Graphic Design

What is a Degree in Graphic Design?

Obtaining a degree in graphic design prepares students for an exciting career that blends their creative talents with the knowledge gained through their education. There are many different areas where students can apply their skills within the job market.  Some of the fields that are available to work in include:

  • Advertising
  • Production companies
  • Web design
  • Public relations
  • Animation
  • Fashion

Graphic design degree graduates play an important role in various arts, fashion, and design companies as well as other industries. Their positions require a combination of commitment to their work, the ability to create innovative designs, and an understanding of aesthetics.

Students who are interested in earning a degree in graphic design will find themselves immersed in a variety of subjects and classes throughout the curriculum. A fundamental understanding and grounding in the arts is required for success in the field, and students will learn skills such as painting, drawing, and blueprint design. The use of graphics design software such as Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia Flash, and computer aided design programs will also be expounded upon, as well as the manipulation of various web development languages like HTML and CSS. Students will also learn the concepts behind marketing and communications to understand what messages their designs can convey to an audience.

The graphic design degree is available through many different educational institutions. It can be obtained via a traditional college experience, where students attend classes together and have ample time to interact with professors and amongst themselves. The degree can also be earned by attending an online college, which presents significant benefits for those who desire scheduling flexibility. Online colleges tend to structure their classes more loosely than traditional schools, and this allows students to work or take care of other commitments in a timely manner.

A graphic design degree is available at several different levels of higher education. The degree can be earned through a certificate, Associate's, or Bachelor's degree program. The certificate program is the shortest and least comprehensive, requiring approximately one year to complete. An Associate's degree in graphic design takes two years to finish while a Bachelor's degree takes four years or two years on top of the Associate's degree.

Career Opportunities for Graphic Design

Completing a degree program in graphic design can lead to several careers including:

  • Advertising, marketing, and public relations managers
  • Graphic designers
  • illustrators
  • Web designers
  • Photographers

The direct route of employment from a degree in graphic design is to become a graphic designer. Most graphic design jobs require a Bachelor's degree in the field for consideration. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), "employment of graphic designers is expected to grow 13 percent, as fast as the average for all occupations from 2008 to 2018." The median annual wages for graphic designers were $42,400 in May 2008. Advancement opportunities are available as top employees can become design directors and earn an average of $95,000 a year. Many designers work as freelancers and reported median earnings of $57,000, according to the BLS.

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