Do Graphic Designers Need a Degree?

By Michelle Ecker on October 19th, 2018
Do Graphic Designers Need a Degree?

In the past, aspiring graphic designers and most other creative professionals were required to attend a 4-year university and receive a bachelor’s degree in order to be seriously considered for full-time professional work. But things are changing for the better.

Today, from developers learning to write code to graphic designers exploring Photoshop and Adobe, students and aspiring professionals are no longer required to spend years of time and tremendous amounts of money on degrees in order to land fantastic roles.

Anymore, experience, skill and quality of work are the key factors in recruiting talent- and these 3 qualities can easily be attained through much more affordable and flexible training rather than at pricy 4-year university programs.

In the past, hiring managers and recruiters scoured piles of resumes, sorting out applicants who did not list a college or university degree among their experience and accolades. But according to Lauren Dixon, Graphic Design USA’s source at Talent Culture, that’s no longer the case. “As higher education becomes less accessible due to rising tuition, and as more alternative learning platforms proliferate online, more people are able to acquire in-demand job skills without a formal college degree,” she shares.

According to Monster, there are 5 key skills that hiring managers seek out when looking to add a competent graphic design professional to the team.

Foremost, creativity is essential in this role. Innovation and new look and feel is chiefly important to modern, polished design. In order to dive into this field, an eye for creativity is key.

Beyond creative talent, employers simply need a graphic design employee to be software proficient. The most popular and commonly-used software today would be Adobe, which comes with an entire suite of creative tools known as the Creative Cloud- Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. So if you’re interested in becoming a graphic designer, learning how to use the Adobe Creative Cloud is an important first step.

Beyond that, typography and web design are important fundamentals of a talented design portfolio. When it comes to professional-grade design, fonts are incredibly important- and there’s tons of industry standard information you should learn about them in order to be prepared to speak intelligently and proficiently to your coworkers, managers and clients.

Finally, in terms of web design skills, it’s no secret that the majority of content produced and shared throughout our culture is increasingly moving online. An ability to design for not only print but also web is incredibly important looking forward at a career in the design industry.

If you’re interested in a self-paced, fully accredited online graphic design program where you can login to an online learning center and study from the comfort of your own home while still communicating with a real team of teachers, check out our online graphic design program for the perfect solution.

After completing NYIAD’s Online Graphic Design course, you will be able to:
  • Master production-level design processes
  • Work in both Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop
  • Develop and edit vector and raster assets
  • Develop assets for both print and web applications
  • Develop your own design portfolio to share with potential employers and clients
  • Pass the Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) certification exam and earn these important industry credentials

If you’re interested in a Graphic Design career but worried about setting yourself back with overwhelming tuition debt, this course was designed for you. Robert Mansfield, the award-winning Design Director of Forbes Media himself calls the NYIAD Graphic Design course a “must-do,” sharing, “I wish this course was available to me when I was first starting out.”


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