Graphic designers create images for commercial use in products ranging from brochures to billboards. Associate degree programs in graphic design include instruction on industry-specific software and incorporate hands-on desktop practice to prepare students for entry-level careers in the publishing and advertising industries. Many programs require students to complete graphic design internships for course credit or allow students to design projects that can be incorporated into professional portfolios.
Prospective students should submit completed applications and transcripts from high school, GED programs and any previously attended postsecondary institutions. Some programs require students to complete prerequisites, such as basic design, computer and writing classes, prior to beginning the core curriculum.
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 Degree in Graphic Design
In an associate degree program, students learn about the fundamentals of color theory, 2D and 3D designs and how to combine text and images to create graphics that are visually appealing and easily understandable. Typical coursework includes:
- Desktop publishing
- Image manipulation
- Web design
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS, www.bls.gov), employment opportunities for graphic designers overall should increase 1% between 2014 and 2024. Those with animation, print and web design expertise will have a competitive advantage over graphic designers who specialize in only one type of media. The BLS reported in May 2015 that graphic designers made a median annual wage of $46,900.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of associate degree programs in graphic design who wish to increase their marketability for jobs can pursue bachelor's degrees in graphic design or a related field. Graphic designers can take advantage of continuing education courses at local colleges in order to keep their skills up-to-date or learn new design software. Professional organizations, such as the American Institute of Graphic Arts, offer professional development and continuing education resources.
Students in an associate degree program in graphic design learn how to integrate basic design principles with the latest publishing and advertising technology. Many programs offer internship opportunities and require students to create design portfolios that can be useful when applying for prospective jobs.