Graphic Design Programs

Train online for a new career as a graphic designer

Graphic design is an exciting field which has grown rapidly with the development of digital technology and the Internet. Combining technical and artistic skills, graphic designers work in many different industries, including advertising, marketing, online communications, and publishing. Many graphic designers also enjoy successful freelance careers, working for individual clients on a contract basis. If you're interested in a career in graphic design, you will enjoy solid job prospects and excellent future growth potential as the evolution of the World Wide Web continues.

You can take a professional program leading to a diploma in graphic design, or earn a degree. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options. Diploma programs can generally be completed more quickly, and they tend to have lower overall costs. If you're looking to make a fast transition into a new career as a graphic designer, and particularly if you already have some familiarity with the field, a diploma program may be the right route for you.

On the other hand, degree programs delve more deeply into key concepts and provide students with a more comprehensive and thorough education. Because students emerge from graphic design degree programs with a broader suite of knowledge, they tend to be better prepared to face real-world challenges and enjoy enhanced career prospects. However, degree programs take up to four years to complete and generally cost more. Also, students who complete diploma programs tend to join the workforce faster, which helps them close this knowledge gap more quickly.

In the end, the choice is yours. Carefully consider the merits of both options, and choose the path that best meets your individual needs and works within your budget.

Graphic Design Programs

Top Online Graphic Design Schools

Here is a closer look at some of the top online graphic design programs offered by American-based schools:

  • Savannah College of Art and Design. With highly qualified full-time faculty members, high retention rates and high graduation rates, the Savannah College of Art and Design offers an excellent graphic design program.
  • The New School. Buoyed by excellent graduation rates and generous financial aid packages, The New School offers innovative instruction that prepares students for real-world situations.
  • Full Sail University. Accredited for over 25 years, Full Sail University had the highest graduation rate of any graphic design school on this list.
  • Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. If you're looking for an affordable program with a strong reputation, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design merits a close look. The school also offers very generous financial aid packages to students in need.
  • Foothill College. If you want a school with a proven track record, Foothill College has been accredited for more than 50 years.
  • Bellevue University. This innovative school is known for the excellent of its online programs, and its graphic design program is no exception.
  • The Art Institute of Pittsburgh-Online Division. This prestigious institution boasts many successful alumni, and its curriculum is more challenging and best-suited to professionals looking to expand on their existing graphic design background. However, you should be aware that tuition fees to attend this well-regarded school are significantly higher than the other entries on this list.
  • Akron Institute of Herzing University and Herzing University-Madison. These schools have 100 percent acceptance rates -- apply here if you're brand-new to graphic design and are looking for patient, experienced instructors who will help you understand the basics.

As with any online program, you should always thoroughly research the schools you're considering with an eye on how satisfied past students were with the program. High student satisfaction rates tend to indicate a worthwhile investment, so see what students themselves had to say about any graphic design program you're interested in.