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Pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design

Majors Overview April 10, 2014

The skills needed to turn a message into an interactive image or eye-catching poster will be provided by an associate’s degree program in Graphic Design. For-profit schools usually offer Associate of Science (A.S.) degree programs in Graphic Design; these programs are also intended for those planning to continue education with a 4-year program.

Associate of Science (A.S.) Degree Programs in Graphic Design

Students enrolled in an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Graphic Design program are taught the technical rudiments of design, as well as the importance of visual information. They will become adept in the techniques and proficiencies related to design production, digital imaging, web design, and computer graphics. They also develop skills in visual design, image manipulation software, color design and typography. A background in art and technology and hands-on training are provided by this program, in order to enrich a student’s skill set and to prepare him or her to seek entry-level occupations or continued education.

Schools don’t commonly offer AS programs in Graphic Design that are mainly offered at for-profit schools; programs resulting in an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) or Associate of Arts (A.A.) credential are more common.

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


Coursework within an AS program covers communication skills, production processes, creative design and interactive art systems. Students enrolled in many AS programs may involve themselves in creating and designing a portfolio of work aimed at showcasing their knowledge and skills to potential recruiters. Coursework may typically include topic areas such as:

•Image manipulation
•Motion graphics
•Digital photography
•Web design
•Computer graphic illustration
•Package design

Career Choices

Graphic designers may seek entry-level careers in various commercial industries, as well as other art and design fields. A job growth rate of 7% has been projected for the field of graphic design during the decade between 2008 and 2018 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). Although an associate degree would suffice to obtain graphic design assistant or junior designer positions, a bachelor’s degree is typically needed for employment in graphic design positions. Graduates of an associate’s degree program may choose from entry-level job titles such as:

•Web page designer
•Production assistant

Continuing Education Choices

Those who successfully complete an associate’s degree program may pursue continued education by earning a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. Coursework in bachelor’s degree programs is devised to impart advanced design analysis and technical proficiency. Regardless of whether they enroll into 4-year degree programs, students may still need to master new design software or technological advancements in their careers.

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