Communication Arts Associate's Degree

Learn how an associate's degree program in communication arts can help you prepare for a career in business, graphic design and media, or for transfer to a 4-year program. Read on to learn about concentrations, course topics and job options.

What Is a Communication Arts Associate's Degree?

A communication arts associate's degree program provides you with an understanding of written communication, visual communication, graphic arts, Web design and other subjects. Many community colleges and technical schools offer 2-year programs in this area, and some qualify you to move onto a 4-year bachelor's degree program once you've graduated.

Some programs require you to select a concentration, while others allow you to pursue a broader education. Concentration options include advertising design, commercial photography, and digital filmmaking. You can also find programs that focus on the technology involved with the communication arts and others that allow you to explore the fine arts. These programs aren't typically offered online.

Possible ConcentrationsDigital filmmaking, commercial photography, advertising design
Common CoursesDrawing, photography, mass media, media literacy, public speaking
Careers OptionsJournalism, advertising professional, office manager, public relations specialist
Median Salary (2018)$43,660 (Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)8% growth (Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Courses Can I Take?

Coursework covers oral, written, visual and electronic communication. All associate's degree programs require general education courses in addition to your major courses, and you learn about various computer programs used for communication in many different industries. Core coursework might include:

  • Art history
  • Web publishing
  • Newswriting
  • Computer Illustration
  • Drawing
  • Photography

Depending on your program, your curriculum may be tailored to a general area of the communication arts. For example, if you choose to focus on advertising, your courses will cover mass media, media writing, advertising research and media literacy. Other courses sometimes discuss interpersonal communication, group dynamics and public speaking. You may even have the opportunity to complete an internship, providing on-the-job experience that may even translate into a job.

What Can I Do With the Degree?

Once you've earned your associate's degree, you can either seek employment or further your education at a 4-year university or college. You could get into a variety of industries, including journalism, advertising, video production, corporate communications, office management or public relations. Some of these jobs might require you to earn your bachelor's degree in a more specialized area.