Fully online associate's degree programs for graphic designers are available. Students may need to purchase or have access to cutting-edge design software and peripheral equipment, like a scanner. Many programs culminate in the creation of a portfolio. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), graphic designers typically need a minimum of a bachelor's degree.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Advertising and Commercial Design
- Commercial Photography
- Fashion Design
- General Visual Communications Design
- Graphic Design
- Illustration and Drawing
- Industrial Design
- Interior Design and Decorating
Associate's Degree in Graphic Design
Students enrolled in an online associate's degree program in graphic design, such as the Associate of Science in Graphic Design, can learn visual design theories and develop the skills needed to work with design software. In addition to technical design skills, students can also learn about print, audio-visual and online media.
Students can develop a portfolio of their graphic design work throughout the program. Online certificate programs are also available in graphic design and related areas, such as digital design.
Program Information and Requirements
Associate's degree programs usually take about two years to complete; however, some schools may offer online programs that can be completed in less time. Students can take all their courses online and interact with their instructors, as well as classmates, through online discussions in a virtual classroom message board. Some classes may require real-time interaction using chat software.
Technical requirements vary by school, but online graphic design students may need additional supplies, such as an approved graphics card. High-speed Internet and devices used for interaction, including Web cameras and microphones, may also be required. Some programs require that students have access to a scanner and digital camera for certain design courses.
List of Common Graphic Design Courses
Coursework in the associate's degree program in graphic design is designed to help students develop skills in areas like graphic editing, page layout and Web design. In addition to completing general education coursework, they can learn theories and concepts related to color, texture, lines and style.
This core course teaches students the basics of design, color theory, layout techniques and other components involved in design planning. Course activities allow students to apply their knowledge in solving design problems.
The focus of this course is on the multiple aspects of working with images in a digital imaging software program. Students learn how to use color, special effects and other retouching tools to enhance digital images.
The coursework centers on the elements graphic designers must consider when planning and executing a print design project. Students gain experience using design software to create print designs for advertising, marketing and other purposes
Career Information for Graduates
Graduates may choose to pursue entry-level positions or freelance careers in graphic design. The BLS predicted that employment for graphic designers would see a 1% increase between 2014 and 2024, which is little to no change (www.bls.gov). Graphic designers with skills in animation and Web design are expected to have more job opportunities. The BLS also reported that graphic designers earned a median salary of $46,900 as of May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Many employers look for graphic design candidates with a bachelor's degree. Students can find online programs in this area, such as the Bachelor of Fine Art in Graphic Design and Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design. In these programs, students can gain additional training in areas like visual design and typography.
In online associate's degree programs in graphic design, students are trained to express ideas in a variety of multimedia formats so that they can apply for entry level jobs, start working as freelancers or enroll in bachelor's degree programs in the subject. Online students will need to purchase or have access to peripheral equipment, design software or computer equipment in order to complete assignments and develop a portfolio.