What Education Is Needed to Become a Graphic Designer?

You may be wondering what education is needed to become a graphic designer. The short answer is that it depends on the specific graphic design field you want to enter, as well as your own personal career goals.

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Graphic designers need to have completed at least a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field. Many designers also have a master’s degree in graphic design or a related field. Many graphic designers also complete internships or apprenticeships with design firms or other businesses before they are hired full-time.

Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design

An Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design is the minimum level of education needed to qualify for most entry-level positions in the field. However, many graphic designers choose to continue their education and earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design, which can lead to more advanced positions and higher salaries.

Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design

A bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field is the standard educational requirement for graphic designers. Programs in graphic design typically last four years and cover computer art, design principles, typography, web design and imaging software. Many schools require students to complete an internship as part of the degree program.

Master’s Degree in Graphic Design

Most graphic designers have at least a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field. Candidates for graphic design positions should demonstrate their creativity and originality through a professional portfolio that features their best designs.

Employers also value experience, so internships or volunteer work in the field of graphic design can be helpful. A strong portfolio and recommendation letters from design professionals are typically required for admission to master’s degree programs in graphic design.

Master’s degree programs in graphic design typically last about two years and include advanced coursework in design principles and theory, computer modeling and animation, photography, typography, printmaking, and web design. Many programs offer concentrations in areas such as advertising design, branding, interactive media, publication design, or packaging design.

Certification in Graphic Design

Most employers prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field. Applicants with associate degrees or postsecondary certificates also may be considered for entry-level positions, particularly if they have relevant experience. However, candidates who have completed formal education programs in graphic design will have the best job prospects.

Graphic designers typically need to earn a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field before they can enter the profession. Bachelor’s degree programs in areas such as communication design or interactive media typically include courses in graphic design, art history, and computer science along with general education classes.

Some colleges and universities offer 5-year programs that lead to both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.


There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the level of education required to become a graphic designer will vary depending on the specific field or industry you wish to enter. However, most graphic designers will need to complete at least some form of postsecondary education, such as an associate or bachelor’s degree in graphic design, before beginning their career. Additionally, many graphic designers choose to pursue voluntary certification in order to demonstrate their proficiency in the field and stand out from the competition.

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