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Associate Programs
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Graphic Art and Design Associate Degree

While degrees aren't typically offered in graphic art and design specifically, you can obtain an associate's degree in graphic design, which includes art applications and theories along with design coursework. Keep reading to learn more about the imaging classes you could complete and the types of design jobs that are available.

What Is a Graphic Art and Design Associate's Degree Program Like?

Associate's degree programs in graphic art and design give you a solid understanding of how to use computers to create images for commercial use. Typically, an Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design or related degree takes about two years of full-time study to complete. In some cases, you may be able to transfer your associate's degree work directly into a bachelor's degree completion program in graphic design.

Many community colleges and technical schools offer associate's degree programs in graphic design. Some schools offer programs completely online and others offer selected courses online. You might need to buy specialized software like Adobe Acrobat, Dreamweaver and Photoshop if you're an online student. If you're enrolled in an on-campus program, you'll usually have some courses that take place in a computer lab that is already equipped with the software you'll need.

Program LengthTwo years
Common CoursesIllustration, drawing, animation, image manipulation
Median Salary (2020)$53,380* (for graphic designers)
Job Outlook (2019-29)4% decline* (for all graphic designers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Will I Take?

Most graphic art and design programs require you to take some general education courses. They typically include English, composition, math, natural sciences and social sciences. Required courses in graphic art and design give you a solid understanding of printmaking, illustration, drawing, image manipulation and animation. Photography, web and multimedia design, 2-dimensional design, digital imaging, desktop publishing and typography are also common courses.

In addition to these technical courses, you also learn about the history and theory of art and graphic design. You may also be able to take courses in portfolio development and marketing as well as advertising.

Can I Get a Job With the Degree?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an associate's degree in graphic design qualifies you for positions requiring only technical skills or jobs assisting graphic designers who have more training and experience. The BLS reported that entry-level graphic designer jobs typically require a bachelor's degree. PayScale.com reported in May 2021 that the median annual wage for graphic artists and designers was $46,285, and that pay can vary depending on your location.