Choosing a Graphic Design Degree
What should you look for in a degree program?
Graphic design school will give you the opportunity to sharpen your skills and build your talent. You'll learn both technique and technology that you'll use throughout your career. Art school can also provide a safe environment to give and receive critiques that will improve your work and your ability to think critically about your own designs.
A graphic design degree can also go a long way toward helping you establish credibility in this highly competitive industry. The formal training you will receive in a graphic design degree program will assure both future clients and employers that you have what it takes to produce professional quality designs.
Your Degree Options
Bachelor's Degrees in Graphic Design: There's no doubt that a bachelor's degree in graphic design will look good on your résumé. In addition to graphic design training, you'll need to complete general studies requirements as part of a bachelor's-level graphic design degree program. The extra time you spend in school can pay off in the long run. A well-rounded liberal arts background can make you a more attractive job candidate in any career field. It can also provide material for your design work.
Associate's Degrees in Graphic Design: Associate's programs in graphic design generally have fewer, if any, general studies requirements. This means that your education will focus more on your area of interest. Generally two years in length, an associate's degree in graphic design can prepare you for entry-level positions at graphic design firms. It will also prepare you to continue your education in a bachelor's program.
Graphic Design Certificates and Diplomas: Like associate's programs, certificate and diploma programs in graphic design are shorter than bachelor's programs and focus more intensely on graphic design. Certificate and diploma programs vary in length from one semester to two years. These vocational training programs can give you the right tools to start your career; however, you'll need a strong graphic design portfolio to compete with job candidates with more education.
Online Graphic Design Degrees
You don't have to rearrange your life to get an education anymore. Online graphic design programs offer the convenience of learning at home on your own schedule. While some online programs do require class participation at scheduled times, others allow you to learn completely on your own time.
If you're not sure how to balance school with the rest of your life, an online graphic design degree may be an attractive option for you.
Graphic Design School Accreditation
The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) is the primary accrediting body for graphic design schools. Their stamp of approval ensures that your education meets the necessary standards of quality.
While accreditation is a benefit, it may not be essential when choosing a graphic design school. Unlike other design fields, there are no licensing requirements for graphic designers—so choosing a non-accredited school won't prevent you from starting your career. However, if you want to pursue a master's degree in graphic design, getting your bachelor's degree at an accredited school will ensure that your undergraduate credits transfer between schools.
Graphic Design Resources
- Job Description
- Choosing a Degree
- Prepare for Graphic Design School
- Courses You'll Take
- Get an Online Degree
- On-the-Job Training
- Tips for Your Portfolio