Graphic design technology combines visual communication skills with advances in technology to create print and web materials like newspapers, annual reports, brochures and stationary. Graphic design is a hands-on field, and employers often prefer to hire candidates who have a professional portfolio of work and proven skills. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employers seeking graphic designers also prefer to hire those who have completed either a bachelor's degree or a technical training program.
Certificate programs in graphic design technology are hands-on programs that typically take 2-3 semesters to complete. Students can learn about computer programs, graphic design fundamentals and how to prepare documents for production, all while creating a portfolio of work. Applicants are required to have completed high school. Students can also gain similar skills in related programs such as multimedia arts, animation, game design, and graphic arts.
Certificate in Graphic Design Technology
As preparation for careers working with in-house design departments, photography studios, advertising agencies and screen-printing shops, programs may offer coursework in:
- Digital photography
- Electronic publishing
- Fundamentals of drawing
- Image manipulation
- Professional practices
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has not, as of 2016, recorded statistics for graphic design technicians, they have included relevant professions in their reports (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, graphic designers were projected to see a 1% increase in jobs from 2014-2024. For the same time period, the BLS reports showed that multimedia artists and related workers were anticipated to see a 6% increase in employment.
Continuing Education Information
Programs in graphic design technology are also found at the Associate of Applied Science and Bachelor of Science levels. Programs may be offered through schools of business or art. At these levels, additional coursework can focus on business management, interpersonal relations and printing technology.
At the graduate level, Master of Arts programs are available in topics like graphic design, communications management and technology. For those interested in supervising the workings of a print shop, printing management concentrations are found through Master of Science programs in technology. Due to the cross-disciplinary nature of graphic design, relevant programs - like the Master of Education degree in instructional design - are also available. Doctoral programs in design are available to students interested in careers in academia and research.
Through practical and classroom exercises, students in certificate programs in graphic design technology learn how to create a number of print and web materials. Graduates may go on to pursue associate's, bachelor's or master's degrees in the field.