What Education Is Required for a Career in Graphic Designing?

Depending on what level of work you would like to pursue, several different levels of education can qualify you for a job in graphic design. Creativity, the ability to communicate effectively, and problem-solving skills are key to this career, as well as understanding the most current computer software and being able to use it. Read more about degree programs that can help you hone these skills. Schools offering Graphic Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Education Overview

Graphic design students can pursue a bachelor's degree, associate's degree, or a certificate in graphic design. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, graphic designer positions typically require a bachelor's degree. However, an associate's degree or certificate can sometimes be enough to start your career. Whatever degree you have, you should develop a high-quality portfolio that demonstrates the breadth and quality of your abilities. There are three educational pathways to starting your career in graphic design.

Important Facts About This Degree

Online Availability Certificates, associate's and bachelor's degrees available online
Degree Fields Graphic design, web design, digital media, motion graphics, visual communications
Common Courses Digital imaging, color theory, web page design, typography, branding
Certification Certification available through software vendors
Median Salary (2018) $50,370*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 4%*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Bachelor's Degree

The best way to begin a career in graphic design is to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD, nasad.arts-accredit.org). Accredited degree programs have shown that they provide high-quality education; they teach students about the essentials of the job and meet the requirements for work in graphic design. An accredited graphic design program develops students' artistic competencies as specified by NASAD. Graduates know about the theory and history of art and design. Some examples of degree specializations are:

  • Web design
  • 3D animation
  • 2D print

Associate's Degree

An associate's degree in graphic arts focuses primarily on the technical aspects of the work. This degree is typical for assistants of graphic designers, who work on the basic responsibilities of positioning and design. An associate's degree prepares students for printing responsibilities and web page preparation rather than full designer positions, and can also prepare you for a career as a web developer.

Certificate of Completion

A graphic design certificate is a document given by educational institutions to confirm that you understand basic concepts related to the field. Typically, this basic credential is pursued by students who don't have the time or resources to complete a full associate's degree or bachelor's degree, or by students with a degree in another field that want to complete technical training in graphic design. Certificate programs may also be found as a method of continuing your education after beginning your career to keep up with the latest technological advances in the field.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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