How to Get an Online Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design

Not all creatives have to be “starving artists.” In fact, graphic designers can make very good money working on a freelance basis. Who doesn’t like the idea of being able to work from the comfort of their own home while making bank? And more importantly, doing what they love? Yes, you heard that right. If you have always wanted to be an artist but never loved the idea of struggling, then pursuing an associate’s degree in graphic design will be a smart choice.

In the field of graphic design, your career options are endless. If you are a creative, artistically-minded person, then there are many directions you could go with a graphic design associate’s degree. Unlike many fields, graphic design is one where you don’t have to feel like you’re stuck in one given industry. You could choose to work in health care, entertainment, publishing, finance, education, and more.

While graphic design is an out-of-the-box career to most, it is actually a pretty lucrative career. Why? With strong marketing and advertising being such important factors to successful sales, catchy graphics are very much needed. With that said, companies are constantly on a lookout for talented graphic designers who are capable of understanding different visions and executing them as needed.

This degree typically takes two years of full-time study to complete. However, if you choose to earn your credential online, you may be able to complete it earlier. Depending on how many classes you can take per quarter/semester, you may be able to finish a lot quicker.

If you are a busy individual looking to go to school while still attending to your personal obligations, pursuing an associate’s degree in graphic design online could be a great option. Distance learning can work really well for those who are motivated and independent learners. It is important to make sure that the college you choose is accredited so that the credits you earn can be easily transferred to a four-year college should you decide to continue your education. By virtually attending classes online, you will have access to all course materials and participate in class discussions just like you would normally in a traditional classroom setting. The main difference is that you would be able to log into the classroom portal from anywhere and anytime to complete required coursework and exams. Students can easily communicate with other students and their professors via chat platforms and email.

Common Associate’s in Graphic Design Curriculum

Graphic design comes in pretty hand-in-hand with marketing and advertising. Essentially, it’s the artistic component of it. So, with that said, you might take some marketing and business classes, along with the fundamentals in the field. At the associate’s level, you can expect to take courses like:

  • Color theory
  • Design fundamentals
  • Computer aided drawing
  • Advertising
  • Web page design
  • Typography
  • Marketing
  • Advertising techniques

In addition to graphic design-related courses, students will also have general education requirements and electives to complete, which will vary from college to college. These classes will help you develop a well-rounded foundation of knowledge that will be useful in understanding real-life situations and succeeding in whatever career you choose to be in. For example, you might take introductory classes in writing, math, science, history, language, and more. Many of these general education course requirements can be waived if you took AP classes and passed their respective exams in high school. If this sounds like it might be you, we recommend checking with your college counselor to see which classes you might not have to retake.

Associate’s in Graphic Design Careers

Because graphic design is an artsy career, you will need to build a portfolio to demonstrate your skills and credibility, in addition to getting your associate’s degree. To gain such experience, you can either choose to intern for a company looking for a graphic design intern, or find an entry-level graphic design job. The great thing is that while you are earning your associate’s, you will be working on projects and creating samples to put in your portfolio. So, by the time you graduate, you can definitely find an entry-level job in the field and go from there.

With a graphic design degree, you can do many different things career-wise. For example, if you are a hands-on person, you could work as a graphic designer creating ads, logos, or other marketing material. Advertising agencies and design firms hire graphic designers on the regular to assist in building up a brand or ad campaign for their clients. For example, the famous Apple icon for Apple, Inc. was created by a graphic designer! Pretty cool, right?

If you are deeply in touch with your artistic side, you most likely won’t find your job as a graphic designer boring. You will be working on a variety of different projects, and possibly for a variety of clients if you choose to be a freelancer. Not one to settle for going to work everyday to do the same mundane things? Graphic design will keep you plenty entertained!

The salary for graphic designers will vary depending on a number of factors. For example, entry-level designers might start at around $25,000, but as you gain more experience, your income may go up much higher. If you choose to continue your education and pursue a bachelor’s degree you could do very well for yourself. Income levels also vary with location and who you work for.

Don’t want to struggle to make ends meet, but still want to have an artistic career? Graphic design might be just the route for you. Find out whether it is by testing out the waters in the associate’s degree program, where you will get a good overview of the different topics that graphic design entails.