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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Graphic Design and Multimedia

Majors Overview March 29, 2014

Students will be taught the basic design and technical skills needed to communicate ideas visually for electronic and printed media, if they choose to take an associate’s degree program in Graphic Design and Multimedia. Upon completion, students may find an entry-level job in advertising or electronic and printed media. Graduates may also move onto a 4-year program that some schools can offer.

A.A. Programs in Graphic Design and Multimedia

Students enrolled in associate degree programs in Graphic Design and Multimedia are provided with the skills they would need for designing and creating layouts for various digital and print products, including websites, trade publications, print advertisements, magazines, annual reports, and book jackets. Recruiters for some entry-level careers – such as assistant to a webmaster or graphic designer – may accept candidates who hold an associate’s degree in Graphic Design and Multimedia.

It typically takes about two years to complete associate degree programs; some schools offer online options for either the whole or part of the coursework. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma; students would benefit by acquiring computer skills.


Students can expect to become adept at communicating visual messages through various modes by employing various graphical elements, including animation, illustration, font, type and color. Printing techniques, web design, and photography are also taught through some programs. Coursework may commonly include topic areas such as:

•2-D and 3-D illustration
•Graphic design
•Motion graphics
•Multimedia production
•Video development
•Digital imaging

Career Choices

Graduates of an associate degree program could aspire to become graphic designers, although they may need advanced education to perform efficiently in the role. Holders of 2-year degrees can choose from various career options such as:

•Layout technician
•Website designer
•Production technician
•Graphic designer assistant
•Graphic artist

Continuing Education Choices

Graduates of associate degree programs in Graphic Design and Multimedia may be allowed to use credits earned towards admission to a bachelor’s degree program. Advanced graphics tools and software are generally provided by these programs. Candidates for most entry-level graphic design careers need to earn at least a bachelor’s degree (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)).

Students who graduate from a bachelor’s degree program can pursue continued education by earning a master’s degree in Graphic Design or a related discipline, which usually leads to a terminal degree that would suffice to pursue a career in the field or in teaching at college, high school or elementary levels.

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