Online Associate's Degree in Visual Communications: Program Overview

Dec 04, 2019

Essential Information

Few online associate's degree programs in visual communications exist. Similar majors may include graphic design or drafting and design technology. Students enrolled in visual communications programs become acquainted with the capabilities of professional graphic design software. They also develop skills in typography, photo manipulation, layout and composition. The coursework in a visual communication associate's degree program may be offered fully or partially online. Hybrid programs combine remote academic coursework with on-campus laboratory work. Class projects enable students to create samples for a portfolio. Applicants to an associate's degree program need a high school diploma or GED.

Associate's degrees in visual communications are typically earned in two years. Individuals can take classes in digital design, print production, illustration and design applications. Students have access to course readings, lectures and other materials through a school's website. Virtual classroom and tutoring interactions with instructors are also conducted in online forums and by e-mail.

Associate's Degree in Visual Communication

Schools may use real-time instructional software, such as Adobe Connect, to prepare students for professional work. A relatively new personal computer, graphic software and Internet access are required for participation in an online program. The following are common classes taken while pursuing a degree in visual communications.


Upon graduating from a visual communications program, students gain entry-level positions assisting graphic or web designers, or they may pursue a design-related bachelor's degree for greater opportunities. In some visual communications associate's degree programs, only the general education courses, which may include writing and mathematics, are available online.

Color Fundamentals

This course explains the physics of color, color relationships and uses of color in electronic and traditional media. Students learn to manipulate color attributes such as hue, saturation and brightness.

Design Fundamentals

Students receive an introduction to the basic principles and elements of visual design. Coursework emphasizes the use of shape, color, line, rhythm and texture to evoke mental and emotional responses.

Drawing Technique

This class focuses on exercises that develop a student's ability to draw through the rendering of basic shapes and forms. Composition, perspective and tone are also considered.

Digital Design

This course emphasizes the use of personal computers to create and produce visual designs in electronic and traditional media. Students explore the capabilities of professional design software programs, such as Photoshop and Dreamweaver.

Career Information

Graduates of an online associate's degree program in visual communications are qualified for positions as assistants to graphic designers or web designers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for graphic designers will grow 3% from 2018-2028. The median yearly pay for graphic designers in 2018 was $50,370 (

Continuing Education

Associate's degree holders will have better employment prospects if they transfer into a bachelor's level program and earn a degree in visual communication or graphic design. These programs are also available online.

Although they are fairly uncommon, online associate's degree programs in visual communications are available for students wishing to develop their skills in drawing, digital design and more. An associate's degree qualifies graduates to work as assistants to graphic or web designers; many graduates may choose to pursue a bachelor's degree to advance their career.

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