Career Tracks: Commercial Art

Career opportunities are available in advertising agencies, commercial printing businesses, newspapers, fabric printing businesses, publishing companies, photography studios and various business and industry graphic design departments.


Graduates in this field may be required to:

  • Layout and design of requested items such as:
    • Business cards
    • Service manuals
    • Brochures
    • Invitations
    • Menus
    • Flyers
    • Letters/envelopes
    • Programs
    • Business forms
    • Posters
    • Catalogs
    • Calendars
    • Technical manuals
    • Design web sites
  • Touch-up and manipulation of requested items such as:
    • Photographs
    • Scanned line art/drawings
    • Scanned paintings
    • Scanned renderings
  • Scheduling of items to be printed
  • Working with clients to determine layout, color choices, etc.
  • Quoting print jobs
  • Operation of desktop publishing hardware and software, and peripherals
  • such as laser printers, image setters, color proofers, scanners (drum and/or
  • flatbed), digital cameras, graphics tablets, etc.
  • Digital rendering and gaming development

Working Conditions

Graduates in this field commonly experience:

  • Clean; air conditioned (usually)
  • Office/computer room/art department environment/darkroom
  • May work alone or with others
  • May perform a variety of duties
  • May work with clients one-on-one or in a group setting
  • May work under direct supervision
  • Work under stress to meet deadlines
  • Overtime sometimes required
  • May be expected to proof own work carefully to avoid mistakes
  • Some outside work may be required (photo shoots, etc.)

Physical Demands

  • Great deal of sitting (in computer rooms/offices/art department)
  • Very active
  • Focused on computer screen for a good portion of the day
  • Movement back and forth between computer and paste-up, light
  • and cutting tables
  • Movement in order to get certain angles in photo shoots

Characteristics & Temperament

Graduates in this field should have:

  • Ability to work with things
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Good proofing/editing skills/spelling
  • An “eye” for good design
  • Ability to work with different types of people
  • Ability to work with numbers (measuring skills for layout)
  • Preciseness, attention to detail
  • Good organizational skills
  • Good memory skills
  • Ability to “catch on” quickly
  • Fair motor movement (hand/eye coordination/manual dexterity)
  • Self-discipline/self-motivation
  • Ability to make generalizations, evaluations, decisions based on verifiable data
  • Patience

Employment Outlook

Graduates in this field can expect the following developments:

  • increased pay and advancement possible with experience and further education
  • employment in cities and towns of all sizes
  • freelance work is a huge opportunity
  • possible entry level positions: layout assistant, typesetter, customer service, administrative assistant, photography assistant, graphic arts assistant, designer


Recent graduates have found work at:

Program & Course Information

Piedmont Technical College offers the following programs related to this career field:

  • Advertising Design Certificate
  • Desktop Publishing Certificate
  • Digital Rendering and Gaming Development Certificate
  • Illustration Certificate
  • Photography Certificate


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