Most entry level jobs in graphic design require a bachelor's degree in the field. All applicants for graphic design positions must present a portfolio of the their best design work to prospective employers. Entry level graphic designers usually work in the field for one to three years before becoming eligible for advancement, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Wages for junior designers vary by location and the type of firm they work for.
National Average Wages
The national average wage for junior graphic designers working in design specialties including print, interactive and web media is $38,000 per year, or $19 per hour, according to the AIGA Aquent survey of design salaries for 2011. AIGA is the professional association for design, and Aquent is its survey partner. By comparison, the national average wage for all graphic designers is $48,140, according to the May 2010 survey of the BLS.
Print vs. Interactive
Entry level graphic designers specializing in print design earn an average wage of $18.75 per hour, or $37,500 per year. Junior designers specializing in interactive media average at the higher rate of $21 per hour, or $42,000 per year, according to the Aquent 2011 survey.
Type of Firm
Entry level graphic designers working for design studios earned an average wage of $18.50 per hour, or $37,000 per year, according to the Aquent 2011 survey. Those working for advertising agencies earned an average of $19 per hour, or $38,000 per year. Publishers came in at the low end of the scale, paying new designers an average of $15 per hour, or $30,000 per year. Entry level designers working for in-house corporate design departments fared better at $20 per hour, or $40,000 per year.
Size of Company
The size of the employer's company has a bearing on entry level graphic designer wages. Companies with two to nine employees paid an average wage of $16.95 per hour, about $34,000 per year. Firms with 10 to 99 employees paid starting designers $18 per hour, or $36,000 each year, with companies with 100 to 999 employees paying $20 per hour, an annual wage of $40,000 according to the Aquent 2011 survey.
Entry level graphic design wages vary according to the client base of the employer. Companies serving local clients paid an average wage of $17.50 per hour, or $35,000 per year, with those serving a national client base paying $18.50 per hour, or $37,000 per year. Firms that serve an international client base paid an average of $20 per hour, or $40,000 per year, according to the Aquent 2011 survey.
Entry level graphic design wages vary by geographic location. Junior designers in Boston earned $25 per hour, or $50,000 per year, with those in New York City earning $20 per hour, or $40,000 per year. Entry level designers in Atlanta earned $19 per hour, or $38,000 per year, with those in Los Angeles earning $22.50 per hour, or $45,000 per year, and those in Chicago making $18.50 per hour, or $37,000 per year, according to the Aquent survey.