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Overview of Visual Communications Associate of Applied Science Degree Program

Majors Overview April 2, 2014

Many specializations, including illustration, 3-D animation, graphic design, and photography, are offered by associate’s degree programs in Visual Communications. Those who graduate from this program are prepared for work in various fields, such as desktop publishing, Web design, and photography.

A.A.S. Programs in Visual Communications

Students enrolled in Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs in Visual Communications are imparted rudimentary illustration and design skills, in addition to theoretical education in several areas including space, mass, and perspective. Students can expect to become adept at using an array of essential software programs, such as Photoshop, InDesign and Adobe Illustrator. They are taught about operating necessary equipment, such as printers, scanners and digital cameras.

Schools don’t usually offer Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.) programs in Visual Communications; however, technical schools and community colleges offer Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) programs. In these degree programs, students are offered concentrations in several areas including digital photography, Web design, illustration, graphic design and multimedia.

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


Coursework in a Visual Communications program involves examination of imagery, typography, painting and drawing. Apart from classroom lectures, students may complete a portfolio of works. Students who wish to enter the workforce immediately, upon completion of the program, may benefit from participation in internships. Coursework may typically include topic areas such as:

•2-D design
•Design information
•Digital media
•Mass communication

Career Choices

Those who successfully complete a Visual Communications program can expect to develop the technical and creative skills they would need for a several entry-level careers in multimedia communications, Web design, desktop publishing, and advertising. They may choose from various career titles such as:

•Graphic artist
•Assistant graphic designer
•Multimedia artist
•Desktop publisher

Continuing Education Choices

Graduates of an associate’s degree program may seek continued education by earning a bachelor’s degree in a Visual Communications-related field, such as desktop publishing, advertising or graphic design. Students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs are provided with advanced skills in printing techniques, graphic production and design principles. Students aspiring to become graphic designers would need a bachelor’s degree (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

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