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Graphic Design Associate Degrees: Best Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Beth Waweru - September 13, 2022


Graphic design associate degree programs equip students with design fundamentals and practices to help them launch their careers. Whether you want to start as a junior designer or freelance designer, the best colleges for Associate Degrees in Graphic Design will help you achieve your career goals.

Find out what the best Associate Degrees in Graphic Design are, the graphic design associate degree requirements you need to obtain your degree, and alternatives to the traditional graphic design associate degree programs to start your career path in visual communications.

What Is Graphic Design?

Graphic design refers to the planning and creating of visual content to convey a message or idea. You can employ design to market a product, develop a brand identity, or communicate with your target audience.

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Where Can I Get an Associate Degree in Graphic Design?

The best colleges where you can get an Associate Degree in Graphic Design are accredited institutions with reputable programs in the US. The colleges where you can get an Associate Degree in Graphic Design include Gateway Technical College and Rock Valley College. Below are five other schools where you can get an Associate Degree in Graphic Design.

What Schools Offer the Best Graphic Design Associate Degrees?

  • Henry Ford College
  • Kingsborough Community College
  • Lone Star College
  • Pratt Community College
  • Sullivan County Community College

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Associate Degree in Graphic Design?

Graphic design associate degree requirements include a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) diploma. Some colleges will have higher GPA requirements while others will have lower ones. Depending on the college or university you prefer, you should evaluate its specific admission details.

Graphic Design Associate Degree Admission Requirements

  • High school diploma or GED
  • A 2.0 GPA
  • Transcripts
  • Admission fee
  • SAT or ACT scores

How to Get an Associate Degree in Graphic Design

You can get a graphic design associate degree by fulfilling the degree requirements for graduation. To get an Associate Degree in Graphic Design, there are a certain amount of credit hours you must complete, mandatory classes, and a minimum GPA.

How Many Credits Do You Need for an Associate Degree in Graphic Design?

You need around 60 credits for an Associate in Graphic Design Degree. Credits for an Associate in Graphic Design encompass general education courses, electives, and technical credits. However, the number of credits needed for an Associate Degree in Graphic Design depends on the school. Below are other degree requirements for a graphic design associate degree.

Graphic Design Degree Requirements

  • 60 credits
  • A portfolio of projects
  • A minimum GPA of 2.0
  • Computer technology proficiency

Best Graphic Design Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Delaware County Community College Associate in Fine Arts, Graphic Design Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Gateway Technical College Associate Degree in Graphic Communications Higher Learning Commission
Glendale Community College Associate of Arts in Graphic Design Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
Henry Ford College Associate of Arts in Graphic Design Higher Learning Commission
Kingsborough Community College Graphic Design and Illustration, A.S. Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Lone Star College Visual Communication AAS Degree: Graphic Design Track Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Associate Degree in Design and Graphic Technology Higher Learning Commission
Pratt Community College Associate of Arts in Graphic Design Higher Learning Commission
Rock Valley College AAS in Graphic Arts Technology Higher Learning Commission
Sullivan County Community College Associate Degree in Design and Graphic Technology Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Best Schools for Graphic Design: Top Graphic Design Associate Degree Programs

The best schools for graphic design associate degrees provide you with quality education and adequate preparation for the job market. Below are the 10 best graphic design associate degree programs to help you choose the one that best fits your needs.

1

Delaware County Community College

Media, PA

Delaware County Community College is a public college founded in 1967. It strives to provide the best education at an affordable price whilst supporting its community. There are approximately 11,000 students enrolled at the school.

Associate in Fine Arts, Graphic Design

This associate degree program teaches students to develop design projects. Students also learn professional skills such as how to produce visual design communication solutions. This program gives graphic design students an opportunity to transition into a four-year degree or get freelance or entry-level graphic design jobs.

Associate in Fine Arts, Graphic Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition (and Fees): $260/credit (in state); $390/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 64 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In-person
  • Grad Rate: 21%

Associate in Fine Arts, Graphic Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.0
  • Standardized Tests: SAT and ACT
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Delaware County Community College

  1. Fill out and submit your online application
  2. Submit SAT or ACT scores
  3. Complete orientation
  4. Contact academic advising to schedule classes
  5. Prepare for class
2

Gateway Technical College

Kenosha, WI

Gateway Technical College is a public institution founded in 1911. It has over 70 programs, including 21 online programs, to prepare students for the job market, with over 21,000 students annually. For an interpersonal education experience, GTC is the place to go with an 8:1 student:faculty ratio.

Associate Degree in Graphic Communications

Gateway Technical College offers this two-year associate degree that’s suitable for tech-savvy students. Once you complete this visual communications program, you can major in areas like digital publishing or digital photography. Students in this college benefit from experienced instructors in web design, advertising, printing, branding, photography, and multimedia.

Associate Degree in Graphic Communications Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition (and Fees): $188.90/credit (in state); $283.35/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 61 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person or online
  • Grad Rate: 32%

Associate Degree in Graphic Communications Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.6
  • Standardized Tests: ACT or Accuplacer
  • Application Fee: 30
  • Minimum Education: High school, GED, or previous college education
  • Other Requirements: Transcripts or other test scores

Applying to Gateway Technical College

  1. Fill out and submit your online application
  2. Attend application workshop for help if needed
  3. Submit your transcripts
  4. Submit test scores or other transcripts
  5. Check if your program has additional requirements
3

Glendale Community College

Glendale, CA

Glendale Community College was founded in 1927. In the 2020-2021 academic year, it had 18,089 students enrolled, 10,004 of them full-time. For those considering a graphic design associate program at GCC, you’ll be happy to know there are plenty of financial aid options, with the Cal Grant Total for 2019-2020 being over 3 million.

Associate of Arts in Graphic Design

Glendale Community College’s associate degree prepares students for bachelor's or master's degree programs in the field of graphic design. Through this program, you’ll learn the basics of design thinking and design fundamentals required to bring your ideas to life.

Associate of Arts in Graphic Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
  • Tuition (and Fees): $46/unit (in state); $271/unit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits (30 prerequisites, 30 required)
  • Program Length: 1 to 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • Grad Rate: 31%

Associate of Arts in Graphic Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.6
  • Standardized Tests: None
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: English, math, and ESL placement tests if needed

Applying to Glendale Community College

  1. FIll out and submit your application
  2. Submit vaccination records
  3. Complete placement requirements and attend orientation
  4. Complete your student education plan with a counselor
  5. Register for your classes
4

Henry Ford College

Dearborn, MI

Henry Ford College was established in 1938 and is a public community college serving 13,000 students. It has two campuses in Dearborn with ample technology resources like an Office 365 subscription and online learning options for students.

Associate of Arts in Graphic Design

This school’s hybrid program equips students with a solid foundation in graphic design. It provides education courses on front end web design, motion graphics, and print. In addition, the elective courses help students learn animation, illustration, and digital imaging.

Associate of Arts in Graphic Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition (and fees): $188/credit (in state); $273/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 61 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: Hybrid
  • Grad Rate: 10%

Associate of Arts in Graphic Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.7
  • Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT
  • Application Fee: $50 registration fee per semester
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Henry Ford College

  1. Fill out and submit your online application
  2. Apply for financial aid and scholarships
  3. Complete course placement
  4. Attend orientation
  5. Register for classes
5

Kingsborough Community College

New York City, NY

Kingsborough Community College is a Brooklyn-based, public institution founded in 1963. KCC is a leading college in the US, as claimed by Aspen Institute College Excellence. Its current population sits at around 14,000 students.

Graphic Design and Illustration, A.S.

Kingsborough Community College offers an associate degree that equips students to create effective visual communications. The learning process is customized to assist students in creating an impressive portfolio that will help them to secure professional opportunities after completing the program.

Graphic Design and Illustration, A.S. Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition (and fees): $210/credit (in state); $320/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In-person
  • Grad Rate: 35%

Graphic Design and Illustration, A.S. Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: CUNY and Accupplacer
  • Application Fee: $65
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GPA
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Kingsborough Community College

  1. Fill out the online application
  2. Pay the application fee
  3. Find out the admissions documents needed and submit them
  4. Submit the application and contact the school through Zoom
  5. Complete the admissions process with the school
6

Lone Star College

Houston, TX

The Woodlands’ Lone Star College was founded in 1972 with seven locations within the Lone Star College System. It strives to provide a student-first experience that provides the utmost support for its community.

Visual Communication AAS Degree: Graphic Design Track

Lone Star College offers a two-year program covering visual communication, digital photography, and graphic design level 2 certificate courses. The program also emphasizes innovative designs and conceptual foundations on communication to help students create websites, logos, and packaging. You need a total of 72 credit hours to complete this degree.

Visual Communication AAS Degree: Graphic Design Track Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition (and fees): $202/credit (in state); $257/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 72 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • Grad Rate: 12%

Visual Communication AAS Degree: Graphic Design Track Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: Texas Success Initiative (TSIA2), Accuplacer
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Lone Star College

  1. Complete pre-assessment and placement testing
  2. Submit bacterial meningitis vaccination records
  3. Submit transcripts
  4. Attend orientation
  5. Complete the campus health, safety, and risk management awareness modules
7

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

Green Bay, WI

This technical college was founded in 1912 and strives to train the next generation of laborers. Each year, NWTC provides its services to more than 27,000 students. With more than 200 programs, 2,649 grads in the 2019-2020 academic year, and three campuses, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is an excellent choice.

Associate Degree in Design and Graphic Technology

The Associate Degree in Design and Graphic Technology program prepares students for a broad variety of career options, including public relations specialist, pre-press technician, web designer, and digital print technician. While studying, students create and maintain a professional portfolio showcasing their best projects.

Associate Degree in Design and Graphic Technology Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition (and fees): $10,860/program
  • Required Credits: 65 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • Grad Rate: 43%

Associate Degree in Design and Graphic Technology Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.0
  • Standardized Tests: ACT or Accuplacer
  • Application Fee: $30
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: TABE Level A and Compass or Asset

Applying to Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

  1. Fill out and submit your application
  2. Select your program
  3. Apply for financial aid
  4. Submit transcripts
  5. Await enrollment
8

Pratt Community College

Pratt, KS

This community college was established in 1935 and has a unique requirement for graduates as they must meet four core competencies. These competencies include reading and comprehension, grammar and English proficiency, mathematics skills, and problem-solving by utilizing collected data.

Associate of Arts in Graphic Design

Pratt Community College’s program builds a solid foundation for students who plan to transfer to a four-year design, studio art, or art program. This associate degree offers core courses, ranging from package creation to game design. The school has a small class size, allowing you to get more attention from Pratt’s experienced instructors.

Associate of Arts in Graphic Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition (and fees): $66/credit (in state); $79/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: Approximately 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • Grad Rate: 41%

Associate of Arts in Graphic Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: ACT or Accuplacer
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: 18 years or older

Applying to Pratt Community College

  1. Fill out and submit your online application
  2. Talk to an admissions representative
  3. Apply for FAFSA
  4. Enroll
  5. Tour campus
9

Rock Valley College

Rockford, IL

Rock Valley public community college was founded in 1964. It offers over 100 two-year programs and boasts 4,677 students enrolled per semester. Moreover, 42 percent of students receive financial assistance.

AAS in Graphic Arts Technology

Rock Valley College's graphic arts technology program provides a well-rounded education, covering both the creative and technical aspects of graphic design. This helps students be adequately equipped with the necessary graphic design skills for career opportunities in areas like customer service, press operations, and electronic imaging.

AAS in Graphic Arts Technology Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition (and fees): $332/credit (in state); $662/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 67 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • Grad Rate: 36%

AAS in Graphic Arts Technology Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: ACT and SAT
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Rock Valley College

  1. Fill out and submit your application
  2. Visit campus
  3. Apply for financial aid
  4. Submit documents
  5. Await enrollment
10

Sullivan County Community College

Loch Sheldrake, NY

If you want to attend school on 405 acres of land, Sullivan County Community College is the place for you. SCCC was founded in 1962 with a nationally accredited business program, but all their programs are excellent at preparing students for work or continuing education.

Associate Degree in Design and Graphic Technology

This associate graphic design program requires 62 or 64 credit hours. The program includes lab facilities with graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or Adobe InDesign. To earn this degree, you must complete the required credit hours and demonstrate knowledge in design, computer graphics, and typography principles.

Associate Degree in Design and Graphic Technology Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition (and fees): $6,258/year (in state); $11,466/year (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 62 to 64 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • Grad Rate: 28%

Associate Degree in Design and Graphic Technology Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.0
  • Standardized Tests: ACT and SAT
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Sullivan County Community College

  1. FIll out and submit your application
  2. Submit your transcripts
  3. Complete placement tests
  4. Submit proof of immunization
  5. Wait for admittance

Best Online Graphic Design Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Academy of Art University Associate of Arts in Graphic Design Senior College and University Commission
Columbus State Community College AAS in Digital Design and Graphics Higher Learning Commission
Community College of Vermont Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design New England Commission of Higher Education
Foothill College Associate in Arts in Graphic & Interactive Design Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
Mohave Community College Online Associate in Graphics and Web Design Higher Learning Commission
Penn Foster College AS in Graphic Design Distance Education Accrediting Commission
Remington College Digital Graphic Art Associate Degree Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
Sessions College for Professional Design Associate of Occupational Studies in Graphic Design Distance Education Accrediting Commission
Surry Community College Associate Degree in Digital Media Technology – Graphic Design Southern Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Colleges
Wake Tech Community College Associate in Applied Science Degree in Advertising and Graphic Design Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Best Colleges for Graphic Design: Top Online Graphic Design Associate Degree Programs

If you work full-time but still want to pursue an Associate Degree in Graphic Design, online options are available to fit in your busy calendar. Below are the best online colleges to earn an online graphic design degree that can flexibly meet your schedule and location requirements.

1

Academy of Art University

San Francisco, CA

This private, for-profit university was established in 1929. AAU has offered online programs for more than 20 years. It promises its students the same high-quality education as offered in its in-person degree programs.

Associate of Arts in Graphic Design

Academy of Art University offers one of the top Associate Degrees in Graphic Design. The 66-credit online program ensures students understand the basics of design thinking, typography, branding, and packaging. After program completion, you can advance to a bachelor’s degree.

Associate of Arts in Graphic Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Senior College and University Commission
  • Tuition (and fees): $1,041/unit (domestic); $1,091/unit (international)
  • Required Credits: 66 units
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 21 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Grad Rate: 47%

Associate of Arts in Graphic Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: None
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Academy of Art University

  1. Contact the school to be assigned an admissions representative
  2. Discuss your goals
  3. Fill out and submit your application
  4. Apply for financial aid
  5. Register for classes
2

Columbus State Community College

Columbus, OH

Columbus State was founded in 1963 and is a community college serving over 45,000 students in both full-time and part-time programs. Since 2018, women are in the majority, and, in 2020, they accounted for 56 percent of the student population.

Associate of Applied Science in Digital Design and Graphics

This 65-credit program focuses primarily on digital design across areas like audio and video production, photography, and web design. Students prepare impressive portfolios inspired by innovative visual design concepts and present them to their prospective employers.

Associate of Applied Science in Digital Design and Graphics Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $167.93/credit (in state); $343.47/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 65 credits
  • Program Length: 5 semesters at 13 credits for semester one, 16 credits for semester two, and 12 credits for semesters three, four, and five
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Grad Rate: 31%

Associate of Applied Science in Digital Design and Graphics Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.5
  • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Columbus State Community College

  1. Create your account
  2. Fill out and submit your application
  3. Apply for financial aid
  4. Submit test scores and documents
  5. Register for class and pay your fees
3

Community College of Vermont

Montpelier, VT

Community College of Vermont was established in 1970 with 12 campuses across Vermont. The institution has a unique program for students currently in grades eight to 11. They can get a free associate degree right after high school through the McClure Free Degree Promise via the Community College of Vermont’s Early College Program.

Associate's Degree in Graphic Design

Community College of Vermont offers a 60-credit associate degree that equips students to use digital technologies in design. Student graphic artists also learn how to apply design thinking and problem-solving skills to create solutions for clients. It also prepares students to enter the job market seamlessly or take advanced study through other degree programs.

Associate's Degree in Graphic Design Overview

  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition (and fees): $280/credit (in state); $560/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 27 credits
  • Program Length: 3 semesters at 9 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Grad Rate: 24%

Associate's Degree in Graphic Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: SAT, ACT, and Accuplacer
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Community College of Vermont

  1. Fill out and submit your online application
  2. Apply for FAFSA
  3. Register for your classes
  4. Figure out your payment options
  5. Start your program
4

Foothill College

Los Altos Hills, CA

This public community college was established in January of 1957 and has over 180 programs. The average class size is 27 students per class, meaning there are more opportunities, with over 16,000 students at the main campuses.

Associate in Arts in Graphic & Interactive Design

This college offers a 60-credit-hour associate degree with 58 major hours. Its curriculum covers web design, game design, UI/UX design , and illustration. Through this program, learners acquire basic and advanced skills and learn about the practical application of design processes and principles.

Associate in Arts in Graphic & Interactive Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
  • Tuition (and fees): $31/unit (in state); $221/unit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 8 quarters at approximately 15 credits per quarter
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Grad Rate: 59%

Associate in Arts in Graphic & Interactive Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: SAT and ACT
  • Application Fee: $75
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: 18 years or older

Applying to Foothill College

  1. Schedule a campus tour
  2. Complete the SOAR workshop
  3. Apply for FAFSA
  4. Fill out and submit your application
  5. Await enrollment
5

Mohave Community College

Kingman, AZ

This accredited community college was established in 1970. It is part of the Arizona College System and enrolls approximately 6,000 students each year. Students may be eligible for Pell Grants and direct loans, among other financial aid options.

Online Associate in Graphics and Web Design

Located in Arizona, Mohave Community College’s associate degree is a 65-credit-hour program focusing on web design and computer graphics. It provides a comprehensive foundation of graphic design technology.

Online Associate in Graphics and Web Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition (and fees): $81/credit (in state); $283/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Grad Rate: 18%

Online Associate in Graphics and Web Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.0
  • Standardized Tests: SAT and ACT
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Mohave Community College

  1. Fill out and submit an online application
  2. Complete required citizenship and residency forms
  3. Submit transcripts
  4. Apply for financial aid
  5. Await enrollment
6

Penn Foster College

Scranton, PA

Penn Foster is a college and private for-profit high school hybrid founded in 1890. It offers associate degrees and certifications to students and helps young, motivated individuals enter the workforce as soon as possible.

AS in Graphic Design

Penn Foster College has an Associate Program in Graphic Design that covers photo image editing, HTML coding, multimedia development, and art appreciation. You’ll also get to create animations using Adobe Creative Cloud. Upon completion, you can apply for entry-level jobs as an illustrator, multimedia designer, production artist, graphic designer, or web designer.

AS in Graphic Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Distance Education Accrediting Commission
  • Tuition (and fees): $98/credit
  • Required Credits: 65 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Grad Rate: N/A

AS in Graphic Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.0
  • Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: 17 years old or older

Applying to Penn Foster College

  1. Complete high school and present your transcripts
  2. Enroll either online, by phone, or via mail
  3. Apply for financial aid
  4. Submit any test scores or documents
  5. Await confirmation of enrollment
7

Remington College

Knoxville, TN

Remington College was established in 1987 with 16 campuses in the United States. At this non-profit trade school, students have access to accredited education in accelerated, online, hybrid, and in-person formats.

Digital Graphic Art Associate Degree

Remington College offers a 92-credit-hour online associate degree on digital graphic art, which can be completed in 18 months. Here, you’ll learn about graphic design theories and design fundamentals. For example, you’ll learn about color theory and will be able to apply your knowledge in industries such as advertising and publishing.

Digital Graphic Art Associate Degree Overview

  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
  • Tuition (and fees): $27,807 (in state)
  • Required Credits: Approximately 60 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Grad Rate: 61%

Digital Graphic Art Associate Degree Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.15
  • Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Remington College

  1. Schedule an appointment with admissions
  2. Choose your program
  3. Complete the readiness test
  4. Submit the application and transcripts
  5. Apply for financial aid
8

Sessions College for Professional Design

Tempe, AZ

Established in 1997, Sessions College is a private online school that is for-profit. It offers both associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees, as well as certificates. There is an open admission policy, with potential students needing a high school diploma or GED to apply.

Associate of Occupational Studies in Graphic Design

Sessions College for Professional Design has an intensive online associate degree that equips students with a solid foundation in print design. This program’s curriculum covers contemporary design practices and how to implement them.

Associate of Occupational Studies in Graphic Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Distance Education Accrediting Commission
  • Tuition: $510/credit
  • Required Credits: 72 credits
  • Program Length: 6 semesters at 12 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Grad Rate: 50%

Associate of Occupational Studies in Graphic Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: None
  • Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT
  • Application Fee: $75
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: Portfolio

Applying to Sessions College for Professional Design

  1. Submit your completed online application
  2. Submit transcripts
  3. Apply for financial aid
  4. Submit portfolio
  5. Await enrollment
9

Surry Community College

Dobson, NC

Surry Community College is an accredited public institution located in Dobson. This community college, founded in 1964, offers over 30 areas of study, and students can pursue associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates. The school also boats online degrees.

Associate Degree in Digital Media Technology – Graphic Design

This school’s online Associate Degree in Digital Media is a 71-credit program that you can complete in two years. In this program, students learn technical skills like interface design, multimedia formats, and application programming. They also learn soft skills like problem-solving and critical thinking.

Associate Degree in Digital Media Technology – Graphic Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $76/credit (in state); $268/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 66 credits with 37 from the Digital Media Diploma
  • Program Length: 2 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Grad Rate: 35%

Associate Degree in Digital Media Technology – Graphic Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.0
  • Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Surry Community College

  1. Complete your application
  2. Submit official transcripts
  3. Complete the placement testing process
  4. Apply for financial aid
  5. Await enrollment
10

Wake Tech Community College

Raleigh, NC

WTC is a public community college founded in 1958 and is the largest community college in North Carolina. It serves 70,000 members of the community per year and has more than 250 programs to choose from.

Associate in Applied Science Degree in Advertising and Graphic Design

Based in North Carolina, Wake Tech Community College offers a flexible program with 8-week and 12-week core courses. Depending on your needs, you can leverage the online or hybrid option. Here, you’ll mainly create promotional materials and use industry-standard software to create web designs.

Associate in Applied Science Degree in Advertising and Graphic Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition: $76/credit (in state); $268/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 71 credits
  • Program Length: 5 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Grad Rate: 28%

Associate in Applied Science Degree in Advertising and Graphic Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.0
  • Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT
  • Application Fee: $40
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: None

Applying to Wake Tech Community College

  1. Complete your residency determination
  2. Submit your application
  3. Submit your transcripts
  4. Apply for financial aid
  5. Meet with an academic advisor and attend orientation

What Is a Graphic Design Associate Degree?

A graphic design associate degree is a program that meets the minimum education demands of entry-level design jobs, such as drafters and print designers. This program also equips graphic design students with the fundamentals to gain advanced education in this field. While most associate degree programs take two years, online graphic design associate degrees may take less time to complete, at around 18 months.

How Important Is an Associate Degree in Graphic Design?

It is very important to have an Associate Degree in Graphic Design because it teaches you the necessary skills to enter the graphic design profession. Another reason why a graphic design associate degree is important is that it helps you continue your education by pursuing a bachelor’s degree or obtaining certification for your obtained skills.

What Types of Associate Degree Can You Get in Graphic Design?

You can get an Associate of Arts, Associate of Fine Arts, Associate of Science, and Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design. The types of Associate Degrees in Graphic Design you can get either prepare you for the workforce or prepare you to continue your education. They either have a liberal arts or scientific approach to learning.

Is It Better to Get an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science in Graphic Design?

It is better to get an Associate of Science in Graphic Design if you prefer the technical aspect of graphic design. In an Associate of Science in Graphic Design, students learn more software-based techniques. In an Associate of Arts in Graphic Design, students learn more communicative and liberal arts-based techniques and education.

What Is the Difference Between a Graphic Design Associate Degree and a Graphic Design Certificate?

The main difference between a graphic design associate degree and a certificate in graphic design is that an associate teaches the job-ready skills necessary to pursue a career immediately after graduation or pursue further education. A graphic design certificate certifies your skill in a specific subject.

If you are wondering whether to get an associate degree or certificate in the field of graphic design, you should first pursue an associate degree. This will teach you the principles of design, programming languages, and how to use the tools to succeed in this field.

How Much Does It Cost to Get an Associate Degree in Graphic Design?

Graphic design associate degrees cost around $3,621 . Costs may differ depending on your school and the type of program you’ll study, such as on-campus courses or online courses. Utilize the tuition calculator on the school website if available or contact admissions.

Graphic Design Associate Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Graphic Design Degree

You can pay for your graphic design degree through financing options like loans or financial awards. Scholarships are financial awards that don’t need to be paid back. This alleviates the financial worries of pursuing a program. On the other hand, student loans need to be repaid, usually six months after you graduate, so there’s pressure to get a job immediately.

Check with your school if you’re unsure of what financial aid is available to pursue an Associate in Graphic Design and if there is an opportunity for full financial aid. Likewise, consider your options for repayment. If you’re unsure of how to pay for an Associate in Graphic Design, you should bring that up with admissions.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Graphic Design Associate Degree?

It takes two years to get an Associate Degree in Graphic Design. How long it takes to get an Associate Degree in Graphic Design depends on the credit load per semester and how many semesters your school offers. To reduce the Associate in Graphic Design length of time until completion, review the transfer credit policy or consider an accelerated program if it’s offered.

How Hard Is It to Get an Associate Degree in Graphic Design?

An Associate Degree in Graphic Design is easy to get if you are capable of adapting to computer-based creation of graphics, are a creative thinker, and are a quick learner when it comes to new techniques and technology. A graphic design associate degree can be difficult for those with less technology experience, especially when it comes to digital art.

Why Should You Get a Graphic Design Associate Degree?

The benefits of getting an Associate Degree in Graphic Design are the education provided in the time allotted, the services provided to help you get a job, and the degree you enter the job market with. The benefits of an Associate Degree in Graphic Design outweigh any cons.

Some students decide to get a second Associate Degree in Graphic Design, which is also beneficial. A second Associate Degree in Graphic Design, specifically in a different subject area, provides you with a wider range of knowledge. Having a second Associate in Graphic Design also looks better on a resume, showcasing your competency in the subject.

What Courses Do You Need to Take in an Associate Degree Program in Graphic Design?

The required courses for a graphic design associate degree are courses on design principles, programming languages, and the technical and soft skills necessary to succeed.

You can expect to learn collaboration and communication to make teamwork run smoother and programming languages like Java and HTML through Associate in Graphic Design courses. The section below details what your Associate in Graphic Design course list should include.

Page Layout

The page layout course teaches students how to formulate a publication page using computer technology. Students will use typography and images to create an appealing document layout. Students will also use Apple Macintosh computers with industry-standard software for publications.

Computer Illustration

Students use computers to create illustrations and designs in this course. They will gain experience with object-oriented programs for drawing while focusing on creating appealing designs.

Mathematics

Like most tech programs, students must take a mathematics course. Some schools allow students to choose their math courses, which usually include calculus, algebra, or statistics. Depending on the course you take the curriculum will differ, but you can expect to learn college-level mathematical functions.

Color and Design

Since graphic design requires an acute sense of color theory and design principles, this course is a no-brainer. Students learn how to use colors to their advantage when creating a design and how different colors have different meanings.

Digital Imaging

In this course students learn how to manipulate images for multimedia, web, and print applications. From file format to prepress production to aesthetics, students learn the entire digital imaging process.

Continuing Education Paths for Graphic Design Associate Degree Graduates

The best path to take with a graphic design associate degree is to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Design or Graphic Design . The path after an Associate Degree in Graphic Design leads either toward an entry-level career or further education. Furthering your education will provide you with higher-paying job opportunities.

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What to Look For in the Best Graphic Design Associate Degree Programs

The best graphic design associate degree programs have accreditation, superior course content, and high graduation rates. What to look for in a college for an Associate Degree in Graphic Design includes the school’s reputation and services offered. It is important to research your chosen school so you know what you can expect from a graphic design associate degree.

Accreditation

Accreditation is a long process in which a school is awarded accreditation from an accrediting organization. This certifies that the school provides high-quality education and any degrees, diplomas, or certificates given to graduates are recognized by employers and other institutions. Ensure your school is accredited to avoid issues in the future.

Flexibility and Format

In-person degrees don’t offer flexible schedules which can be troublesome for people with jobs or other responsibilities. Check to see if the school you’re interested in offers flexible timetables or online or hybrid formats. Online programs allow students to work from wherever they are when they are able to do so, while hybrid programs allow for in-person and online attendance.

Curricular Content

Ensure the curriculum for the program you choose covers all your bases. Researching program or professor reviews or speaking with admissions representatives can give you insight into what the courses offer and how they compare to other schools.

Graduation Rate

The graduation rate shows what percentage of students actually graduate from an institution. If a graduation rate is low, that means fewer people graduate and that it might be more difficult. Search for schools with a higher graduation rate for ease of program completion.

Barriers to Admission

Barriers to admission may include not meeting the minimum requirements or being unable to afford tuition and fees. If you find yourself stuck in this position, reach out to an admissions representative. They may be able to help you through the process, waive certain requirements, and help you find financial aid to afford the program.

What Is the Most Affordable Graphic Design Associate Degree?

The most affordable Associate Degree in Graphic Design can be obtained from Glendale Community College. The most affordable Associate Degree in Graphic Design tuition sits at merely $1,171 per year, with only $46 per credit for in-state students and $271 per credit for out-of-state students.

Salary and Job Outlook for Graphic Design Associate Degree Graduates

A graphic designer creates a marketing project on a laptop. Graphic Design Associate Degrees
You can use your Associate Degree in Graphic Design to secure entry-level job opportunities.

Graphic design associate degree jobs are great for getting your foot in the door to entry-level positions. If you want a well-paying graphic design associate degree salary postgraduation, the sections below discuss the best Associate Degree in Graphic Design salary opportunities you should consider.

How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Graphic Design Associate Degree?

It can be difficult to get a job with a graphic design associate degree. Although an associate degree prepares you for a job right out of school, many employers prefer applicants with a bachelor’s degree.

How hard it is to get a job with an Associate in Graphic Design also depends on what you apply for. Certain jobs have a lower job outlook. The lower the job outlook, the fewer jobs are available. It is best to select a job with a high job outlook to increase your chances of getting hired.

What’s the Average Graphic Design Associate Degree Salary?

The average salary for someone with an Associate Degree in Graphic Design is $50,710 per year . However, the average salary for Associate Degree in Graphic Design graduates depends on factors like location, position, and relevant experience.

What Types of Jobs Can You Get With a Graphic Design Associate Degree?

The jobs you can get with a graphic design associate degree are design, artist, and effects jobs. The best jobs to get with a graphic design associate degree are not just in the traditional tech industry, but also within media and product design. Below is a list of the highest-paying graphic design jobs for associate degree holders.

Graphic Design Degree Jobs

  • Multimedia Artist
  • Digital Designer
  • Product Designer
  • Drafter
  • Graphic Designer

Potential Careers With a Graphic Design Degree

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How Much Money Can You Make With an Associate Degree in Graphic Design?

You can make between $53,380 to $77,700 with an Associate in Graphic Design. Graphic design has excellent career potential, and an associate degree will land you entry-level positions or help you transition to a bachelor’s degree for further education.

How much money you make with an Associate Degree in Graphic Design depends on where you live, the company you work for, and the job you apply for. The average salary graphic design majors make out of college is lower than that of bachelor’s degree holders, so if you want a higher salary consider furthering your education.

Highest-Paying Graphic Design Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Graphic Design Associate Degree Jobs Average Salary
Multimedia Artist $77,700
Digital Designer $77,200
Product Designer $71,640
Drafter $57,960
Graphic Designer $53,380

Best Jobs for Graphic Design Associate Degree Grads

The best jobs for graphic design associate degree grads are design and artistry positions. The best jobs for an Associate Degree in Graphic Design utilize the skills honed through your associate degree studies. Below is a list of the best-paying graphic design associate jobs.

1

Multimedia Artist

Average Salary: $77,700

Multimedia artists use computer design software to develop multimedia content for television, website, or film media. Some of the content they create include animation, audio, and visual effects.

2

Digital Designer

Average Salary: $77,200

Digital designers work with web developers to ensure the layout and interface of a website are on-brand and visually appealing to visitors. They also consider user experience when designing for the web.

3

Product Designer

Average Salary: $71,640

Product designers oversee a product's creation process. They determine a product's problem areas and create a solution for them. This role also involves enhancing the existing product's design, user experience, and performance.

4

Drafter

Average Salary: $57,960

Drafters usually convert an architect's or engineer's designs using software. A typical day of a drafter involves drawings collection, materials and equipment calculation, and adding details to architectural plans.

5

Graphic Designer

Average Salary: $53,380

Also known as graphic artists, graphic designers communicate ideas through visualizations. They ensure that all design elements are attractive and effective in any communication medium. Their practice involves creating layouts of web or print media.

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Graphic Design Bootcamp vs Graphic Design Associate Degree: Which Is Better?

An Associate Degree in Graphic Design is better compared to a graphic design coding bootcamp because it only takes two years, covers a range of topics related to your major, is affordable with financial aid, and provides students with the foundation for studying in colleges or universities in the graphic design field.

A bootcamp is best suited for students wanting to focus on one specific area. A graphic design bootcamp is a short-term training program that equips learners with the professional skills and knowledge to perform their future roles effectively. If you want to choose between a graphic design associate degree and a coding bootcamp, below are the benefits of a graphic design degree vs a bootcamp.

Benefits of a Graphic Design Associate Degree

  • Affordable. Compared to a bachelor’s degree, graphic design associate degrees are more affordable because of the shorter duration of academic study.
  • Opportunity for advanced education. An Associate in Graphic Design equips students with the solid design foundations they need for advanced study.
  • Short-term. A graphic design associate degree takes a shorter period of time to complete than a four-year bachelor’s degree.
  • Flexible. Associate programs offer options for campus, online, or hybrid education. This helps you plan ahead on how to arrange your schedule if you have other important priorities such as a full-time job or a family to support.
  • Entry-level career opportunities. Some jobs will demand that you obtain a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree before you can secure a graphic design career opportunity. However, with a graphic design associate degree, you can become an entry-level graphic designer .

Benefits of a Graphic Design Bootcamp

  • Fast-paced. Bootcamps take anywhere from three to six months to complete, so they won’t be too time-consuming and won’t prolong your job search.
  • Hands-on training. Bootcamps can equip you with the right practical skills to ensure you perform your role exceptionally.
  • Affordable. Compared to other programs, graphic and visual design bootcamps have fewer course requirements, making them more affordable.
  • Market-led curriculum. Bootcamps focus on subject areas that are important to the job market and critical for learners to help them perform their job.
  • Built-in career services. Graphic design bootcamps have career services that help graphic design students find a job after graduation and develop their career as it progresses.

Is an Associate Degree in Graphic Design Worth It?

Yes, an Associate Degree in Graphic Design is worth it, especially for students wanting to reach the job market as fast as possible. Whether you want to kickstart your career as a digital designer or print designer, an Associate Degree in Graphic Design can help you accomplish this. All you need is to evaluate which college for graphic design is best for you and whether you’ll take on-campus courses, fully online courses, or enroll in a hybrid setup.

Additional Reading About Graphic Design

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Graphic Design Associate Degree FAQ

Is graphic design in high demand?

Yes, graphic design is still in demand with the number of jobs in the field projected to increase 3 percent between 2020 and 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What do entry-level graphic designers earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, entry-level graphic designers earn an average annual salary of $31,720. Median salaries across all entry-level employment within graphic design vary depending on the branch of design you work in, such as package design or digital imaging.

What’s the standard pay for a logo design?

Top-quality logo designs cost between $300 and $1,300. However, some graphic designers may charge more or less depending on factors like experience, visual design tools and resources used, and time constraints.

What’s the difference between a logo and a brand?

A brand refers to the marketing concept of a company or a business, while a logo is the brand’s trademark. As a graphic designer, you’ll encounter these two quite often.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Beth Waweru

About the author: Beth is an experienced content writer who has most recently been creating SEO content for clients in the SaaS, home and living, and digital marketing spaces. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management from Kenyatta University, a Certificate in Digital Marketing from Hubspot Academy, and a Content Marketing Certificate from Hubspot Academy.

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