Building Our Future One Student At A Time

Some secondary schools offer graphic communication and imaging courses through their career and technical education centers. Approximately 130 colleges and community colleges offer graphic communication programs. Our industry is interested in all individuals who are interested in learning a good vocation, having a solid career path, and making a good living in the graphic communication field.

Graphic communications is a catch-all term for all the industries involved in reproducing an image. The image, whether it be a word, photograph, or illustration, can be reproduced on paper, cloth, metal, glass, plastic, or a variety of other media so that the message can be widely seen. There are a wide range of career opportunities spanning printers, publishers, packagers, paper makers, ink makers, equipment manufacturers, and in-house design and printing departments within corporations, banks, and even retail stores.

This highly technical industry employs men and women working as chemists, engineers, computer programmers, writers and editors, designers, marketing specialists, researchers, machine operators, technicians, salespeople, managers, photographers, and bindery workers, as well as a variety of other positions.

Some of these occupations require a college degree. Many can be obtained with a technical degree or sometimes only a high school degree. Students interested in pursuing post-secondary education in a field related to graphic communications should contact the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF, www.pgsf.org) for additional information about scholarships as well as a directory listing technical schools, colleges, and universities offering courses in graphic communications. Joining the graphic communications industry is a wise career choice for high school graduates, college graduates, and vocationally trained students.

Graphic communications is all around us: When we read a newspaper, novel, or cereal box; drink from a beverage can; open a can of soup; or eat from a bag of pretzels. Products of this huge industry include booklets and product literature, the greeting cards we send, the signage in a store, and the direct mail you receive through the post office. We are surrounded by the products of graphic communications even including forms such as printed wallpaper, designed and printed bedsheets, clothing, flooring and even the printed face of an alarm clock. Everything from billboards and comic strips to toothpaste tubes and detergent boxes are produced by the graphic communications industry.

The demand for printed end products has expanded and will continue to grow. Consumption of printed products per capita in the United States has never been so high. Despite the increased use of the personal computer, mobile devices, the internet, and the prediction of a paperless society, the demand for printed products continues. The age of convenience and throw-away packaging continues to keep the graphic communications industry producing a wide variety of books, catalogs, corrugated boxes, magazines, labels, food (flexible) packaging, brochures, newspapers, and greeting cards.

This on-going demand for printed products has stabilized the number and variety of job opportunities in graphic communications. The ongoing technological advancements in the graphic communications industry is another reason for the existence of so many opportunities for college and vocational graduates. Graphic communications is not just an operator working with presses; it is also people working with computers, lasers, and even satellites. The included examples of potential careers in graphic communications will help to illustrate a few of the possible paths to be considered in an industry that employs so many and touches so many lives daily.