Students can find several Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science programs in Web or graphic design. Many distance-learning programs in Web design are offered fully online, but there are a few mixed programs that require students to attend some classes or labs on campus.
Students take courses on digital imaging, animation, information design and multimedia technologies. Most programs also require individuals to build a portfolio of work. Computer graphics programs and a digital camera may be required.
Other relevant majors with web design courses include drafting and design technology, computer technology and interactive media. Graduates may apply for jobs as Web designers at IT companies, advertising agencies or through freelancing.
Associate's Degree in Web Design
An associate's degree related to Web design provides individuals with a basic understanding of graphic design, as well as website construction. Students learn to create websites that are aesthetically pleasing and user friendly. In addition to graphic design courses, students take basic courses in hypertext markup language (HTML) and graphics software, such as Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. Students also learn to create and manipulate artwork in the form of digital images.
Information and Technical Requirements
An associate's degree program in Web design usually takes two years to complete, but part-time programs may take longer. Most programs require students to create an online portfolio of completed work.
Students typically need access to a computer with an Internet connection in order to participate in online learning services, such as Blackboard. In addition, students need access to computer graphics programs; in most cases, the school provides temporary access to a shared copy, but some programs may require students to buy their own software packages. Some courses may require the use of a digital camera.
The core courses in a Web design program are in the area of computers, art and graphic design. Beyond that, students are expected to take some general education courses like English and social sciences. They are also given a choice of several electives.
Production and Layout
Students are provided with an overview of the methods used in designing and producing images for both print and the Web. Subjects such as page layout, formats, typography, photos, illustrations and color theory are explored.
Students are taught to use digital cameras to capture images and photo editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop, to edit and manipulate the images. By experimenting with various software techniques, such as layering, erasing, blurring and rubber stamping, students learn to create different visual effects. This course also examines technical subjects, such as file compression and screen resolution.
This course covers the basics of Web page construction using HTML. Students then learn to design an entire website, including graphics, plug-ins, applets and interactive forms. Lastly, students learn to upload and download these files to a server using a file transfer protocol (FTP) program.
Web design is a relatively competitive field. Most companies require Web design applicants to possess a bachelor's degree with a concentration in Web design. However, an associate's degree with a strong portfolio, which attests to a student's talent and knowledge of design elements, may persuade an employer to forego the requirement of a 4-year degree. Students with an associate's degree in Web design may find jobs as Web designers, interactive media producers or Web project coordinators. They may work for IT companies, website developers or advertising agencies, or, if they prefer, they may set up their own freelance Web design company.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for Web developers is expected to grow by 8% between 2019 and 2029. Also per the BLS, the annual median salary in 2020 for a Web developer was $77,200. This figure may vary depending on the candidate's education level and previous experience.
Graduates with an associate's degree in Web design may want to continue their education by pursuing a bachelor's degree in Web design. Such courses are readily available both online and on traditional college campuses.
Fully online associate's degree programs in Web design are available, though hybrid programs are also offered that include in-person labs. Students will have the chance to build a portfolio, and they may ultimately work in information technology (IT) or advertising.