7 Career Alternatives for Graphic Designers

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Graphic Designer

Did you know that graphic designers earn an average of approximately $53.6K yearly in the United States? That translates to an average wage of $19.88 per hour. 

Of course, average pay depends on the experience – here is a quick overview:

Experience as a Graphic DesignAverage Hourly Wage
<12 months$18.00
1-2 years$18.88
Over 10 years$25.59

The pay isn’t bad, but graphic designers know the job comes with a lot of stress. You need to tailor everything to your boss or client’s request. 

It’s not only stressful but limits you from expressing your creativity.

If you’re thinking about switching careers for more money or new challenges, the market offers tempting alternatives. We singled out the best options for a graphic designer to make a seamless change. 

7 Alternative Careers for Graphic Designers

Check out our career suggestions and see if you find yourself in any of the jobs mentioned!

1. Freelance Graphic Designer

Ask yourself what you don’t like about your current role – what you do or the current employer and career situation? If it’s the latter, the solution could be to become a freelancer instead of working as an employee. 

Freelance graphic designers can choose their clients (to some extent) and pick only projects that appeal to them. You don’t need an entire career change, but upgrading some skills could be welcome.

How much you’ll get: Your initial revenue might be lower than expected. But as you gain experience and reputation in the industry, you can earn more than the average salary in the niche. Skilled freelance graphic designers are among the top earners in this industry.

2. UX Designer

You don’t have to go far from your current job to find a new challenge. While graphic designers focus on visual presentation, UX designers consider user experience the top priority. 

Their task is to optimize the product’s appearance and how it “feels” using it. The focus is on offering a beginner-friendly interface that users would feel comfortable with immediately.

How much you’ll get: As a UX designer, you can earn approximately $98K yearly in the United States. It’s a significant improvement compared to graphic design, and in general, it’s a more challenging job. If that’s something you’d find fulfilling, this career is worth considering.

3. Project Manager

It’s impossible to imagine any project would succeed without a manager. A top-quality manager is imperative for a large-scale project. These people organize work and ensure everyone sticks to the schedule. 

Their task is to secure an optimal working environment that would maximize the productivity and performance of each team member.

How much you’ll get: You already have experience participating in design projects. The next step is taking over, and many companies are ready to pay that well. You can earn up to $130.9K annually, although the average salary for a project manager is $90K per year. But even at that rate, it’s considerably bigger than the graphic designer average.

4. Fashion Designer

You’ve always dreamed of launching a clothing brand, and now might be a perfect time. You like fashion and enjoy design, so this could be a win-win situation. 

You can focus on specific clothing items, such as accessories or garments. Since styles and trends vary in different locations, you can use a VPN free trial to safely explore fashion trends in different areas of the world and get ideas for the wardrobe you can design.

How much you’ll get: The average salary of a fashion designer is $59.9K annually. If you become successful in the industry, you could increase this amount multiple times. The only problem is it’s not easy to succeed, and most fashion designers stay below the average.

5. Lecturer or Teacher

You’ve learned a lot over the years working as a graphic designer. 

Perhaps you don’t feel like taking on new projects, but it’s a shame to let your knowledge go to waste. How about becoming a graphic design teacher or lecturer?

How much you’ll get: The average salary of a lecturer is around $55.7K, but it’s certainly less stressful than being a graphic designer. As a guest lecturer, you could also tour states and countries. It’s the perfect opportunity to get to know the world while teaching young minds.

6. Book Cover Designer and Illustrator

Although many prefer electronic forms, books are still resisting modern trends. And the good news is there’s no reason why you wouldn’t handle both. 

Whether it’s an e-book or the traditional form, you can design covers that attract readers. If you are creative, it’s the perfect job to tap into that potential.

How much you’ll get: You could earn approximately $54.3K per year working as a book designer. Apart from being more enjoyable than graphic design, it’s also less stressful and takes less time. And you could significantly increase your income if you also handle book illustrations.

7. Digital Marketing Manager

Online marketing management requires a lot of creativity. You need to identify campaigns that would be successful and achieve desired goals. 

With a background in graphic design, you could have an important advantage over the competition.

How much you’ll get: Becoming a digital marketing manager is a bigger leap and requires more courage. However, you’ll be happy to know the average salary in this niche in the US is $111K annually. If you find finances important, that could be the perfect motivation to try.

Final Thoughts

Changing careers has always been a big move for an individual. The good news is that graphic designers have many alternative options available. 

If you feel it’s the right time for a change, don’t hesitate to take that first step by choosing your desired career today!

Average salary statistics were taken from ZipRecruiter, except where other references are used.