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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Digital Graphic Arts or Design

Majors Overview March 29, 2014

Receive information about an associate’s degree program in Digital Graphic Arts or Design and its education requirements, coursework, career choices, and continuing education choices.

Associate of Arts (A.A.) Programs in Digital Graphic Arts or Design

Schools offer associate’s degrees in Digital Graphic Arts as Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degrees in Graphic Design, Digital Arts, or Design and Digital Media. These associate’s degree programs are devised to give students an introduction to rudimentary design skills such as software design, video production, commercial printing, electronic page design, and digital editing. Students can also expect to learn to design multimedia graphics, create digital interfaces, alter and change digital photographs, produce visual advertisements and create logos.

Analytical flexibility and technological training may also be imparted to students thereby making them adept at operating an array of digital design technologies, such as CorelDraw software, Structured Query Language (SQL) and FileMaker Pro, in addition to Adobe Systems products such as Dreamweaver, PageMaker or Illustrator.

They may also become adept at using several important web development tools, such as Adobe ColdFusion, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), hypertext markup language (HTML), and JavaScript. Many non-technical advantages can also be gained by program graduates, including the ability to competently conduct oral and written communication with fellow workers, a strong knowledge of the rudiments of design theory and history, and the skills to market their ideas effectively.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. Completion of high school courses in computer literacy and the liberal arts will benefit prospective students.


Coursework in the Digital Graphic Arts program is a combination of traditional classroom lectures, hands-on studio instruction and activities related to portfolio building. Although the digital arts are emphasized by these programs, they enable students to work with different artistic media, styles and genres. Coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Computer graphics
•Color theory
•Graphic design history
•3-D design
•Web design

Career Choices

Those who successfully complete these programs often work in various professional settings, such as production companies, ad agencies, graphic design companies, and photography studios. Graduates may choose from possible occupations such as:

•Multimedia artist
•Digital photographer
•Graphic design assistant
•Digital illustrator
•Web designer

Continuing Education Choices

Although associate’s degree holders may be able to pursue entry-level technical occupations in graphic arts, those seeking more creative occupations may need to earn bachelor’s degrees in Graphic Design or a related field (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Students are allowed by some schools to transfer credits earned in the associate program for admission to a two-year school. Bachelor’s degree graduates may choose to pursue continued education by earning a master’s degree in the same field or a related one.

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Quick Fact
In 2018, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma.*
*Bureau of Labor Statistics

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