Graphic Design
Schools and Colleges

Search ONLINE Programs

For creative, analytical types looking to develop and express their artistic skills, a degree in graphic design can be the start of a fulfilling career. However, there are several factors that should be weighed, such as the various types of graphic design schools and programs, how to select the best program to fit individual needs and possible career opportunities available upon graduation. This guide will provide the hard facts, along with insights from graphic designers and graphic design instructors, to help you make the best decision.

Graphic Design Schools and Programs

There are a variety of graphic design schools and programs, ranging from programs in vocational schools and art schools to community colleges and four-year schools. These programs may culminate in a certificate, associate degree, bachelor’s degree or master’s. Graphic design programs should equip students with the skills they need to create artwork by hand, use computer software to create text, and design and manipulate images. In addition, students learn the fundamental principles of design.

Upon completion of a graphic arts program, graphic designers might be employed to create a range of materials, which can include tasks like drawing comic book sequences, creating text and images for the movie and TV industries, creating websites, designing logos and creating product packaging. They may also end up designing T-shirts, billboards and just about every other object that contains words, photos or other images. A graphic design degree can lead to such careers as art director, video game developer or special effects artist.

Vocational Schools

Vocational schools usually culminate in a diploma in graphic design. These schools are designed to quickly help students get the training they need to pursue a job. With programs ranging from two semesters to a year, students learn the history of graphic design, the fundamentals of design and theories of color. They also learn how to use Photoshop and other computer programs to manipulate images and create graphics for different formats (such as print, TV and web). The program usually do not offer much in the way of general subjects, like English or math and students usually need a high school diploma to enroll, though this is not always a requirement.

Art Schools

Art schools teach in-depth graphic design concepts, while creating an environment that that fosters innovation and problem solving through the development of critical thinking skills. Students in art schools should learn other aspects of the graphic design business, including effective marketing strategies, entrepreneurial principle and small business ownership, and how to leverage their artistic creations to spur cultural change. Art schools usually offer a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. Students generally need a high school diploma to gain acceptance into art school.

Community Colleges

A community college offers a more extensive graphic design program than students would typically receive at a vocational school; however, the graphic design program is not as intensive as it would be at an art school. A community college usually offers programs leading to a certificate or an associate degree, with programs may ranging from a few semesters to two years. An associate degree at a community college usually requires students to take courses in other subjects, such as English or math. In addition, applicants typically need a high school diploma.

Four-year schools

A graphic design program at a four-year university or college is much more intensive than a program at a vocational school or community college. A 4-year university has a greater emphasis on the academic side of studies, and for the first two years of study, students are required to take several classes in such subjects as math, English and philosophy along with graphic design courses. The last two years are more focused on graphic design and concentrate on designing in 2D and 3D, animation, digital imaging and digital video. Students who have an associate degree from an accredited graphic design program can usually apply those credits toward graduation from a four-year school.

Best Graphic Design Schools and Colleges: 2017

With the constant evolution of technology, there is a growing demand for proficient individuals who can realize a client’s vision through graphic design. Many schools now offer graphic design programs that allow students to learn from experienced instructors who can teach them about the industry-specific standards and strategies. To help students sift through all of the available options, we have found the best graphic design schools and colleges in the country by weighing important factors such as cost of enrollment, class size and resources available for students. See who made the cut for our 2017 list below.

RankSchool Title Net Price Financial Aid Total Programs Student-Teacher ratioRanking Score School Description Additional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1 Trinidad State Junior College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
44%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 99.80
Read more

In as few as two semesters, students attending Trinidad State University can earn a graphic design certificate that can lead to successful careers the fields of web design, software development, and film and video editing. With its low credit load, this program will allow students to work through a college program while still maintaining any other obligations in their lives. Students attending Trinidad State will become a part of a friendly and constructive community complete with several student organizations, student service centers, and campus; this helps to provide all Trinidad State students with all necessary social and academic support, ensuring an enjoyable college experience.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
2 Santa Fe Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
8%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 98.85
Read more

Santa Fe Community College offers a certificate in media arts with an emphasis in graphic and interactive design that would be an excellent choice for any student hoping to begin a career in advertising or web development. This program consists of only 22 credit hours, ensuring students can complete their program and enter the workforce in the shortest amount of time possible. As is the case with many SFCC certificate programs, courses necessary for this certificate can also be completed while working through a corresponding associate’s program, giving students the chance to continue their education after the completion of these 22 credits.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
3 Yavapai College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 98.07
Read more

Students who complete Yavapai College’s graphic design technician certificate will be able to sufficiently operate all software needed to be successful in the graphic design field, giving them the highest opportunity for employment post-graduation. This program also affords the benefit of only requiring 29 credit hours; being able to complete this program in just a few short semesters is helpful for students who are looking for quick career advancement. Yavapai College offers a wide variety of student services that will help both online and traditional students get the most out of their academic experience.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
4 Casper College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
42%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 98.07
Read more

An associate of fine arts in graphic design earned at Casper College will help prepare students for a wide variety of design-based careers after graduation. Students will become familiar with the constantly adapting software that is used by industry professionals to develop strong advertisements and websites that are easy to navigate. Casper College will happily honor any previously earned college credit that may align with their curriculum, helping transfer students to maintain the academic timeframe they’ve developed at their previous institution. Students attending Casper College will be able to manage their wellness at one of the recreation and entertainment centers located on campus.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
5 Lenoir Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
13%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.51
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
6 North Idaho College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
28%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.49
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
7 Santa Rosa Junior College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
21%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.13
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
8 Lassen Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
36%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 97.00
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
9 Hinds Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
22%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.92
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
10 Eastern Arizona College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
26%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.72
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
11 Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell Campus Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
5%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.67
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
12 Rend Lake College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
44%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.46
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
13 Delaware College of Art and Design Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
91%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.38
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesNo Credit for ExperienceNo
14 Northern Oklahoma College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
25%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.37
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
15 Texas State Technical College-Waco Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
38%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 96.09
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
16 Highland Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
30%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.88
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
17 Kirtland Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
18%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.75
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
18 Waukesha County Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.71
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
19 Washtenaw Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
14%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.65
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
20 Genesee Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
14%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.50
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
21 Northeast Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
38%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.33
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
22 Scottsdale Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
23%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.27
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
23 Clark State Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
4%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 95.00
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
24 Kalamazoo Valley Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
13%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.88
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
25 Lansing Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
10%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.83
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
26 Collin College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.83
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
27 Richland Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
31%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.78
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
28 Glen Oaks Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
28%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.75
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
29 Kellogg Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
12%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.71
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
30 New Mexico State University - Dona Ana Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
7%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.41
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
31 Meridian Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
34%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.40
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
32 Mission College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.28
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
33 Western Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
16%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.26
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
34 Glendale Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
25%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.25
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
35 Johnson County Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
18%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.20
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
36 Northwest Mississippi Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
26%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.19
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
37 Illinois Central College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
26%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.18
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
38 Barton County Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
71%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.12
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
39 North Shore Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
14%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 94.02
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
40 Central Piedmont Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.89
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
41 Great Falls College Montana State University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
11%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.86
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
42 Mott Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.78
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
43 Pasadena City College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.52
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
44 John Wood Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
26%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
Ranking SCORE 93.44
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
RankSchool Title Net Price Financial Aid Total Programs Student-Teacher ratioGrad RateRanking Score School Description Additional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1 Lesley University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
46%
Ranking SCORE 98.29
Read more

Students going into the bachelor of fine arts program in graphic design offered at Lesley University will become a functioning member in the field of design, and will be able to exhibit the problem-solving skills, design techniques, and message development methods needed to be a successful graphic designer. This program is also often paired with a second degree in other design fields, including illustration and photography, allowing students to increase their prospects of employment post-graduation. Students can spend their free time by participating in one of Lesley University’s clubs, or possibly contributing to different community service efforts.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
2 Marywood University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
68%
Ranking SCORE 98.20
Read more

Marywood University offers a graphic design program designed to aid students in their pursuits of starting a career in a graphic design field. A degree in graphic design can lead students into a number of successful careers, including advertising, web design, and publishing. Students pursuing a graphic design degree at Marywood will also be able to capitalize on several program-specific benefits, including two 24-hour computer labs equipped with all necessary photo and video editing software. Students will also have the opportunity to earn college credit by participating with a number of local internships, providing students with valuable hands-on practice for their program.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
3 Dakota Wesleyan University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
41%
Ranking SCORE 97.90
Read more

At Dakota Wesleyan University, prospective students interested in studying graphic design are able to major in Digital Media and Design with a Graphic Design emphasis. This program is designed to teach students how to be visual storytellers and covers the technical, cultural, aesthetic and business features of graphic design. All courses are taught by experienced faculty members who help students build the necessary confidence and skillset to be a graphic designer. Upon program completion, students may be able to enter professions in areas such as creative design, visual merchandise design or prepress artistry.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
4 Andrews University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 97.83
Read more

Prospective graphic design professionals may benefit from learning the area-specific skills needed to enter the field through the Design major at Andrews University. As part of the Department of Visual Art Communication & Design, students will be challenged with a comprehensive design curricula that helps them build upon their skillset. This programs covers various facets of art including communication, deign, web development technology and personal creative expression. By attending a faith-based institution, many students go on to work for the church or related non-profit organizations.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
5 Oakland City University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
94%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
57%
Ranking SCORE 97.81
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
6 John Brown University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
68%
Ranking SCORE 97.63
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
7 Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
55%
Ranking SCORE 97.60
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
8 Union College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
49%
Ranking SCORE 97.59
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
9 Ashland University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
60%
Ranking SCORE 97.51
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
10 Art Academy of Cincinnati Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
53%
Ranking SCORE 97.51
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
11 Mount Saint Joseph University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
58%
Ranking SCORE 97.49
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
12 Concordia University-Wisconsin Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
98%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 97.13
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
13 Carson-Newman University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
55%
Ranking SCORE 97.00
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
14 Mississippi College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
62%
Ranking SCORE 96.98
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
15 Oklahoma Baptist University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
52%
Ranking SCORE 96.94
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
16 Mount Mary University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
35%
Ranking SCORE 96.73
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
17 Walsh University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
64%
Ranking SCORE 96.72
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
18 Montserrat College of Art Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
54%
Ranking SCORE 96.63
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
19 Bethany Lutheran College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
51%
Ranking SCORE 96.50
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
20 Daemen College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
48%
Ranking SCORE 96.47
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
21 Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
71%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
30%
Ranking SCORE 96.44
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
22 Concordia University-Nebraska Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
63%
Ranking SCORE 96.34
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
23 Ohio Northern University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
96%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
67%
Ranking SCORE 96.29
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
24 Brigham Young University-Provo Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
44%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
77%
Ranking SCORE 96.26
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
25 William Woods University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
49%
Ranking SCORE 96.23
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
26 Fresno Pacific University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
96%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 96.21
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
27 Ouachita Baptist University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 96.06
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
28 Augsburg College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
60%
Ranking SCORE 96.06
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
29 Oral Roberts University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
51%
Ranking SCORE 96.05
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
30 Baldwin Wallace University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
68%
Ranking SCORE 96.02
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
31 Temple University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
76%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
66%
Ranking SCORE 96.02
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
32 West Virginia Wesleyan College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
58%
Ranking SCORE 95.95
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
33 Lawrence Technological University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
82%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
52%
Ranking SCORE 95.93
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
34 Stephens College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
56%
Ranking SCORE 95.89
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
35 Christian Brothers University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
60%
Ranking SCORE 95.86
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
36 Suffolk University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
77%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
7
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
56%
Ranking SCORE 95.83
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
37 Otterbein University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
99%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
59%
Ranking SCORE 95.78
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
38 Tabor College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
50%
Ranking SCORE 95.75
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
39 Bluffton University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
100%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
56%
Ranking SCORE 95.74
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
40 Samford University Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
97%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
71%
Ranking SCORE 95.67
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
41 Southwestern College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
95%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
51%
Ranking SCORE 95.65
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
42 Villa Maria College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
94%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
33%
Ranking SCORE 95.63
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo

Advice for Graphic Design Students

“Feed your brain with global design solutions. Read periodicals
and case studies. Analyze solutions. Strong design is timeless.”

Chip McElroy, MFA Program Chair, Digital Design and Graphics, Fisher School of Technology, Hodges University

Graphic Design Schools: Must-Have Elements for a Quality Program

When on the hunt for a school at which to pursue their graphic design degree, prospective students must take extra care to ensure that where they eventually enroll has all the earmarks of what it takes to earn a quality education. As students vet each school, they should keep in mind the below program elements:

Accreditation

The school and the program should be accredited by such organizations as the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and the National Office for Arts Accreditation. Accreditation ensures that the program maintains strict academic standards and guidelines. Accreditation is important because it determines availability for financial aid, and whether or not credits earned are transferrable to another program. Employers also look more favorably on graphic design candidates who have graduated from an accredited program.

Credit transfers

Credits will not transfer from schools that are not accredited. However, accreditation does not automatically ensure that the credits will transfer. Schools always have the prerogative to accept or reject credits from another school; in particular, students at community colleges who plan to transfer to a 4-year college should obtain a copy of the transfer agreement between the two schools before signing up for classes.

Comprehensive Curricula

Coursework should help to develop a student’s analytical and critical thinking skills, while providing a comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. Principles of typography, drawing, design and color are just some of the topics that the graphic design program should cover. In a bachelor’s degree program, ideally 25 to 35 percent of the program should be dedicated to graphic design; 20 to 30 percent should be dedicated to supportive courses in art and design; 10 to 15 percent should be devoted to art and design history; and general studies and electives should comprise 25 to 35 percent.

Supporting Coursework

Depending on the student’s area of specialization, the program should offer general courses in support of these specializations. For example, students who focus on design planning, advertising or interactive media should also be able to take such classes as economics, organizational psychology, marketing or systems theory. Additionally, all graphic design students can benefit from the option of taking such classes as business, communication theory, writing and psychology.

Faculty

The faculty who teach classes in graphic design programs should be qualified to serve in this role and must have the relevant credentials necessary to such a position. Teaching and supportive staff may include professors and instructors, professional artists, painters, photographers and even sculptors. The faculty should also be accessible to students who need additional help or may be struggling with their graphic design classes.

Challenging Projects

The program’s instructors should assign a variety of projects that can help to build the student’s skills, such as designing magazines and posters, creating websites, creating storyboards and designing product packaging. Depending on the specialization, graphic design students should be taught and allowed to create special effects, and perform video editing and other hands-on projects.

Internships and career placement

A good graphic design program places students in internships and helps them obtain jobs post-graduation. A reputable program has pre-established relationships with companies in a variety of industries, and these organizations often prefer to employ students from a school when they know that the student has been through a rigorous graphic design education. The program should also help student create portfolios, cover letters and provide job search advice.

Graphic Design: Certificates and Degree Levels

There are five levels of graphic design degrees and certifications offered. The graphic design certificate varies by school, and can either be offered as an entry level program of 204 course hours – taking less than a year to complete – or as an advanced program that is usually 30 credit hours (or three classes), and could take up to three years to complete due to the lighter coarse load. Associate degrees usually take two years to finish and are roughly 90 credit hours. They prepare students to pursue more career options than graduates holding certificates. Bachelor degrees are four-year programs of study and average 173 credit hours. They provide more in-depth knowledge and can give job candidates a competitive edge in the marketplace. The master’s degree program is often a two-year program that includes 36 credits. It is an advanced program and can often lead to management positions such as art director or senior graphic designer.

Graphic Design Certificates

Graphic design certificate programs vary greatly. For example, in some programs, usually offered at vocational or community colleges, the graphic design certificate program is 204 course hours and is designed to be completed in six quarters. There are no prerequisites to enroll for these graphic design certificates – not even a high school diploma.

Other types of graphic design certificate programs – sometimes called advanced graphic design certificate programs and usually offered at art schools or four-year colleges – are comprised of only three classes (or 30 credit hours). However, it takes approximately three years to complete these certificate programs since students only take one class at a time. These advanced certificate programs are competitive and require a portfolio that demonstrates that the students have experience as a graphic artist (illustrator, photographer, painter, etc.). Students who don’t have previous experience are advised to take introductory graphic design classes before applying to the program.

Courses a student in a certificate program might encounter include:

Introduction to Graphic Design

Students learn historical and applied issues in graphic design

Image Editing

This course focuses on teaching digital imaging software and retouching tools

Print Design

Students explore design elements and software related to creating print projects

Basics of illustration

Essential concepts of drawing, painting and sketching as a communication style are taught

Graphic Design Associate Degrees

Associate degrees in graphic design may be awarded as an Associate of Science in Graphic Design or an Associate of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. They are offered at community colleges, art schools and universities. An associate’s degree prepares students for entry-level positions, and generally take two years, or 90 credit hours, to complete.

Introduction to Typography

Students learn basic letter forms and typesetting skills

Graphic Design 1

Students discover the relationship between color, composition, texture, and shape in visual design

Animation

2D, 3D, and other animation techniques are taught in this course

Web Design

The concepts behind designing, writing and producing a website

Graphic Design Bachelor’s Degrees

The Bachelor of Arts in graphic design, or the Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design, is typically a four-year, 173-credit program offered at a four-year university or art school. Students receive a more in-depth, comprehensive educational background, and spend additional time gaining experience through hands-on projects. Only junior- and senior-level students may apply for internships, which may be in a variety of settings, and are subject to availability. Applicants typically need an associate degree in graphic design or will have completed the school’s pre-graphic design program.

Senior Thesis Project

For their thesis project, students must create a visual graphic design project

Graphic Design Studio

Working with actual clients on products, students work in a real-world environment on graphic design projects

Visual Identity Systems

Students study visual factors that affect the creation of identity

Experimental Typography

Advanced intent and meaning behind typography is explored

New Media: Interactive

Students learn historical and innovative concepts in new media

Graphic Design Master’s Degrees

The master’s degree in graphic design provides students with advanced knowledge in print design, web development and other aspects of graphic design. At this level, the philosophy of theory and practice are further developed, and students receive more real-world practice, participating in many various levels of actual design projects. The master’s degree typically takes two years to complete and consists of 36 credits. Students may be required to complete a final project or portfolio, and applicants will need a bachelor’s degree in graphic design prior to acceptance.

Advanced Illustration

Line art, drawing, blending tools, transparency and gradients are taught in advanced forms

Advanced Imaging

Students learn visual design and imagery technique, including how to use Flash and the Adobe Creative Suite

Color Theory

Explorations of color trends and practices in contemporary art and design are covered in this course

Information and Publication Design

Students examine concepts of numbers, statistics and other complex information as applicable to public design

A Graphic Designer’s Toolbox

  • Knowledge

    To be successful in a graphic design career, students should graduate from a program with knowledge of the following:

    Design techniques and principles

    Computers and electronics

    Fine arts theory and techniques

    Media production and dissemination techniques

  • Personal Abilities

    Helpful traits that graphic design students should work to develop include:

    Active listening – to hear and ask the right questions

    Critical thinking – to use logic to evaluate problems and solutions

    Reading comprehension – to understand written instructions

    Decision making – to weigh costs, pros and cons

    Operations analysis – to decide what is needed to create an effective design

    Teamwork – to work well with others

    Creative thinking – to formulate new ideas

    Visualization – to see how the final product will look

    Fluency of ideas – to be able to generate several creative options on a regular basis

  • On the Job

    Besides raw talent and skills, graphic designers should be able to work in certain environments and under a variety of conditions. For example, the following are every day occurrences, and good graphic designers will be able to handle them with ease:

    Sitting for long periods of time

    Working under deadlines and time pressures

    Face-to-face discussions

    Competitiveness

    Accuracy and attention to detail

    Performing repetitive motions

  • Tools of the Trade

    Graphic designers need to be able to comfortably work with a variety of tools, including:

    Cameras

    Scanners

    Photocopying equipment

    Laptops and desktop computers

    Computer laser printers and wide format printers

    Wacom and similar tablets

    Software like Adobe Fireworks, Adobe InDesign, Adobe FreeHand, Adobe Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Adobe Cold Fusion, Adobe Flash, and Final Cut Pro

  • Certifications

    It is important to distinguish between the graphic design certificate – which is an entry-level certificate that may precede an associate or bachelor’s degree – and various specialized certifications one may earn. Various software certificates are available for graphic designers to earn for mastering such programs as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

Graphic Design Career Snapshot

Graphic designers earn a median annual wage of $44,150 per year, or a median hourly wage of $21.22 per hour

From 2012 through 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be 17,400 new graphic design jobs

The BLS predicts overall demand for graphic designers to grow by 7% through 2022; however, demand for graphic designers in computer systems design and related services will grow by 35% through 2022

Specializations in Graphic Design

Graphic designers may draw, paint, photograph or create computer-generated images and text as seen in books and magazines, on menus, billboards and in other printed material. They may also design websites or create animated images. Many well-known logos that you probably see on a daily basis – like the Nike swoosh, the CBS eye or Apple’s bitten apple – were all created by graphic designers. Graphic designers who gain experience may advance in their careers to become art or creative directors, leading entire design groups or firms. Those who have risen through the ranks have typically done so because they chose to focus on the mastery of one or more specializations in the industry, becoming experts.

Some of the specializations include:

Print and 2D

Students on this track focus on publications, marketing materials, product and environmental design. They learn how to create content that is suitable for print and 2D formats, including layout design and color choices. Students have the opportunity to design labels, posters, direct mailers, menus, flyers, banners, hang tags and billboards.

Motion Graphics

This track involves principles of movement, key-framing and rendering used to create 3D images and other types of animation. Students may learn how to create film and broadcast titles, music videos, graphics for mobile phones and television ads.

Interactive Design

Students learn how to design for today’s technology, including web tools that can increase the user experience. This includes basic web page design, optimization of web imagery and graphics and mastery of such programs as Dreamweaver and Photoshop.

From the Drawing Board: An Interview with a Graphic Design Professional

Brit Casady is a graphic designer with a BFA in graphic design currently working for Blender Bottle. Here’s what she had to say about the graphic design industry, and what advice she’d give to someone looking to enter the field.

Why is graphic design a good career choice?

Graphic design for me is a great career choice because it offers versatility in scheduling so that I can be home with my kids.

What’s the best part about being a graphic designer?

The best part about being a graphic designer is that I can express myself through a widely accepted medium. Graphic design is seen everywhere, and molding the scenery around us. It’s great to be a part of something like that.

What’s an interesting fact that most people don’t know about graphic design?

Something that many people maybe don’t know about graphic designers is that they are a rare breed. If you think about a typical painter, for example, generally speaking they are predominately right brained. Graphic designers are required to exercise both sides of their brain for their work and are typically a nice cross between being analytical and creative. They are artists that are also good at math and interested in sciences. Go figure.

Do you have any advice for potential graphic design students?

The only advice I can give to potential graphic design students is to be serious about what you do. It’s a very competitive world out there for design. You need to really love what you do.

After Graphic Design School: What’s Next?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 259,500 graphic designers actively employed in 2012. The five industries employing the most graphic designers are as follows:

  • 14% Manufacturing
  • 10% Specialized design services
  • 9% Newspaper, periodical, book and directory publishers
  • 5% Wholesale trade

Once they enter the workforce, environments may vary, but graphic designers usually work at computers and drafting tables. Some may work as part of a team, while others work independently. While many graphic designers work in an office setting, some go on to work as freelance designers from their home offices.

Those who have earned a degree in graphic design aren’t limited to jobs only in that specific field. Many other career paths are open to those who hold these degree, including:

  • Web designer
  • Type designer
  • Advertising specialist
  • Marketing specialist
  • Motion graphics designer
  • Art director
  • Creative director
  • Brand specialist
  • Illustrator
  • Animator

Featured Careers tool

  • Career #1: Graphic Designer

    Using either digital or tangible mediums, graphic designers create the visuals needed in the advertising, entertainment or corporate worlds. They may be involved in layout and production, and can find employment with a design firm or work freelance.

    Median salary: $44,150

    Hourly salary: $21.22

    Est. Growth: 7%

    No. employed: 259,500

    Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree

  • Career #2: Advertising Manager

    Overseeing the creation of advertising content, from concept to finished product. Advertising managers run the teams behind these projects, and work closely in conjunction with all departments of a company, from sales to HR to upper leadership.

    Median salary: $115,750

    Hourly salary: $55.65

    Est. Growth: 12%

    No. employed: 216,000

    Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree

  • Career #3: Art Director

    Leading the process of project design, art directors are responsible for all aspects of the visual style on projects such as magazines, books, advertising and television.

    Median salary: $80,880

    Hourly salary: $38.88

    Est. Growth: 3%

    No. employed: 74,800

    Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree

Advice for Graphic Design Students

“My advice for students is to be focused and make a total
commitment to design excellence. If you have found your calling, embrace it 100 percent. If you love what you do in life, it is a great gift.”

Allan Beaver, artist in residence at High Point University