There are online associate's degree programs in visual communication that offer basic training in topics such as web design and graphics. These programs are generally offered in a blended format. Since visual communication is by nature a hands-on subject, not all classes can be taken online, but some can, especially the general education courses required for an associate's degree. On-campus courses generally require work with specialized equipment.
Students who are looking for a fully online alternative may consider an associate's degree in graphic design. Like visual communications programs, they include courses that emphasize artistic and creative expression, as well as the use of multimedia technologies. However, all classes can be taken online; the only in-person requirements are proctored exams at approved locations.
Visual communication may be available as a major, or students may find an associate's degree program in visual communication technology with a marketing or business focus. In these programs, students learn to use technology to create web pages and print layouts. They study graphic design, typography and computer software. Credits from an associate's degree program can be transferred to a four-year degree program, or students can use their knowledge to obtain an entry-level job.
Associate of Arts in Visual Communication
Although Associate of Arts in Business Administration programs in visual communication aren't likely to exist online, it's possible to find various associate's degree programs in visual communications or visual communications technology, which may allow students to add a business or marketing focus to the program. In an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) program in visual communications, students learn to design and create print and interactive multimedia layouts using state-of-the-art equipment. Additionally, students utilize industry-focused skills to solve design problems creatively.
Information and Requirements
Associate's programs typically require two years to complete. Due to the hands-on nature of working with equipment, such as video cameras, specialized computer applications and other peripherals, most programs require some time on campus. However, at least a portion of these programs may be completed online. Accessing your online curriculum typically requires an up-to-date computer and a high-speed Internet connection.
List of Common Visual Communication Courses
Visual communications programs require general education courses, which vary by school, but usually include classes like composition, mathematics and art appreciation. Core classes incorporate traditional design principles with modern technology.
Fundamentals of Design
Students learn the basic principles of color and design utilizing creative techniques for problem solving. They explore layout, 2-D form, communications concepts and color.
The course explores the functionality and meaning of typographic design. Students examine the use of typographic principles within design layouts. Technical specifications and aesthetics are explored.
Students utilize state-of-the-art media technologies to learn the basics of website design and development. Topics explore the aesthetic placement of images and type, as well as interactive software applications.
Programs in visual communications prepare students for entry-level positions in commercial graphics companies, advertising agencies and any business that utilizes visual communications to promote products and services. Example job titles may be graphic artist, desktop publisher or advertising sales representative. PayScale.com reported that graphic artists earned from $11.19-$24.50 an hour.
Desktop publishers were reported to have earned a median annual wage of $39,840 in May of 2015, however, employment for desktop publishers was expected to decline by 21% from 2014-2024, as stated the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Additionally, the BLS reported that advertising sales agents were expected to see job decline of 3% from 2014-2024. The median annual wage for these professionals was $48,490 in May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
For the student who wishes to further his or her education, bachelor's degrees in visual communications may be pursued online after completing the associate's degree. Bachelor's degree programs provide advanced knowledge in print production, color theory and illustration for careers in graphic design and communication.
In online associate's degrees in visual communications, students improve their design skills and their familiarity with the technology that can be used to implement designs in a wide range of media. Graduates may seek entry-level jobs in business advertising or enroll in bachelor's degree programs so that they can improve their job prospects in this highly competitive field.