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Associate of Graphic Arts: Degree Overview

Associate's degree programs in graphic art prepares students for entry-level work in graphic design or for further study in a baccalaureate program. Students in these programs take art classes, such as drawing and illustration, as well as coursework in computer applications and design fundamentals.

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Essential Information

An associate's degree typically takes two years to complete and might be offered through a community college, design school, or 4-year college. Students learn design and art principles that enable them to create designs for all types of media, including websites, print, and multimedia. An internship is typically required of students in order to complete the degree.


Associate's Degree in Graphic Design

A high school diploma or its equivalent is required to gain admission into a postsecondary school. Some associate's degree programs include additional prerequisites, such as a portfolio review or a creative assignment. Throughout their coursework, students can complete assignments that they use toward building their professional portfolio. Some programs give students the opportunity to participate in internships so they can gain professional experience. Some common classes may include:

  • Drawing
  • Typography
  • Illustration
  • Color theory
  • Computer applications
  • Web design

Popular Career Choices

Graduates of associate's degree programs in graphic arts can be qualified for some entry-level positions within the graphic design field. Many businesses have needs for graphic design professionals, such as design firms, advertising companies, printing businesses, and software companies. Graduates of associate's degree programs in graphic arts may obtain jobs such as:

  • Graphic designer
  • Website designer
  • Illustrator
  • Graphic artist
  • Junior designer

Graphic designers are expected to experience 1% (little or no change) employment growth between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that graphic designers earned a mean annual salary of $51,640 as of May 2015.

Continuing Education

Students can pursue their graphic arts studies further by enrolling in a graphic design baccalaureate program. In these programs, students learn more advanced design information and concepts, such as electronic publishing or computer illustration. Obtaining a bachelor's degree may help professionals achieve a more advanced position, such as graphic designer, which typically requires a bachelor's degree. Master's degree programs in graphic design are available for individuals who want to teach or conduct research in graphic arts. The Master of Fine Arts is considered the terminal degree for graphic arts.

Students who earn an associate of graphic arts will be prepared to do entry-level type work in the graphic design field. Students may be required to submit a portfolio of their work as part of a graduation project.

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