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Associate in Graphic Design and Multimedia: Degree Overview

An associate's program in graphic design and multimedia focuses on theoretical and practical skills in animation, illustration and more. Graduates can enter the workforce or pursue advanced studies in the field.

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Essential Information

Associate's degree programs in graphic design and multimedia can provide students with the necessary skills to design and create layouts for a wide variety of print and digital products. These include book jackets, annual reports, magazines, print advertisements, trade publications and websites. Associate's degree programs take two years to complete, and though uncommon, some schools offer these programs fully or partially online.

Prior to graduation, students are required to create a portfolio of their work, and some programs may include an internship. A high school diploma or the equivalent is required for admission, and schools frequently recommend that applicants have computer skills.


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Associate's Degree in Graphic Design and Multimedia

Students in these programs learn effective ways to communicate visual messages using graphical elements including color, type, font, illustration and animation. Some programs also teach photography, Web design and printing techniques. Common courses include:

  • Digital imaging
  • Multimedia production
  • Typography
  • Drawing
  • 2-D and 3-D illustration
  • Motion graphics

Popular Career Options

An associate's degree program could be sufficient to qualify individuals in this field to become graphic designers, though advanced education might be necessary. There are multiple career options available to those that hold only a 2-year degree. Some job titles could include:

  • Graphic designer assistant
  • Production technician
  • Layout technician
  • Graphic artist
  • Website designer

Reporting on graphic artists or designers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that employment for these workers is expected to grow 1% between 2014 and 2024. Graphic designers earned an average annual salary of $51,640 as of May 2015, the BLS adds. The BLS indicates that the projected employment growth for web developers is 27% over the 2014-2024 decade, with these individuals earning a mean annual wage of $70,660 in 2015.

Continuing Education Options

Students who complete an associate's degree in graphic design and multimedia may be able to transfer their credits towards a bachelor's degree program. These programs generally provide in-depth knowledge and skills in advanced graphics tools and software. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most entry-level graphic design positions require completion of at least a bachelor's degree program (www.bls.gov).

After earning a bachelor's degree, students can elect to progress into a master's degree program in graphic design or a related discipline. Graduate programs in these fields usually lead to terminal degrees, which can provide graduates with career skills or qualify them to teach at elementary school, high school or college levels.

Associate's degree programs provide basic training for students who want to pursue careers in graphic design or media arts. Graduates can choose to apply for entry-level positions in the field or enroll in a bachelor's degree program to get more advanced education.

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