Online Associate's Degrees in Design

Online associate's degree programs are available in both graphic design and Web design. Learn about classes offered in these programs and careers that might need applicants with these skills.

What Types of Design Degrees Can I Earn Online?

You can earn an associate's degree in graphic design entirely online. A graphic design degree program teaches you how to design layouts and advertisements for both print publications and websites. During the graphic design program, you'll learn how to use a number of different design software programs to produce animations, illustrations and letterheads. You'll usually compile a portfolio of your work throughout the program, which might include samples of Web pages, advertising designs and multimedia projects. You can also earn an associate's degree in Web design online. Web design integrates the study of artistic design with advanced technology subjects. Programs teach you how to develop the layouts of different websites, taking into consideration fonts, colors, photos, animations and formats.

Program Fields Graphic design, web design
Common Courses Multimedia design, illustration, project management, web development, advertising design
Technology Requirements Web browser, Internet access, anti-virus program; graphics cards, microphone, speakers, and webcam may be required
Median Salary (2018)* $50,370 (for graphic designers); $72,520 (for multimedia artists and animators); $69,430 (for Web developers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)4% growth (Graphic Designers)

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Will I Take?

Graphic design and web design programs require a variety of courses. In Graphic design programs, common topics that might be included are:

  • Multimedia design
  • Illustration
  • Communications theory
  • Advertising design
  • Designing for print publications
  • Digital imaging

Typical topics that you'll learn about in a Web design program may include:

  • Video and animation editing
  • Project management
  • Copyright laws and regulations
  • Web development
  • Information design
  • Web authoring

How Do I Learn Online?

During an online graphic design or Web design program, you'll often communicate with students and teachers through live chat and e-mail. Some schools offer access to readings and lectures online through CD-ROMs and audio recordings, while others provide video files. Some programs offer a blended program that integrates distance learning courses with on-campus classes.

To access online coursework, you'll usually need a Web browser, Internet access and an anti-virus program. Design programs also might require more advanced computer technologies, such as a graphics card, a microphone, speakers and a webcam. You might be required to purchase specific software programs like Adobe Dreamweaver, Photoshop and InDesign.

What Can I Do with My Degree?

With an associate's degree in graphic design, you can work in the fields of advertising, marketing and communications. You can become an assistant to a graphic designer and eventually work your way up by training or earning your bachelor's degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that graphic designers earned an average salary of $54,680 in May 2018 (

With your Web design degree, you can work your way towards a job as a Webmaster or Web designer. According to, the median salary for Webmasters was $51,251 in January 2016, while the median salary for web designers was $46,327 in January 2016. After you earn your graphic or Web design degree, you can also apply for work as a multimedia animator. According to the BLS, multimedia artists and animators made a median salary of $72,520 per year and Web developers made a median salary of $69,430 in May 2018.