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Associate of Graphic Art & Design: Degree Overview

Associate of Graphic Art and Design degree programs prepare students for creating visual work in print and multimedia formats. Learn more about the skills you can build in these programs and what you can do when you finish.

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Essential Information

Associate degree programs in graphic art and design teach students how to use symbols, words and images to create print and electronic visual messages. Core coursework typically includes both traditional art courses, such as drawing and color theory, and graphic design technology classes. Programs also help students develop creative problem-solving skills and approaches.

These two-year programs are usually completed in preparation for earning bachelor's degrees.

Applicants must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Some schools also require applicants to submit a portfolio of previous art or creative sample.


Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Advertising and Commercial Design
  • Commercial Photography
  • Fashion Design
  • General Visual Communications Design
  • Graphic Design
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  • Industrial Design
  • Interior Design and Decorating

Associate of Graphic Art and Design

Associate of Graphic Art and Design degree programs are offered by universities, design schools and community colleges. The curriculum for an associate degree in graphic art and design combines liberal studies, studio work and practice in hands-on technology, such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and/or Quark. Typical coursework includes:

  • Graphic design
  • Illustration
  • Digital imaging
  • Typography
  • Publication design
  • Website design

Career Options

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), a bachelor's degree in graphic design is typically necessary for entry-level and advanced graphic design jobs (www.bls.gov). However, an associate degree may help graduates land some positions, including:

  • Graphic designer assistant
  • Web page designer
  • Illustrator

Continuing Education

Some credits from a graphic design associate program are transferable to a bachelor's degree program. Many graphic design bachelor's programs are available at public and private universities, colleges and design schools. Graphic design degrees are offered as a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Graphic Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts programs. Students receive advanced design training and may have internship opportunities. Graphic design professionals must stay current with the latest design technology, which may require continuing education classes, according to the BLS.

The BLS predicts that there will be little or no change in job opportunities for graphic designers during the 2014-2024 decade. It also estimated that these designers earned a median salary of $46,900, as reported in 2015.

Aspiring graphic designers can start their education with an associate's degree in graphic art and design. In most cases, graduates will need to get more advanced education before entering the workforce, but it is possible to get low-level design-related jobs after finishing this degree.

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