Career Prospects in Graphic Design

December 13th, 2012

Careers in graphic design and digital marketing are exploding at a surprising rate. Individuals looking to jump start their career in this exciting field can easily obtain the right education by attending an accredited two year technical or associates program. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in this field are expected to grow around 13% by 2020.

Graphic Designers are highly trained artists who help businesses and organizes conceptualize, design and layout a variety of branding logos and marketing communication materials. Graphic Designers become trained in a variety of skills that make them marketable to small to large employers such as: color theory, HTML, user experience principles, and brand identity creation. Graphic Designers can often be trained to work in a variety of roles such as: Web Design and Maintenance, Art Direction, Set and Exihibit Design, and Fine Arts.

Graphic Designers – are often employed by small and large businesses, organizations and marketing agencies to layout and design a variety of visual concepts for brand identity and marketing. These individuals are skilled visual artists that are familiar with creating logos and graphics for marketing and promotional materials. Graphic Designs can expect to make $43,000.

Webmasters – exclusively focus on the layout and design of websites for businesses and organization. Although they might be familiar with programming languages such as HTML, JavaScript and PHP – they mainly tackle the design, feel and experience of a company’s website by using a variety of design tools and content management systems such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, WordPress, Flash, Firework, etc. Millions of people are employed either freelance or working in-house. Entry-Level Web Designers can expect to make $73,000.

Art Directors – manage a team of designers and artists to successfully layout, create and execute advertising and marketing campaigns. Art Directors usually have years of experience working either as graphic designers or production artists. Art Directors can expect to make $80,000.

Set Designers – are employed usually by movie, theater and television production companies to come up with the visual layout for exhibits and sets. These individuals work closely with movie and television directors and often work multiple jobs. Set Designers can expect to make on average $46,000.

Fine Artists – usually work as illustrators, graphic artists,and cartoonists. They create original works of art and often employed by organizations to work on creating visual concepts for advertising and marketing campaigns. Individuals in this field can expect to make on average $43,000 a year.

There are a variety of options to explore when you are looking for your next job in graphic design. Opportunities are bountiful.

5 Of The Top Automotive and Diesel Repair

December 6th, 2012

These days, there are several careers in which someone with an associate’s degree can come out ahead and get a good paying job. One of these career fields that should be in high demand over the next few years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is a career in automotive and diesel repair.

Associate’s degrees that lead to jobs in Automotive and Diesel Repair can be found at several of the colleges and vocational education centers all over the U.S. or elsewhere. Here is some information on the top five paying careers in the field of automotive and diesel repair:

Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics

The Automotive Service Technician and mechanic diagnoses, adjusts, repairs, and/or overhauls automobiles and other vehicles. They usually do work such as testing parts, making sure systems in the vehicle work properly, use computers to figure out mechanical issues, do tests on and lubricate engines and other components, do oil changes and other basic maintenance, take apart and put together components, and do other vehicle repair work as needed.

They on average make about $18.54 an hour and have a median salary of $38,560.

Automotive and Watercraft Service Attendants

Persons working in this job will know how to provide services for cars and trucks such as lubrication of parts, changing the oil, putting in antifreeze, replacing worn parts such as belts or new light bulbs, repair tires, and other related work. This job pays an average of $10.33 an hour and has a median salary of about $21,480 a year.

Automotive Body and Related Repairers

Persons holding this job do various kinds of repair work such as refinishing the body on vehicles or straightening and repairing car or truck frames. This body work is high-paying and the average rate per hour is $19.99 and the median annual salary is $41,570 according to BLS data.

Diesel Service Technicians and Mechanics

People who work as a diesel technician and mechanic make an average of $40,850 per year and $19.94 an hour. They are skilled in inspecting, repairing, overhauling and related work on vehicles such as trucks, buses or cars that run on diesel fuel. They are trained in skills such as diagnosing problems, interpreting test results, using hydraulic gear such as jacks, inspection of brakes, transmissions, and other engine components, do maintenance items like oil changes, battery checks and lubrication of parts, as well as do test drives, and take apart and reassemble parts.

Automotive Body and Glass Repairers

The persons working in this area of auto repair make an average salary of $37,580 per year and an average of $18.07 per hour. Automotive body and glass repairers have skills in refinishing and replacing the bodies on cars and trucks, as well as putting n new windows, windshields, and other components.

It is considered to be a demanding position where one will be exposed to things like dust or fumes from oil and paints. Long hours are common in this line of work and the job outlook is good, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and expected to rise by 19 percent by 2020.

All in all, working in the field of automotive and diesel repair is hard, demanding physical work and it takes someone who doesn’t mind working long hours. But this job field is in good demand for the next several years and while some may require an associate’s degree in order to make a higher salary, many can be learned on the job or by attending a vocational school.

Microsoft and Alabama Department of Education Team Up

November 30th, 2012

Microsoft has teamed up with the Alabama Department of Education to offer a technology academy to high school students. Students can develop skills to help them succeed at college and in future careers. The Microsoft IT Academy has been successful in other states, and now comes to Alabama.

Alabama’s Governor, Robert Bentley believes this program will encourage workforce growth. High school graduates with technological certifications can bring their new skills to local businesses. The Microsoft IT Academy brings the latest programs and technology to students.

The program is known as Microsoft IT Academy. Students will have the ability to become certified in various Microsoft applications. Every high school in Alabama will soon offer the program. Students will get unprecedented access to technology and education.

The program is taught through e-learning, designated software and internet-based courses. Students will be able to complete a variety of technical courses, and earn professional certifications. Advocates for the program are hopeful for its success. Students will get the opportunity to graduate from high school with professional credentials. College bound students will have an advantage when they begin the fall semester. Many universities even test new students for computer proficiency.

The Microsoft IT Academy gives students a great way to get interested in learning. Students have tangible incentives for attending the academy. They can attain professional certifications. Many supporters believe this program will encourage learning. The idea of brining real-world credentials into the classroom is exciting. Students may take a more active role in their education if they can see the direct benefits. Students can do more than just prepare for college, they can learn valuable skills. Microsoft is an industry-leader, and used almost everywhere. Students take their credentials with them after high school graduation.

Participating schools get access to many different Microsoft learning programs. There is a Microsoft IT Academy website for members. There are over 1,500 online courses. Students will be especially interested in the programs teaching about game development, simulations and videos. Beginning students can take advantage of the Microsoft Digital Literacy curriculum. There is also a large e-reference library. Finally, students will be able to take advantage of DreamSpark. DreamSpark allows students and teachers in science and mathematics departments to use advanced developer tools and platforms, not usually available.

Students participating in the Microsoft IT Academy will have the latest technology at their fingertips. College-bound students will appreciate the advantage gained in their future endeavors. High school graduates going directly into the workforce will have professional credentials and training.

Top 5 Paying Careers in Restaurant/Culinary Training

November 29th, 2012

Everybody has to eat even during tough economic times. According to research, this is one reason why the restaurant and culinary field will experience a continued 10% growth rate through 2020. Formal culinary training typically provides greater job opportunities for those pursuing jobs in this career field. Trade schools give culinary training on food safety and preparation in a commercial environment culminating in an earned associate degree in Culinary Arts.

Top 5 Paying Careers in Restaurant / Culinary Training

1. Food Service Managers. Food Service Managers work in restaurants, cafeterias, and dining halls and are responsible for the overall customer dining experience. Daily operational management of the restaurant including supervision of subordinate restaurant workers is part of the Food Service Manager job description. Those promoted to Food Service Manager often have reached that position through many years of experience in the food service industry. Recently, there has been a trend within restaurants to require post secondary education for those holding restaurant management positions. The median pay for Food Service Managers is around $48,000 yearly.

2. Head Chef/Cook. Head chefs oversee daily food preparation and supervise other kitchen workers. Average restaurants may not require that head chefs have formal training, but these culinary professionals almost always need to have several years of experience. Upscale or specialty restaurants often employ head chefs and cooks that have specialized training from vocational or other culinary schools, and the competition for these positions is high. The average pay for head chefs and cooks is around $40,000 yearly.

3. Baker. Bakers and pastry chefs are found working in restaurants, grocery stores, and specialty pastry shops. Bakers follow predetermined recipes and mix ingredients to make breads and other baked goods. To become a baker, one typically has a few years of on the job training. Baker’s pay averages about $23,000 yearly.

4. Meat Packers. Meat packers and slaughterers kill and clean meat for meat markets, grocery stores, and sometimes restaurants. They need only on the job training. The average yearly pay of meat packers is $23,000.

5. Cook. Cooks are usually subordinates of a head chef or work as the sole food preparer in small restaurants. Some cooks attend formal training, but average restaurants do not require cooks to attend culinary school. The average yearly pay of cooks is around $20,000.

While many careers within the restaurant and culinary job category do not need formal training, those seeking management positions should consider obtaining formal culinary education. Obtaining the right training often make those possessing culinary credentials competitive for many fun and exciting restaurant jobs.

A Vocational Education: An Exciting, Fresh Start for Students

November 27th, 2012

Thanks to Arizona education and business leaders, vocational education has seen a dramatic change in its curriculum and its general perception by both the public and educational system. It wasn’t too long ago a technical schooling was seen as no more than a means to clean the schools of the academically lazy and ‘bad’ students.

Today, these schools are viewed as exceptional jumping points for strong careers in a number of industries. They’ve become a respected part of economic recovery and development and an extraordinary opportunity for our young to train for welding, nursing assistants, auto technicians, machinists, electricians and more. Today, students take nationally recognized exams and get accredited certifications. The statistics between available jobs and qualified applicants in the fields these schools cover is expected to expand over the next 10 years, especially as baby boomers retire and the technology proceeds to advance. Vocational schools are preparing high school students today for that contingency.

Training programs are more focused and practical than in the past, when they were used to fill seats with troubled teens. Today, these schools are getting more and more applicants that are looking for vocational training. They are aware this training could cost thousands of dollars at private trade schools and community colleges. Under the right circumstances, many vocational schools can offer tuition free schooling.

In some circles, a vocational education is still stigmatized. There are those in the educational system that believe a high school graduation to college path is the only way. Some parents are concerned that this training limits a child’s potential and vision for the future. Neither view takes into account that the next step in any student’s life isn’t necessarily college.

Students often realize the benefits of having a skill straight out of high school to present to potential employers. A number of vocational programs actually have waiting lists. And college should never be counted out. High school grads that move into good jobs can always decide to attend college later. Only now, they will focus as well as have the opportunity to pay for it, alleviating burdens on family.

Far too many of our high school students are graduating into minimum wage positions. Too many of them accept that as their station. There should be encouragement to get into programs. Certification as a nursing assistant can lead to other opportunities in the medical field, such as Head Nurse or Dental Assistant. This would require going back to school and potentially increasing their salary by tens of thousands of dollars. But first, these students need to get their foot in the door with the proper training and support.

A good program can also help our students develop discipline. By mastering technical skills in a focused group environment, they learn to show up on time, become team players and demonstrate initiative through projects.

If you know of a high school student that is in need of career advice or hasn’t really decided where the next step after graduation is going to be, or if their plan is to get a job straight out high school, help them learn about vocational schooling. It’s not the end of their future, it’s the beginning.

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