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Degree Overview: Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree in Graphic Design

Majors Overview March 31, 2014

Receive information about the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs in Graphic Design and its education requirements, coursework, career choices, and continuing education choices.

A.A.S. Programs in Graphic Design

Students enrolled in the AAS degree program in Graphic Design are taught about the use of rudimentary design principles in communicating a message via text and visual images. Prospective designers who seek careers in online or print media should enroll into Graphic Design degree programs. Students learn both the artistic and technical skills employed by graphic designers. In many programs, students also benefit by gaining hands-on experience and building portfolios, even as they simultaneously learn about the use of state-of-the-art software programs in the design field.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. Students seeking admission to certain programs may also be required to submit original artwork to demonstrate evidence of artistic talent.


Coursework within an associate’s degree program in Graphic Design generally includes classes that impart knowledge about basic design principles. Coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Drawing and composition
•Digital imaging
•Art history
•Web design
•Print design
•Digital layout
•Graphic design

Career Choices

Associate’s degree holders can seek administrative or technical positions that involve providing assistance to designers or other categories of graphic artists. Once they complete these degree programs, students may seek career options such as:

•Interactive media specialist
•Desktop publisher
•Graphics marketing coordinator
•Graphic design assistant
•Pre-press technician

Continuing Education Choices

While students enrolled in an associate’s degree program are provided the technical background they would need to assist graphic designers, most recruiters prefer candidates who hold bachelor’s degrees in the field (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). Aspiring graphic designers or post-secondary teachers of graphic design can enhance their job opportunities by earning Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees in Graphic Design; this arms students with the technical and artistic foundation needed for entry-level design careers. After they complete a bachelor’s degree program in Graphic Design, students can further hone their portfolios and skills by earning a graduate degree in Graphic Design.

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