Is a Graphic Design Degree Right for You?

Graphic design degrees are tailored for artistic and tech-savvy individuals. Ideal designers are those who want to learn effective techniques for making a visual impact on an audience. Individuals in a graphic design program learn about the art and business sides of graphic design, with courses often focusing on the software many graphic designers and other specialists use on the job. Students learn how to design effective websites, make good use of graphics in various publications, and design an array of other materials. It is a great field students looking for a creative field that also has real-world, business applications.

Many graphic designers are self-taught, but an online bachelor’s degree in graphic design can provide with updated skills and the extra edge you need to land a solid graphic design position.

Advice for Earning Your Graphic Design Degree Online

Online graphic design degrees are a viable alternative to traditional degrees. They provide the same classes as campus-based degrees while offering students the flexibility to complete course work on their own time. But before enrolling in an online program, prospective students should make sure that their school of choice is accredited by an organization that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. And, many campus-based programs provide access to computer labs, software, and other tools needed to complete assignments. In an online program, you may have to purchase these tools to complete the degree.

Required Courses

Online Graphic Design degree programs typically incorporate studio art, technology, art history, and business courses in the major curriculum. Students will also complete courses in which they learn to use software applications used in graphic design. Required courses might include:

  • Typography
  • Graphic Design I
  • Color Theory
  • Drawing
  • Web Design

Common Career Paths

Some potential careers for those with a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design include:

Graphic Designers

  • Expected Growth: 13%
  • Average Annual Salary: $51,555

Graphic designers are responsible for coming up with a concept to communicate a message through graphics. Designers must be able to assess the needs of their clients, establish their primary audience and come up with an artistic concept to satisfy their clients. They have the opportunity to design graphics for newspapers, magazines, journals and newsletters. They can also work in brand design and development to come up with logos for new or existing businesses.

Advertising is another popular field for graphic designers. Others may specialize in Web design and work exclusively in making corporate and business websites attractive and easy to use. The above salary and employment growth figures were gathered from the BLS, and represent average incomes.

Art Directors

  • Expected Growth: 9%
  • Average Annual Salary: $103,185

Art directors supervise and conceptualize the visual style and design of magazines, websites, and other media. Art directors supervise design staff and curate the photographs, designs, and art used in the publication. A graphic design degree provides the foundation in aesthetics, design, color theory, and typography that are critical to an art director’s job. Also, many art directors start out as graphic designers, photographers, or other design staff and work their way up to art director positions through experience and hard work. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Advertising and Marketing Managers

  • Expected Growth: 14%
  • Average Annual Salary: $103,940

Advertising and marketing managers promote their company’s product or service through ads, public relations, strategies, and marketing campaigns. They are responsible for knowing how their target market receives information and devising a plan for reaching potential customers. A graphic design degree is very beneficial to a career in this field because the degree often includes business and marketing courses. And the art and design skills will be useful when conceiving and approving ads and promotional materials. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Multimedia Artists and Animators

  • Expected Growth: 8%
  • Average Annual Salary: $66,835

Multimedia arts and animators use software to create visual effects, animation, and edits for movies, television, and other media. The field requires strong technical skills and eye for detail and aesthetics. A bachelor’s degree in graphic design is useful in this field because it familiarizes students with artistic principles that apply to this field and exposes them to different technologies and software applications. Figures above were provided by the BLS.


  • Expected Growth: 13%
  • Average Hourly Wage: $19.41

A background in graphic design is very helpful for those who wish to become professional photographers. Graphic design classes help students become familiar with the software used in creating websites as well as that used for editing photos. Photographers often specialize in certain types, such as nature, portrait, fashion, news or commercial. Others concentrate on events such as weddings or parties. Figures above were provided by the BLS.


Degree Search

Make your degree count. Find out which accredited schools offer the degree program you want to take.

Degree Search is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.