Associate 19,526
Los Angeles Valley College Valley Glen Associate 17,264
Los Medanos College Pittsburg Associate 8,360
Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles Doctorate & First Professional 8,977
Mendocino College Ukiah Associate 4,347
Mission College Santa Clara Associate 8,832
Modesto Junior College Modesto Associate 18,546
Monterey Peninsula College Monterey Associate 9,238
Moorpark College Moorpark Associate 14,495
Mount Jacinto College San Jacinto Associate 14,197
Mt San Antonio College Walnut Associate 29,842
Notre Dame de Namur University Belmont Masters 1,491
Ohlone College Fremont Associate 11,083
Orange Coast College Costa Mesa Associate 24,424
Otis College of Art and Design Los Angeles Masters 1,177
Pacific Union College Angwin Masters 1,363
Palo Verde College Blythe Associate 3,831
Palomar College San Marcos Associate 27,222
Pasadena City College Pasadena Associate 26,672
Point Loma Nazarene University San Diego Masters 3,480
Porterville College Porterville Associate 3,773
Reedley College Reedley Associate 12,158
Rio Hondo College Whittier Associate 21,041
Riverside Community College Riverside Associate 30,961
Sacramento City College Sacramento Associate 24,596
Saddleback College Mission Viejo Associate 18,371
San Bernardino Valley College San Bernardino Associate 12,839
San Diego City College San Diego Associate 17,013
San Diego Mesa College San Diego Associate 21,437
San Diego Miramar College San Diego Associate 10,650
San Francisco Art Institute San Francisco Masters 655
San Joaquin Delta College Stockton Associate 18,668
San Jose State University San Jose Masters 31,906
Santa Ana College Santa Ana Associate 33,514
Santa Barbara City College Santa Barbara Associate 21,632
Santa Monica College Santa Monica Associate 28,958
Santa Rosa Junior College Santa Rosa Associate 25,626
Santiago Canyon College Orange Associate 14,085
Sierra College Rocklin Associate 18,859
Taft College Taft Associate 9,328
The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-Los Angeles Los Angeles Bachelor 4,644
The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Francisco San Francisco Associate 1,031
University of California-Berkeley Berkeley Doctorate & First Professional 34,940
University of California-Davis Davis Doctorate & First Professional 29,796
University of California-Irvine Irvine Doctorate & First Professional 26,483
University of San Francisco San Francisco Doctorate & First Professional 8,714
University of Southern California Los Angeles Doctorate & First Professional 33,408
West Los Angeles College Culver City Associate 9,975
West Valley College Saratoga Associate 11,210

Job Popularity in Metro Areas for Graphic Designers

The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for California. A table below the map shows job popularity and salaries across the state.

Metro Areas Rated for Popularity for:
Graphic Designers

Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Graphic Designers relative to the population of the city, as of 2008. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A Relative Popularity of 1.0 means that the city has an average number of the particular job, for its population, compared to the rest of the US. Higher numbers mean proportionally more jobs of that type.

Metro Area Jobs Salary


Bakersfield 220 $38870 0.51
Fresno 320 $42530 0.63
Chico 90 $39740 0.8
Oxnard 510 $50140 1.15
Thousand Oaks 510 $50140 1.15
Ventura 510 $50140 1.15
Redding 40 $37370 0.49
Riverside 1420 $43330 0.73
San Bernardino 1420 $43330 0.73
Ontario 1420 $43330 0.73
Sacramento 980 $47280 0.75
Roseville 980 $47280 0.75
Arden 980 $47280 0.75
Arcade 980 $47280 0.75
Salinas 110 $43100 0.45
San Diego 2290 $45820 1.14
Carlsbad 2290 $45820 1.14
Los Angeles 13310 $51930 1.59
Long Beach 13310 $51930 1.59
Anaheim 13310 $51930 1.59
Modesto 160 $38130 0.67
Napa 140 $45890 1.3
Santa Cruz 150 $56870 1.1
Watsonville 150 $56870 1.1
Santa Maria 230 $39570 0.84
Santa Barbara 230 $39570 0.84
Santa Rosa 340 $58740 1.23
San Francisco 5470 $68860 1.68
Oakland 5470 $68860 1.68
Hayward 5470 $68860 1.68
Stockton 150 $49950 0.47
Lodi 150 $49950 0.47
San Jose 1850 $71350 1.23
Sunnyvale 1850 $71350 1.23
Santa Clara 1850 $71350 1.23
Vallejo 100 $48180 0.55
Fairfield 100 $48180 0.55
Visalia 110 $49480 0.53
Porterville 110 $49480 0.53
San Luis Obispo 190 $38760 1.18
Paso Robles 190 $38760 1.18
Arroyo Grande 190 $38760 1.18
Employment For:

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