The top online associates in Graphic Design train individuals for entry-level positions in digital design, marketing, and web development.
In a design associate program, students learn various skills, including essential art and design concepts, web development, photography, and how to build a professional portfolio to secure employment after graduation.
Many graduates pursue a career as freelance artists after earning their degrees. In contrast, others garner an entry-level position in desktop publishing, web design, digital design, game design, animation, advertising, news media, and several other roles. Students can even get experience as junior designers and eventually pursue their bachelor’s degree in design.
How We Ranked the Top Online Associate Degrees in Graphic Design
The editors at Online Schools Guide found schools offering two-year associate degrees in Graphic Design that are online or hybrid. Then, based on reputation, cost, and future salary, we ranked the Online Associates Graphic Design programs.
|1. Foothill College||AA in Graphic and Interactive Design|
|2. Columbus State Community College||AA in Digital Design and Graphics|
|3. Wake Technical Community College||AA in Advertising and Graphic Design|
|4. Milwaukee Area Technical College||Associate in Applied Science in Graphic Design|
|5. Gateway Technical College||AAS in Graphic Communications|
|6. Rasmussen College||AA in Graphic Design|
|7. Academy of Art University||Associate of Arts in Graphic Design|
|8. Surry Community College||Digital Media Technology in Graphic Design|
|9. Big Sandy Community and Technical College||Visual Communication in Design and Technology Program|
|10. Great Basin College||Associate of Arts in Graphic Communications|
1. Foothill College
At Foothill College, students can earn an associate of arts (AA) degree in Graphic and Interactive Design entirely online. Other online options include certificates in graphic and interactive design, graphic design, illustration, web design, and also game design. In addition, a non-transcribable certificate is also available on-campus in garment printing.
At Foothill College, students will have a great understanding of the design process, from sketching to the final comprehension of the design upon completion of the program. Many of the classes in this program are offered online and on-campus, making it an excellent option for students who work full-time or part-time jobs and earn their associate’s degree in graphic design. Graduates work for design companies or can even start their own businesses.
Foothill College opened in 1957 and is in Los Altos Hills, California. The college serves over 16,000 students each year working to earn associate degrees or certificates in various programs.
2. Columbus State Community College
Graduates of the associate degree program in Digital Design and Graphics from Columbus State College are ready for professional employment in this fast-growing field. The degree program teaches the problem-solving skills graduates to need to compete in the marketplace. In addition, students learn to communicate their creative ideas in many types of digital mediums with both clarity and conceptual design.
Graduates can create designs using all of the latest technologies in various focuses, including web design, audio and video production, photography, and design. So with these skills, their options are limitless in this field. Certificate programs are also available in digital painting, digital design, Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and also Illustrator. The Digital Design and Graphics classes are both online and in-person.
Columbus State Community College has campuses in Columbus, Ohio, and the nearby city of Delaware, along with several regional learning centers throughout the surrounding area of Columbus. The college offers various programs, such as health sciences and even construction skilled trades, and serves more than 45,000 full and part-time students each year.
3. Wake Technical Community College
Wake Technical Community College offers one of the best online associate graphic design programs. The Advertising and Graphic Design curriculum takes about 18 months to complete. However, it provides students with the knowledge and skills required to garner employment in graphic design. Graduates will learn about web design, photography, social media, print production, design, advertising, multimedia, and video editing using the tools that are standards in the industry of graphic design.
Wake Technical Community College is in North Carolina. It serves about 70,000 students annually through online and in-person classes and hybrid classes in 200 different associate and certificate programs. The school boasts six campuses, three training centers, and many community sites in Raleigh and Wake County. In addition, the community college is one of the top online learning providers in the country!
4. Milwaukee Area Technical College
The Associate in Applied Science in Graphic Design degree program at the Milwaukee Area Technical College is part of the Creative Arts, Design, and Media Program. Students can enroll to begin the two-year program in August or January every year.
There are online classes for the program. However, students can also take in-person classes on the school’s main campus. Students gain skills and knowledge in graphic design to prepare them to design computer-generated and print-generated media. Developing websites, newspapers, books, magazines, and more prepares them to work for various employers. Graduates find work at design companies, corporations, non-profits, and also advertising agencies.
Milwaukee Area Technical College is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and offers more than 170 associate degrees, diplomas, and certificate programs. The Higher Learning Commission accredits MATC. In addition, students can further their education at various partner universities to earn a four-year degree.
5. Gateway Technical College
|Degree: AAS in Graphic Communications|
An online Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Communications degree is available from Gateway Technical College. The program combines technology with art while teaching students how to use their creativity to create an array of designs. Students receive hands-on training in state-of-the-art computer labs onsite, and they can also complete many classes online. In addition, graduates compile a portfolio they can use to secure employment in various fields. Portfolios showcase students’ skills in freelancing, advertising, news media, and many more.
Gateway has nine campuses and locations throughout Wisconsin. Gateway Technical College started in 1911 and is America’s first publicly funded technical college. The school offers over 70 programs every year to over 20,000 students throughout Kenosha, Walworth, and Racine counties. In addition, the college is accredited so students can further their education to a four-year degree if they choose to.
6. Rasmussen College
|Degree: AA in Graphic Design|
The online associates Graphic Design degree program at Rasmussen University offers students the opportunity to learn the necessary skills required for a career as a designer. Online classes provide plenty of flexibility, especially for students who work full or part-time. Experts created the program in the visual design field with over 200 years of combined experience. In addition, Rasmussen also offers a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design that graduates of the associate program can seamlessly enter. All the credits from the AA apply to the BA.
From nursing and justice degree programs to design and education, Rasmussen University has offered higher education to students for more than a century. The university is based in Florida and has campuses in several other states. The campuses offer online degree programs, in-person classes, and hands-on training for more than 20,000 students every year at each campus.
7. Academy of Art University
Both onsite and online classes are in 15-week formats for students who enroll in the Associate of Arts in Graphic Design program at the Academy of Art University. The program gives students a core understanding of the fundamentals of graphic design.
The program also includes creating a portfolio of their work to present to future employers to prepare students for a successful career. As a result, graduates of the program possess the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete effectively within the global marketplace for art and design. In addition, graduates with an AA can also continue their education at AAU and earn a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in Graphic Design.
The Academy of Art University is a family-owned and operated school started in 1929. The university is nestled in the heart of San Francisco and is one of the most significant private art and design schools in the United States.
8. Surry Community College
The Digital Media Technology in Graphic Design program at Surry Community College prepares students for entry-level jobs and freelance opportunities when they graduate with their associate degree. Graduates are proficient in multimedia and digital design after learning to utilize computer programming, information architecture, client and server technologies, hypertext, and multimedia.
Students will also develop problem-solving, communication, and critical thinking skills within the graphic design field. Graduates can land positions in various focuses, such as animation specialists, media specialists, web developers, and visual artists and designers. In addition, Surry’s online program is convenient for students who work full or part-time.
Surry Community College opened in 1964. The main campus of the two-year school is in Dobson, North Carolina. SCC enrolls over 3,000 degree-seeking students annually in programs on-campus and also online. In addition, the college is part of the NC Community College System, which maintains transfer agreements with state universities. So, graduates can easily continue their education at partner universities to complete a bachelor’s degree in graphic design.
9. Big Sandy Community and Technical College
The Visual Communication in Design and Technology Program at Big Sandy Community and Technical College offers online instruction to students in art animation, audio and video production, web design, and digital design.
Classes in the program include mixed-media design, production design tracks, and general education core courses. In addition, students learn an array of skills through online and in-person classes. Designing logos, creating advertising publications, and learning animation production are some of the topics covered. As a result, Big Sandy graduates are well-prepared for a career in this growing field with these skills.
Big Sandy Community and Technical College offer classes to thousands of students each year. The school has four different campuses throughout Eastern Kentucky, making it convenient and accessible for students. Moreover, many Big Sandy Community and Technical College programs offer online class options for students who work full or part-time jobs.
10. Great Basin College
The Associate of Arts in Graphic Communications program at Great Basin College is online and on-campus. The program prepares students for careers as graphic designers, logo designers, web designers, brand identity developers, ad designers, and even illustrators. In addition, smaller class sizes and one-on-one attention from instructors prepare students for a new career. Graduates find entry-level jobs in areas of production art and graphic design.
Great Basin College is located in rural Nevada and is known for its supportive campus environment for students. The school has been nationally accredited since 1974 by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. In addition, GBCC offers several associate and bachelor’s degree programs through in-person classes and online and hybrid formats.
What Is An Online Associate In Graphic Design?
An online associate degree in graphic design will prepare students to secure jobs in various fields. Students learn about web design, photography, social media, print production, design, advertising, multimedia, and video editing using the tools that are standards in the industry of graphic design.
Students will use their hands to create illustrations, graphic designs, or computer-generated creations to produce various products. Graduates of the program can freelance by offering their services through contracts with companies and businesses or work for a company providing graphic design services for advertising, marketing, web development, print production, news media, and much more.
How Long Does It Take To Get An Associate Degree In Graphic Design?
An associate degree in graphic design typically takes students two years to complete at most colleges and universities. Although most associate degrees take two years to achieve, some colleges and universities offer accelerated programs that allow students to earn their degrees much faster. For example, some institutions offer an 18-month program online or in-person classes. However, all graduates usually need at least 60 credit hours in graphic design courses and core classes to earn an associate degree in graphic design.
Also, many two-year programs have partnerships and a university path to a bachelor’s degree in a graphic design program. As a result, savvy students can set themselves up for even more lucrative positions in the graphic design and graphic arts fields.
Should I Earn an AA or AAS?
Most colleges and universities offer either an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in graphic art or graphic design or an associate of arts degree (AA). An associate of arts degree prepares students to continue their education by earning their bachelor’s degree in graphic arts or graphic design.
In contrast, the applied science degree prepares students to head into the workforce or start their own freelance graphic design business right after graduation from the program.
What Will I Learn In An Online Associates in Graphic Design Program?
All associate degree programs will help students develop their digital arts and design artistic skills and professional skills. The curriculum of this degree program in graphic design will teach them basic concepts, such as typography, computer illustration, and 3-D design.
In addition, most of the programs utilize labs and simulations to assist students in developing a professional portfolio of their work by the time they graduate to assist them in securing employment or even starting their own graphic design freelance business.
Use Your Professional Resources
The upside of earning an online associate degree in Graphic Design or arts is that whether students take classes in-person or online, they can still take full advantage of all of the professional and academic resources offered through their chosen program. In addition, students can also join several different types of local and national graphic arts organizations and participate in student groups that focus on visual art and design.
Many software programs and hardware used in these programs are available to students at a discounted rate. Because of its heavy use of technology, a considerable expense for many in the field is the cost of using creative software. So, take advantage of the student rates and use all the resources that you can. In addition, ask if your student rate can extend after you graduate. Some companies let you have the first year after graduating at a student rate.
How Much Do Graphic and Digital Designers Make With An Associate Degree?
The pay for designers can differ depending on what type of career graduates pursue. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a projection that between 2020 and 2030, there will be a three percent increase in the number of jobs available for graphic designers.
In those positions, designers and artists earn a median yearly wage of around $53,380 in 2020. On the other hand, Web Development and Digital Design jobs will increase thirteen percent from 2020 to 2030 with an average salary of $77,200.
Your Career in Graphic Design
Another thing to consider is that by enrolling in an associate degree program for graphic design, students may develop new areas of interest in their artistic endeavors. The program is excellent for creative students since graphic design programs include an introduction to basic art concepts and basic design concepts and photography web development. By the They and produce a professional portfolio.
By the end of the program, many students end up carving out a career for themselves as freelance graphic artists or designers after they graduate from this type of program. In addition, an online Associates Graphic Design degree is an affordable and flexible option for creative students!