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You may be contemplating moving towards a career in graphic design. As a consequence, you undoubtedly have a good number of questions about becoming a graphic designer. A primary question might be whether or not you are likely to be hired as a graphic designer without a degree if you’re a strong portfolio. As is the case with so many things in like, this question doesn’t result in a clear black and white answer.

A College Degree, a Portfolio, and a Freelance Graphic Designer

A significant percentage of graphic designers are freelancers, independent contractors working on their own. While the benefits of obtaining a degree in graphics design or an associated area of study cannot be underestimated, you can succeed in this profession if you lack a college degree but have a strong portfolio.

The reality is that a prospective client is not highly likely to focus on a freelance graphic designer’s academic career when considering engaging that professional for services. The prospective client is nearly certain to focus most if not all attention on a graphic designer’s portfolio.

Another reality is that an individual, business, or organization interested in engaging the services of a graphic designer will be considering more than one design professional at the same time. In other words, if you’re being considered for a gig, you’re not alone. For this reason, you need as many arrows in your quiver as possible to set yourself apart from what might be a pack. Yes, a strong portfolio is key. Nonetheless, if you are among fellow professionals with a good portfolio, a prospective client may dig deeper. If that occurs, education might become a focus of that due diligence.

Graphic Designer in a Firm

A considerable segment of graphic designers work as part of firms, according to Forbes. If you’re interested in seeking employment in graphic design, marketing, or similar type of firm, a degree may be important or even required, even if you have a strong portfolio.

Many firms have set minimum requirements for employment that very well may include education. While a smaller firm may be more inclined to bend certain requirements if a person has a particularly strong portfolio, you cannot expect that to happen. Bending requirements is not as likely to occur with larger firms.

Graphic Designer on the Team of a Corporation or Business

If you’re interested in obtaining a position as a graphic designer with a corporation or business, a degree may be required. This may be the case even if you have a commanding portfolio. In a situation in which a corporation or business is interested in your work, but you’re lacking a degree, you can attempt to pitch them on the benefits of engaging you as an independent contractor. In some isolated cases, when a prospective employee doesn’t meet education requirements, a corporation or business may consider utilizing that individual’s services in a freelance arrangement. Bear in mind if you go that route, you’ll not be able to obtain some benefits that might be available to an employee of a corporation or business. These benefits, including health insurance, might be a primary attractive feature in the first instance.

In the final analysis, you need to ascertain how you want to go about pursuing a career as a graphic designer, including as a freelancer, with a firm, or with a corporation or business. Once that decision is made, you’ll be in a better position to determine what you must have in your overall resume.

Related Resources:

What is The Best Way to Prepare For Applying To Undergraduate Programs in Graphic Design?

What Can I Do with a Graphic Design Degree?