Online Graphic Design Degree Programs Overview

Can You Get a Graphic Design Degree Online?

Yes, obtaining a Graphic Design degree online is not only possible but has become increasingly popular among students seeking flexibility and diversity in their learning environments. Online programs offer the same rigorous curriculum as their on-campus counterparts, focusing on principles of design, digital tools, and techniques necessary for a successful career in graphic design.

Benefits of an Online Graphic Design Degree

  • Flexibility: Study at your own pace and schedule, making it easier to balance work, life, and education.
  • Accessibility: Access courses from anywhere in the world, eliminating the need for commuting or relocating.
  • Diverse Learning Resources: Take advantage of multimedia resources, interactive tools, and online forums to enhance your learning experience.
  • Networking Opportunities: Connect with peers and professionals globally through online platforms.

What to Look for in an Online Graphic Design Program

  • Accreditation: Ensure the program is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency to guarantee the quality and credibility of your degree.
  • Curriculum: The program should cover fundamental areas such as typography, color theory, branding, digital imaging, and web design.
  • Faculty Expertise: Look for programs where instructors have relevant industry experience and a strong background in graphic design.
  • Technology and Software Training: The program should provide training in industry-standard graphic design software and tools.
  • Portfolio Development: A good program will emphasize building a strong portfolio that showcases your skills and creativity.

Career Opportunities with an Online Graphic Design Degree

  • Graphic Designer
  • Web Designer
  • UI/UX Designer
  • Art Director
  • Brand Identity Developer

An online Graphic Design degree can open doors to a wide range of creative careers. With dedication and the right program, you can develop the skills needed to thrive in the ever-evolving field of graphic design.

Is an Online Graphic Design Degree Worth It?

Deciding whether to pursue an online Graphic Design degree involves weighing several factors. Here's a breakdown to help you determine if it's the right choice for you:

  • Flexibility and Convenience:

    • Online programs offer unparalleled flexibility, allowing you to balance your studies with work, family, or other commitments.
    • You can access course materials, lectures, and assignments at any time, making it ideal for self-motivated learners.
  • Cost-Effectiveness:

    • Generally, online degrees can be more cost-effective than traditional on-campus programs. You save on commuting, housing, and various campus fees.
    • Many online programs also offer competitive tuition rates and financial aid options.
  • Career Advancement:

    • Earning a degree in graphic design can open doors to new career opportunities or advancements in your current position.
    • The curriculum is designed to equip you with the latest tools, technologies, and techniques in graphic design, making you more attractive to employers.
  • Networking Opportunities:

    • Despite the virtual setting, many online programs offer forums, group projects, and online communities that facilitate networking with peers and professionals in the field.
    • Some institutions also provide access to alumni networks and career services to help graduates find employment or freelance opportunities.
  • Quality of Education:

    • Accredited online programs follow the same rigorous standards as their on-campus counterparts. Faculty often includes experienced professionals who bring real-world insights to the classroom.
    • Advances in technology have enhanced the online learning experience, offering interactive modules, video tutorials, and live feedback sessions.

Considerations Before Enrolling

  • Self-Discipline and Motivation: Success in an online program requires a high level of self-discipline. You'll need to be proactive in managing your time and keeping up with coursework.

  • Technology Requirements: Ensure you have access to a reliable computer and internet connection. Familiarity with design software and platforms used in the program is also crucial.

  • Accreditation: Opt for an accredited program to ensure the quality of education and that your degree will be recognized by employers and professionals in the field.

  • Career Goals: Reflect on how this degree aligns with your career aspirations. Whether you're looking to break into the field, upskill, or pursue a specialized area of graphic design, make sure the program matches your goals.

In summary, an online Graphic Design degree can be a valuable investment in your future, offering flexibility, cost savings, and a pathway to career advancement. However, it's important to consider your personal circumstances, learning style, and career objectives before making a decision.

Are Online Graphic Design Degrees Respected?

When considering a career in graphic design, you might wonder if pursuing an online degree will hold the same weight as a traditional one. The short answer is yes, online graphic design degrees are respected, but with some nuances. Here's what you need to know:

  • Accreditation Matters: Whether online or on-campus, the respect and value of your degree largely depend on the accreditation of the institution offering it. Look for programs accredited by recognized bodies such as the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

  • Portfolio Over Degree: In the creative field, your portfolio often speaks louder than your degree. Employers typically look for strong, diverse portfolios that showcase your skills, creativity, and adaptability. An online degree that offers comprehensive training and opportunities to build a robust portfolio is highly valuable.

  • Industry Perception Is Changing: The perception of online education has significantly improved over the years. Today, many employers recognize the rigor and quality of online programs, especially those from reputable institutions. The key is to ensure your chosen program provides industry-relevant curriculum and hands-on experience.

  • Networking Opportunities: Some may argue that traditional degrees offer better networking opportunities. However, many online programs now include virtual meetups, live project collaborations, and other networking opportunities. Additionally, online students often bring diverse experiences and backgrounds, enriching peer interactions.

  • Continuous Learning Environment: The graphic design field is ever-evolving with new software, techniques, and trends emerging regularly. Online programs often update their curriculum more swiftly than traditional ones to reflect industry changes, ensuring you're learning the most current practices.

  • Flexibility for Upgrading Skills: For working professionals looking to upgrade their skills or make a career shift, online degrees offer unparalleled flexibility. This adaptability is respected by employers who value continuous learning and self-motivation in their employees.

Factors to Enhance Respect for Your Degree

To maximize the respect and value of your online graphic design degree:

  • Choose a Reputable Program: Research and select a program known for its rigorous curriculum and successful alumni.

  • Build a Strong Portfolio: Engage in projects both within and outside your coursework to develop a compelling portfolio.

  • Network Actively: Utilize the networking opportunities provided by your program and participate in industry forums and social media groups related to graphic design.

  • Stay Updated: Continuously learn new skills and stay abreast of industry trends to keep your portfolio relevant.

In conclusion, an online graphic design degree can be just as respected as a traditional one, provided you choose an accredited program and actively work towards building your skills and portfolio.

What Types of Graphic Design Degrees Are Available Online and How Long Do They Take to Complete?

Exploring online degrees in graphic design? Here's a breakdown of the types you can find and the typical time commitment for each.

Certificate Programs

  • Duration: 6 months to 1 year
  • Overview: These are great for beginners or professionals looking to enhance specific skills. They cover fundamental design principles, software, and basic project management.

Associate Degrees

  • Duration: 2 years (full-time)
  • Overview: This is your entry-level academic credential in the field, combining general education with core graphic design courses. It prepares you for junior roles or further study.

Bachelor’s Degrees

  • Duration: 4 years (full-time)
  • Overview: Offering a comprehensive education in graphic design, these programs include theoretical knowledge, practical skills, and often internships. Graduates are ready for a wide range of careers in the industry.

Master’s Degrees

  • Duration: 1 to 2 years (full-time)
  • Overview: Ideal for those looking to specialize or advance their careers. These programs focus on advanced concepts in design theory, research methods, and leadership in the creative sector.

Doctorate Degrees

  • Duration: 3 to 5 years (full-time)
  • Overview: Though rare, some institutions offer doctoral programs online in areas related to graphic design, such as visual communications. These are research-intensive and prepare graduates for academic, high-level industry, or consultancy roles.

Remember, part-time study options can extend these durations. Each program type serves different career goals and prior education levels, so consider what best matches your aspirations and current situation.

How to Choose an Online Graphic Design Degree Program?

When selecting an online graphic design degree program, it's essential to find a path that aligns with your career goals, learning style, and lifestyle. Here are key factors to consider:


  • Ensure the program is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency. This affects the value of your degree and your eligibility for federal financial aid.

Curriculum and Specializations

  • Examine the curriculum to ensure it covers fundamental areas of graphic design, such as typography, web design, and digital imaging.
  • Look for programs that offer specializations or electives in areas you're passionate about, such as animation, user experience design, or digital marketing.

Faculty Expertise

  • Research the qualifications and professional background of the faculty members. Experienced instructors can provide valuable industry insights and mentorship.

Technology and Software Requirements

  • Check the technology and software requirements. A good program should provide or recommend up-to-date industry-standard software and hardware specifications.

Flexibility and Format

  • Consider the program's flexibility regarding deadlines and attendance. Asynchronous courses might be a better fit if you're balancing work or other commitments.
  • Understand the format of the program. Look for opportunities for hands-on projects, live feedback sessions, and interactive learning.

Portfolio Development

  • A strong portfolio is crucial for a career in graphic design. Choose a program that includes portfolio development courses or projects.

Career Support Services

  • Investigate the career support services offered by the program. This can include internship opportunities, job placement services, and networking events.

Alumni Network

  • Explore the strength and activity of the alumni network. An engaged alumni community can provide job leads, mentorship, and industry connections.

Cost and Financial Aid

  • Consider the total cost of the program, including tuition, fees, software, and equipment.
  • Look into financial aid options such as scholarships, grants, and student loans.

By carefully evaluating these factors, you can choose an online graphic design degree program that best fits your goals and needs. Remember to reach out to admissions counselors for any questions or clarifications—they're there to help you make an informed decision.

Online Graphic Design Degree Resources

Professional Associations

As you navigate through your online graphic design degree, joining a professional association can be a game-changer. These organizations offer networking opportunities, industry insights, and resources that can significantly enhance your career prospects:

  • AIGA
    • The Professional Association for Design, is the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design. It offers events, initiatives, and resources for both students and professionals.
  • Graphic Artists Guild
    • This guild provides advocacy, legal support, and educational resources for graphic artists at all levels of their career.
  • Society of Illustrators
    • Focused on promoting illustration art, this society is a great resource for graphic designers who specialize or have an interest in illustration.
  • Type Directors Club
    • If typography is your passion, the Type Directors Club is an invaluable resource for inspiration, competitions, and workshops.

Industry Publications

Staying informed about the latest trends, tools, and discussions in the graphic design world is essential. These publications are treasure troves of information:

  • Communication Arts
    • A premier source of inspiration and information for graphic designers, featuring award-winning projects.
  • Print Magazine
    • Offers industry insights with a focus on visual culture and design.
  • HOW Magazine
    • This publication covers everything from graphic design to how creativity can impact the business world.
  • Eye Magazine
    • An international review of graphic design, offering in-depth analysis of design topics.

Online Resources and Tools

In addition to your coursework, these online resources can provide tutorials, templates, and tools to help refine your skills:

  • Behance
    • Showcase your work and discover other designers’ projects for inspiration.
  • Dribbble
    • A community of designers sharing screenshots of their work, process, and projects.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud Tutorials
    • Adobe's own tutorials are an excellent way to get the most out of their suite of design tools.
  • from LinkedIn Learning
    • Offers thousands of video courses in software, creative, and business skills, including many on graphic design.

Career Support

Lastly, don’t forget about leveraging career support resources to help launch your career after graduation:

  • Career.Guide
    • Provides comprehensive career advice including resume tips, interview preparation, and job search strategies specifically tailored for graphic design graduates.

By taking advantage of these resources, you're not just earning a degree; you're building a foundation for a successful career in graphic design. Whether it's through joining professional associations, staying up-to-date with industry publications, enhancing your skills with online tools, or preparing for your career with dedicated support services, you're equipping yourself with the tools needed for success in this vibrant and evolving field.

Sign up for our newsletter

Join our newsletter to receive the latest updates and insights in online education. Get exclusive access to in-depth articles, expert advice, and special offers tailored for your educational journey.