Modern apprenticeship programs help individuals gain valuable job experience and in-demand skills. Illustrator programs give the students the skills to become a technical illustrator, freelance illustrator, technical illustrator, or other digital artist position. Apprenticeship programs are available for students still in college or professionals looking for career changes.
If you are an aspiring graphic designer, illustrator, or product designer, you should consider an apprenticeship program to jumpstart your career. Modern apprenticeship programs equip students with exceptional skills to boost their resumes. If you’re interested in an apprenticeship service, keep reading to learn more about illustrator apprenticeships, jobs, and salaries.
What Is an Illustrator Apprenticeship?
An illustration apprenticeship is a training program that gives individuals the opportunity to learn a wide range of practical business skills and tools. These include creating audio-visual and other material for companies and developing soft skills such as leadership and critical thinking. During the apprenticeship, you will also build meaningful relationships with clients and coworkers.
Apprenticeship programs often last about three to six months. During this time, the program provides students with a professional mentor, free academic consultation, one-on-one coaching sessions, and online learning tools. Some of these programs are free, but others require payment. However, many programs also have financial aid and scholarship options for students.
What Does an Illustrator Apprentice Do?
Illustrator apprenticeship roles and duties will vary depending on the company, job description, and experience. The primary function of an illustrator apprentice is to learn while working under senior professional illustrators. Some companies prefer hiring illustrator apprentices as assistants. In this case, apprentices will help them with administrative or clerical duties.
Bear in mind your work as an illustrator will depend on your area of study. For instance, if you majored in computer animation, graphic design, or 3D, you’ll have more technical duties involving coding and rendering. On the other hand, if you have artistic knowledge of art and drawing, your illustrator duties will likely include more drawing and sketching.
Illustrator Apprenticeship Salary
According to ZipRecruiter, illustrator apprentices earn about $23 per hour, which translates to roughly $46,988 per year. However, such positions are short-term as they last for about six to fifteen months, with a decent chance of permanent employment. The salary an illustrator trainee or apprentice will earn depends on the company, job description, experience, and location.
Illustrator Apprenticeship Requirements
Different companies and hiring managers impose different entry requirements for various illustrator apprenticeships. However, qualifications for getting an illustrator apprenticeship, training program, or internship may require you to meet specific academic qualifications, like having a graduate degree or art degree.
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The average bootcamp grad spent less than six months in career transition, from starting a bootcamp to finding their first job.
If you’re thinking of going back to school, consider a Bachelor’s Degree in Design or Animation. It would be better if you also had several recommendations to help you stand out and increase your chances of finding an apprenticeship. Not all illustrator apprentice programs are concerned with university education, as some may require good GPA grades from high school.
Besides technical skills, soft skills such as a strong work ethic, passion, commitment, time management, and communication will also help you make a strong application, especially with large computer animation or graphic design studios. You should also make sure you can meet the time commitment of a full-time apprenticeship.
Types of Illustrator Apprenticeships
An illustrator apprenticeship can lead to a career path in a creative career. Such programs can lead to jobs in the creative industries, such as a book illustrator, display designer, animator artist, bathroom designer, body designer, bridalwear designer, or book illustrator. We’ve compiled a few types of modern apprenticeships offered by employers and select colleges.
People who become graphic designers create visuals by hand or with various software that captivates and attracts customers. They typically work on projects involving advertisements, posters, brochures, magazines, and other visual media. As a graphic design apprentice, you’ll learn to meet clients’ needs, present design concepts to stakeholders, and review errors.
Landscape designers or architects design outdoor spaces for businesses, private homes, and recreation facilities. They meet up with clients to envision the requirements of various projects. As a landscape designer, you’ll learn how to prepare and present graphic representations of plans using computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software.
These professionals create animations commonly used in TV shows, movies, video games, and advertisements. They combine their artistic skills with computer software knowledge to create animations based on real-world environments, animals, or objects. As an animator apprentice, you’ll learn to develop enhanced animations either by hand or special software.
A medical illustrator is a trained artist with an extensive background in medicine, communication, science, and media technology. Medical illustration is a highly exclusive career path as these professionals have advanced knowledge in sciences and visual communication. They collaborate with doctors to transform complex information into clear images.
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Illustrator Apprenticeship Jobs
Many colleges and employers offer illustrator apprenticeship jobs, including apparel designer, applications designer, art designer, and book designer. Below are a few different illustrator apprenticeships jobs available at the time of writing so you can see what kinds of positions you can find.
Graphic Arts Print Production Apprenticeship – Harper College
Harper College is one of the largest community colleges in America. This college offers many programs and courses designed to train students in specific trades and career paths. You can become an apprentice and earn as you learn graphic arts print production.
This two-year program allows students to work for an employer and get paid while learning the artistic skills necessary for graphic design. During this program, you’ll have a mentor assigned to you, who’ll place a strong emphasis on basic graphic design concepts, production techniques, and the latest graphic design software.
Studio Light Illustration Apprenticeships
This apprenticeship program charges students for access to this professional opportunity. For $1,200, you can develop the tools necessary to start a successful illustration program. The fee is payable in two installments or a one-time upfront payment. This is one of the best ways to learn animation in a real-world setting.
Studio light illustration apprenticeships last for six months, during which you’ll learn many business and illustration concepts to help you start your own company in the creative industry. Other features of this program include a one-on-one mentorship, free consultation, a Creative Community Circle (CCC) membership.
Disney’s Talent Development Trainee and Apprentice Program
Disney animation includes world-renowned talent, creating some of the best illustrators in the industry. Its development trainee programs offer students a chance to develop their skills while working with some of the world’s best studio filmmakers.
These programs run for about nine to 18 months, during which you will take your skills directly to a film studio and contribute to the filmmaking process. This illustrator internship and apprentice pathway is the perfect way for career switchers to gain professional qualifications and access apprenticeships at all levels.
Design – Apprenticeship at BUCK
BUCK is a creative company with offices in New York, Amsterdam, and Los Angeles. It has helped many people aspiring to join the creative industry. BUCK offers a full-time apprenticeship program that runs for about six months, during which you’ll develop your design skills. Preferred candidates have skills in Adobe Suite, After Effects, and C4D.
Apprenticeship starters can access this program to enter the competitive industry more easily. With BUCK, you can develop a client list, create audio-visual and computerised material, and get hands-on experience. Just make sure you meet the academic entry requirements and employment obligations before you apply.
FleishmanHillard Creative Design Apprentice
FleishmanHillard is a marketing and public relations agency that develops strategic communications for corporate and consumer marketing as well as brand and reputation management. It comes up with solutions based on data insights and creativity.
This apprenticeship is ideal for apprentices with a strong desire to learn, work, and have fun. This is a paid, full-time apprentice position that takes about six months to complete. There are relatively low entry requirements, including knowledge of GIF creation using animation or other post-production techniques, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, and Sketch.
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Many illustrators today have skills in sketching, drawing, and graphic design. Consequently, many modern apprenticeship programs focus on graphic design to allow illustrators a holistic approach when learning and working. For this reason, you should consider this apprenticeship from Social Movement Technologies.
Social Movement Technologies (SMT) is a non-profit organization committed to supporting social needs through training and online support spaces. This 12-session apprenticeship program covers persuasive graphic design, data visualization, multimedia storytelling, image manipulation, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator.
How to Get an Illustrator Apprenticeship
The best way to find illustrator apprenticeships is by looking up vacancies and applying directly through the posted job boards. These programs are highly sought after and competitive, so it can be intimidating to know where to start. Below are a few options to consider to help you stand out and increase your chances of landing apprenticeship positions.
If you are looking to take advantage of advanced apprenticeships, you should consider a bootcamp. Some programs require applicants to include a working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator and related software. Fortunately, you can quickly acquire such skills in an illustrator bootcamp or graphic design program to increase your chances of getting an apprenticeship.
Bootcamps feature condensed curricula designed to train students on specific technical skills in a short period. Bootcamps, whether virtual or in-person, let you develop additional skills in graphic design to qualify you for advanced apprenticeship programs in a brief period.
An internship program might help you increase your chances of getting an apprenticeship to build up your work experience. You will build transferable skills, including problem-solving, analytical thinking, communication, adaptability, and creativity. Interning also shows a strong desire to work and create value, which employers will see.
Trade schools are another way to gain experience in a hands-on or creative field. Also known as technical schools, they can help you learn in a real-world environment and meet like-minded people in the field. According to PayScale, the average salary for people with a technical school diploma is about $70,000 per year.
Vocational training is another way to earn career-specific skills. Similar to trade schools, vocational schools include the hands-on experience to prepare you for a real position in the field. With vocational qualifications, you could become a technical writer, cabinet maker, bed maker, frame maker, design copyist, video operator, and more.
Is an Illustrator Apprenticeship Worth It?
Yes, apprenticeships are worthwhile for several reasons. These types of digital art internships help you start earning money as you build towards your desired career. You’ll be able to gain hard and soft skills such as active listening skills, and you’ll be able to enter the arts industry with strong employment status.
Earning an income simultaneously to your education makes you less likely to have student debt, which typically has enormous implications on future finances. You’ll work with industry leaders who’ll help you develop the skills necessary to start a job as an illustrator. Apply for an apprenticeship to kickstart your illustration career.
Illustrator Apprenticeship FAQ
Yes, you have to complete your assignments and assessments as they gauge your understanding of everything you have learned since the start of the program. All apprentices must take tests to confirm that they have achieved occupational competence.
Yes, you can get an apprenticeship in graphic design as numerous companies, including large and small animator studios, offer these programs. An apprenticeship in graphic and multimedia design will equip you with technical skills in illustration and After Effects as you work.
Illustrator apprenticeships can take anywhere from one to four years, depending on the program’s level and the company. For instance, level two apprenticeships can take about 12 months to complete, while level three apprenticeships can take about 24 months to complete.
You should expect to learn graphic design, After Effects, and illustration while supporting the operations department. You’ll also learn more about paying attention to client briefs, editing, and proofreading working documents. No matter which of the various apprenticeship opportunities you choose, it will enhance your style for illustrations and propel you into a new career path.
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