Online Graphic Design Degrees

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If you have a creative mind that enjoys the challenges of working with quickly evolving technology, then an online degree in Graphic Design will provide you with a solid foundation to build your professional career. With the convenience of online schooling, students now have the flexibility to juggle work and family obligations while still earning a Graphic Design degree that is well respected within the business world!

Careers in Graphic Design

Now more than ever, organizations are looking for skilled professionals that can create stunning visual elements in advertising and brand recognition to help them get noticed in the competitive marketplace. As a graphic designer, you will have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, including design studios, advertising agencies, and publishing houses.

In the table below we have listed a few popular career options and the annual salaries of those who have graduated with a degree in Graphic Design:

Job Title Job Summary

Median Annual Salary

Graphic Designer Uses a variety of design components to visually communicate a message or present a product for their company.

$49,169

Graphic Artist Designs visual presentations for their organization, including ads, logos, and signs.

$35,880

Creative Director Leads a team that is tasked with creating and implementing creative work.

$79,887

Graphic Design Manager Oversees the look and feel of the artwork a company is using for marketing and sales campaigns.

$59,577

Senior Graphic Designer Manages a graphic design team and is responsible for overseeing the various aspects of the designs being created.

$61,483

*Job and salary data provided by Payscale.com


Those who work in graphic design typically earn more than the national average across all occupations, as you can see in the information above. You may make more or less than the salaries listed based upon your technical skills and experience within the workforce.

Types of Online Graphic Design Degrees

There are several options now available through reputable online universities for Graphic Design degrees that you can earn from the comfort of your own home.

From associate’s degrees to graduate programs, working toward your degree in Graphic Design is now easier than ever with the flexibility of online learning!

Online Associate’s Degrees in Graphic Design

An online associate’s degree in Graphic Design is a good choice for those who are interested in getting started within the field. Throughout the course of this program, you will learn foundational skills that teach you the basics of graphic design and help you land a professional entry-level position.

There are several topics that you will cover throughout the course of your Graphic Design degree program, including the following:

  • Graphic design and production
  • Photo image editing
  • Streaming technology
  • Multimedia development
  • Adobe software skills

After graduation, you will have the skills you need to create computer graphics, electronic images, and desktop designs for a variety of different organizations. Some graduates from programs offering online degrees in Graphic Design also go on to work for themselves as a freelance designer.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Graphic Design

Having a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design will provide you with advanced level skills that will help you stand out from the crowd of job applicants. While you will cover a number of advanced topics in digital imaging, web design, and media arts, you will also develop a graphic design portfolio that will assist you in landing a job after graduation.

Those who have earned a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design have the option of a number of professional career paths that include:

  • Graphic designer
  • Advertising design
  • Web designer
  • Art director
  • Print and packaging design

Some online degree programs also have the option of choosing a concentration for your bachelor’s degree that will allow you to develop specialized skills. These options may include Web Design, General Design, or Media Arts.

Online Master’s Degrees in Graphic Design

The field of graphic design is constantly evolving, and those who wish to reach the top of their careers can choose to further their education with an online master’s degree in Graphic Design. Those who have a master’s degree in Graphic Design will be eligible to take on leadership and management level positions within a company or start their own independent graphic design business.

In this graduate-level program, you will further advance your skills while also delving into theory-based courses that include:

  • Visual and Typographic Communication
  • Integrated Design Media
  • Graphic Design Methodologies
  • Social Awareness in Graphic Design

To successfully complete this degree program, you will also be required to pass specialized elective courses as well as develop and present a final master’s level Graphic Design portfolio.

Graphic Design Career Outlook and Salary Information

With increasing technology and a constantly evolving business market, graphic designers continue to be an invaluable asset to companies that want to effectively market their brand, products, and services to the public.  According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall employment of graphic designers is projected to decline by 4% through the year 2029. However, those in specialized fields will experience greater job growth. For example, multimedia artists and animators are expected to see a 4% employment increase between 2019 and 2029.

The BLS also provides valuable information on the median annual salaries for those who work in the field of graphic design. According to their data, the average annual wage for graphic designers is $52,110 – which is higher than the national average across all occupations. Those who work in specialized design services tend to earn more with a median annual salary of $68,000.

View our list of the top 40 Graphic Design careers to compare jobs and salaries in this field.

Is an Online Degree in Graphic Design Right for me?

When considering a degree in Graphic Design, you are likely wondering if an online degree program is a good option for you. While students who take college courses on-campus have the opportunity to interact face-to-face with their professors and classmates, online learning can be an excellent tool for motivated students to schedule their classes around their busy personal lives.

There are several advantages that come with earning a Graphic Design degree online, including:

  • Access to a wide range of technological platforms
  • Online instruction from leading experts in Graphic Design across the country
  • Flexibility to complete your degree at a faster pace than traditional students

When choosing to earn your Graphic Design degree online, you will be receiving the same quality instruction as those who attend traditional programs. Once you have graduated, your degree will not show any distinction that indicates you earned your degree through online learning.

Comparing Top Graphic Design Degree Programs

Beyond a quality curriculum and degree options that match your long-term goals, below we will discuss several other factors that are important to consider when researching online Graphic Design degrees:

Accreditation

Reputable online colleges and universities are often extensions of brick and mortar schools. When you are looking for a Graphic Design degree program that is right for you, it is essential to look at the accreditation of your prospective college to ensure that their curriculum is recognized within the professional arena.

There are many regional and national accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The most recognized accrediting agency for Graphic Design degrees is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

If you are wondering if your school’s accreditation is professionally recognized, take a look at the full list of agencies on the U.S. Department of Education’s website!

Student to Faculty Ratio

With any degree program, small class sizes benefit both the professor and the student. As you are working towards learning the advanced skills in graphic design needed within a professional career, low student to faculty ratios will ensure that you get individualized attention and support that will help you reach your full potential.

The faculty of a college or university is the cornerstone for student success, and having qualified instructors can make all the difference in how well you achieve throughout your Graphic Design degree program. To find out more about the instructors that will be teaching your classes, take the time to look through the “Faculty” section of your prospective college’s website.

Academic Advising and Student Services

Regardless of whether you are earning your Graphic Design degree online or at a traditional campus, many schools offer a variety of student services that provide their student body with additional support during the time they are in school.  A few of the services offered through your online college may include:

  • Online workshops and seminars with industry-leading graphic designers
  • Opportunities to interact and collaborate with fellow students through online platforms
  • Tutoring and support services for Graphic Design majors
  • Career advisement to help you choose the job path that best matches your education

Graphic design can be a challenging, exciting field for those who would like to turn their artistic skills into a lucrative business career. Whether you want to work for an organization or start your own freelance design business, there are many opportunities to pursue a rewarding career path with your online Graphic Design degree!

Ready to start your journey?
Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.