11 Graphic Design Jobs You Can Get With an Associate Degree

Updated February 3, 2023

Earning a graphic design associate degree prepares you for many entry-level opportunities in the workforce. Not only is this type of degree more cost-effective than other professional degrees, but it also lets you enter the graphic design field in only two years. Understanding your career options with a graphic design associate degree can help you make a more strategic decision for your future. 

In this article, we discuss this degree, list 11 graphic design associate degree jobs and answer frequently asked questions about pursuing a career in graphic design with this type of degree.

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What is an associate degree in graphic design?

An associate degree in graphic design is a professional educational degree that teaches you the fundamentals of this artistic field. A graphic design associate degree program teaches you how to work with basic tools and programs that you need to create websites, print graphics and digital logos. You can earn a diploma from a college or technical institute.

If you're hoping to work in the graphic design field, you can pursue an Associate of Arts or Associate of Sciences degree. Both degrees provide you with general education and art studies coursework. While they include graphic design classes for beginners, they also offer a well-rounded liberal arts and sciences curriculum.

Common course topics include design theory and technology, color theory, typography, electronic imaging, computer graphics and both print and digital production. An associate degree in graphic design requires 65 credit hours. You can also use your associate degree in graphic design to pursue a more advanced academic degree later.

Related: 10 Jobs You Can Get With an Associate of Arts Degree

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11 graphic design associate degree jobs

An associate degree in graphic design presents you with a wide variety of career options in the workforce. Knowing the jobs available to you makes it easier to plan your job search. Here are 11 graphic design jobs you may pursue with an associate degree:

1. Illustrator

National average salary: $44,223 per year

Primary duties: Illustrators create images and digital drawings that deliver a message. They work alongside a marketing and design team to brainstorm new concepts and finalize their designs manually and using computer software. You can find their illustrations in mediums like books, magazines and greeting cards.

2. Animator

National average salary: $63,068 per year

Primary duties: Animators create a series of images that appear to be moving when you see them in rapid sequence in a television show, movie or video. They use computers and various techniques to create these moving images and work with a production team to set project goals, make storyboards and design animations. Animators also present their animations to customers and negotiate contracts.

Related: Learn About Being an Animator

3. Web designer

National average salary: $52,816 per year

Primary duties: Web designers create and code the layout and visual appearance of a website or webpage. These individuals typically use a mixture of artistic and technical skills to build visually appealing and navigable sites. They help maintain a website's usability, test and improve website designs and brainstorm creative ideas with their clients and set design guidelines.

Related: Learn About Being a Web Designer

4. Graphic designer

National average salary: $59,314 per year

Primary duties: Graphic designers create visual assets like logos, social media posts, billboards, packaging and marketing materials according to a company's branding. These individuals brainstorm visual communication concepts with their clients and their design team and use design software to create these concepts. Graphic designers also make designs for a variety of publications, including magazines, books, brochures, logos and webpages.

Related: Learn About Being a Graphic Designer

5. Print manager

National average salary: $47,814 per year

Primary duties: Print managers oversee a print production process. They work with customers and other company managers to ensure the timely completion of print jobs. They also provide printing services to customers and developing businesses, negotiate prices, send quotes to customers, monitor their stock levels and purchase print production materials when necessary.

6. Multimedia specialist

National average salary: $51,346 per year

Primary duties: Multimedia specialists create multimedia elements and designs for a variety of applications, audio files, videos and computer animations. They meet with clients to set project requirements and discuss each project's progress. Multimedia specialists also provide technical recommendations and work with a variety of creative individuals, such as animators, programmers, artists and video producers.

7. Drafter

National average salary: $69,430 per year

Primary duties: Drafters use software to convert an engineer's or architect's designs into written plans, blueprints and drawings. They gather drawings, calculate the requirements for materials and equipment, use their knowledge to add details to architectural plans and work under the supervision of an engineer or architect.

8. Technical writer

National average salary: $58,606 per year

Primary duties: Technical writers create technical documentation for a target audience. They prepare, review and revise these documents for publication. They also determine the needs of users before writing technical documentation, edit material, study product samples and select the appropriate medium for a particular audience or message.

Related: Learn About Being a Technical Writer

9. Multimedia designer

National average salary: $56,759 per year

Primary duties: Multimedia designers use computer software to create multimedia content for different mediums like websites, television or films. Some elements they create include animations, audio and visual effects. Multimedia designers also make edits based on feedback from stakeholders and create project mock-ups based on the project's overall scope.

10. Web developer

National average salary: $67,839 per year

Primary duties: Web developers use coding skills to control a website's technical aspects. They create websites from a web design and program them to respond to users' commands. Web developers also troubleshoot website problems, present design specs, update websites as needed, monitor website traffic and create website content.

Related: Learn About Being a Web Developer

11. Product designer

National average salary: $77,033 per year

Primary duties: Product designers supervise a product's creation process from design to development. They identify product problems and create solutions. Product designers also improve existing product designs, present product concepts and ideas to relevant team members, stay up-to-date on industry trends, offer improvements to product design and performance and ensure clear communication and efficiency during the product design phase.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to earn a graphic design associate degree?

It typically takes two years to finish an associate degree program. Pacing can vary depending on your schedule. For example, many educational institutions offer night or weekend classes for working professionals, who may take longer to finish their degree than those studying full time.

Related: How To Be a Successful Online Student: 10 Steps for Working and Going to School

How do you decide between an associate and a bachelor's degree in graphic design?

You can find a career in graphic design with either type of degree, but the right degree path for you depends on your preferences and circumstances. Bachelor's degrees typically take about four years to earn, and they may cost more than associate degrees.

If you'd rather earn your degree quickly and affordably, you might opt for an associate degree. If you'd prefer to invest in a more in-depth education that meets more employers' requirements, a bachelor's degree might suit you.

Related: 9 Degrees for a Career in Graphic Design

What industries can you work in with a degree in graphic design?

Skilled graphic design graduates can work in a variety of fields, such as:

  • Marketing

  • Publishing

  • Communications

  • Entertainment

  • Education

  • Manufacturing

  • Technology


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