Employment opportunities are found in a wide range of settings, such as print shops, service bureaus, advertising agencies, graphic design or in-house design groups, and independent design. Careers may include entry-level designer, pre-press technician, and illustrator.

Entry-level Designer

A graphic designer works with clients to create a visual concept that delivers a specific message to customers or consumers via brochures, ads, and other printed material, as well as via electronic methods like websites. Graphic designers work with art and text, enhancing it or manipulating the look of it for desired affects.

They may change the font type or size of written words, adjust the size of an illustration or minimize the white space used on product packaging. A graphic designer often has a bachelor's degree in the field and a portfolio of work to show prospective employers or clients. Industry certification is available for various software programs that are commonly used.

Pre-Press Technician

Prepress technicians set the foundation for successful printing production. They ensure that the proper format, appearance, and layout of text and images is set before the full print run for newspapers, magazines, brochures, catalogs, packaging materials or labels is completed.

Prepress technicians take print or electronic files and scan or import them into specialized software, making color, text, and digital image corrections as needed. They set up printing presses to produce film, plate or electronic proofs. Prepress technicians also maintain, repair, and troubleshoot cameras and presses as needed. Shift work is common, as is overtime in order to meet deadlines.


Illustrators, generally known as commercial artists, must possess a creative mind and an ability to communicate through design. These artists can work in a number of different fields, including cartooning and sketch art.

Illustrators typically create images for books, magazines, stationary and many other products. Some illustrators even work in the medical field, such as those who create illustrations of human or animal anatomy for surgeries and other medical procedures.

Information on associated occupations, cost of attendance, loan debt for completers, and on-time completion rates for certificates can be found under Gainful Employment.

For more information about these careers, as well as the employment outlook, visit the U.S. Department of Labor, Oregon Employment Department, and American Institute for Graphic Arts (AIGA) websites.