Graphic design is the color of any company and graphic designers are the painters. Graphic designers can bring a company’s vision to life through websites, advertisements and much more. So, what does it take to become a graphic designer? There are many avenues to this goal and one growing in popularity is pursuing an online graphic design degree.
Many universities offer both online undergraduate and graduate programs, and students can usually finish their degrees within 16 months to four years depending on the program.
If earning an online graphic design degree appeals to you, read on to learn why online learning is a good option, what program requirements you need to meet, which schools offer the top programs and what your job outlook will look like upon graduation.
Benefits of Online Learning
Attend Classes From Anywhere
One of the major draws of online learning is that students can attend classes anywhere, anytime, allowing them to schedule their education around other responsibilities. This freedom to attend classes remotely also means students can save money by not having to relocate.
Travel Time Eliminated
Another significant benefit of online learning is that there is no travel time. Many students who enrol in online courses are also juggling part-time or full-time jobs, so the ability to study from anywhere they can access Wi-Fi is a major benefit. Time management is very important when pursuing a degree while also working; not having to spend hours in a car commuting to campus is a major advantage.
Learning styles can vary from person to person. Traditional in-person education does not allow students to learn at their own pace. That is where online learning comes in. Online learning allows students to absorb the information they are being taught at their own pace. Furthermore, since they can go at their own pace, many students can graduate sooner than their in-person counterparts.
Fast-Track Your Degree
One of the best perks of online colleges is that students may be able to complete their education much more quickly than at a traditional university. Students can sometimes finish their degree in as short as 16 months compared to four years since they can learn at their own pace. More time spent learning means quicker entry into the tech world, which in turn means earning a salary quicker.
Reduced Education Costs
Online education can be much cheaper than an in-person program. Students save on housing costs, relocation costs and commuting costs. Additionally, since students are working virtually, not as many textbooks are required each semester. Furthermore, since classes revolve around the schedules of students and not teachers, students can work part-time or full-time jobs. This gives them the opportunity to earn money while going to school.
Online Graphic Design Degree Requirements
Online graphic design degree programs have admission requirements. Below are a few of the basic conditions you’ll need to meet in order to gain admission:
High School Diploma
Students who choose to pursue an online graphic design degree will need to prove that they graduated high school with official transcripts. In some cases, a GED will also work.
Students who transfer from another university will need to provide official transcripts to receive credit for their previous educational experience.
Many online programs will require an application fee. However, these fees tend to be less than $100.
Best Online Graphic Design Degree Schools
Savannah College of Art and Design
The Savannah College of Art and Design is one of the best colleges offering an online graphic design degree. The college has campuses located in Savannah and Atlanta, as well as internationally and online. Founded in 1978, the college has over 40 undergraduate and graduate degrees, including two online graphic design degrees.
The BA or BFA programs include courses such as typography, web design and graphic design media management. The BA program focuses on art history, while the BFA encompasses visual arts and studio experience. Furthermore, students can combine their program into an accelerated master’s degree program in either a BFA-MA or BFA-MFA.
It’s important to also note that online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of their residency. The Savannah College of Arts and Design is an accredited university.
Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University is another ideal university to receive a degree in graphic design. Founded in 1932, SNHU accepts more than 90,000 online students each year.
The university offers more than 200 degrees, including a graphic design degree. Some skills covered in the graphic design program include brand identity, digital media, professional practice and design thinking. Students can choose to focus on web design or 3D modeling and animation. Basic design and color theory, typography and desktop publishing classes are also covered in the program. Furthermore, students will build a professional portfolio and master Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.
All online students are charged the same tuition no matter where they are based. Students who are or were in the military can qualify for a tuition discount. SNHU is an accredited university with a 54 percent graduation rate.
California Baptist University
You can earn an online Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Digital Media at California Baptist University. The university, founded in 1950, employs a thoroughly Christian faculty and staff. The university offers students 41 online degrees. Color theory and typography, design history, lighting and photography are subjects that will be covered in the degree.
During the program, students will get the opportunity to build a professional portfolio by working on projects with software that includes Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. It takes students an average of 16 months to graduate. California Baptist University is an accredited university and all online students are charged the same tuition regardless of where they reside.
Liberty University, located in Virginia, offers online students over 400 undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs. The online graphic design bachelor’s degree is offered through the School of Visual and Performing Arts.
The graphic design program includes general and focused courses, including an introduction to graphic design, history of art and digital imaging. An internship will be required of all students to gain hands-on experience in the field. Each of the online courses generally takes eight weeks to complete and students are usually able to graduate within four years.
Liberty University also offers all online students free digital textbooks. Liberty University is accredited and has a 50 percent graduation rate.
Independence University is a non-traditional university that solely offers online education. They have both undergraduate and graduate degrees in healthcare, business, technology and graphic arts. An incomparable perk of attending Independence University is that all undergraduate students receive a laptop and tablet during their first and fourth modules.
Students who study full time can complete their full-time 137-credit-hour program in just over three years. The online graphic design program features animation scripting, marketing strategies and digital photography courses.
Furthermore, students will get hands-on experience using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign to build their professional portfolio. Online tutoring, learning equipment and materials, and an orientation course are also perks that online students can benefit from at Independence University. Independence University is an accredited university and some students may be eligible for financial aid.
Online Graphic Design Degree Job Prospects
A degree in graphic design can open many doors in the tech industry. Below are some examples of tech jobs you can apply for using your online graphic design degree.
While no formal education is required to be a web developer, those who already have the technical background it takes to be a web developer may want to also pursue an education in graphic design. A degree in computer science, graphic arts, web design or business can take your career to the next level.
Web designers build websites but there is much more to the job than that. Web developers ensure that the company and the users are happy with the content, graphics and underlying structure.
Some web development positions may include front-end or back-end developers, UX designers, UI developers and software developers. As of this year, web developers currently make an average of $68,524 per year.
Obviously, a graphic design degree can lead to a career as a graphic designer. Tech industry companies consistently hire graphic designers to assist with graphic illustrations and campaign materials. Graphic designers are experts in typography, composition, imagery, branding, logos and packaging design.
Those who wish to become a graphic designer will need to pursue a degree in either graphic design or another art-based degree. A background in IT, as well as the ability to draw, are also beneficial.
Graphic designers can earn from $43,000 to $121,000 per year depending on seniority.
A graphic design degree can be used to earn a position as a creative director. A creative director creates a company’s vision and maintains that vision through products and branding.
Creative directors usually oversee an innovative team that works to support their vision.
To become a creative director, applicants must have a degree in either art, fine arts, graphic design, marketing or another design-related field. A bachelor’s degree may suffice for this career. However, a master’s degree is preferred by many employers as competition is stiff for this top job.
Furthermore, professionals must have years of experience after earning a degree in order to become a creative director. You can begin your career as a graphic designer, artist, photographer or marketing assistant before becoming a creative director. A strong portfolio is also recommended for this career trajectory. The average salary of a creative director ranges from $76,726 to $198,000.
An online graphic design degree allows you to study at your own pace and juggle multiple responsibilities in your life. Once complete, it will open numerous job opportunities to you within the tech industry. If you’re looking to broaden your job prospects within the tech sector and have a creative mind, pursuing an online graphic design degree is most definitely a step in the right direction on your career path.