Graphic design is a type of communication involving the use of colors, shapes, images, and text to generate visual information that can be found in various forms, including print and digital media. Effective designs inspire and inform customers, making them an important aspect of any business’s success.
A career in Graphic Design could be a fantastic fit for you if you are naturally creative and have a passion for technology. In fact, Graphic Design is one of the most popular degree programs for creative people.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS), Graphic designers have a higher-than-average median annual compensation and a steady career outlook. They also have creative freedom and the possibility to be their own bosses.
While a profession as a graphic designer is exciting, it does necessitate a college diploma and additional training. That said, an online Graphic Design degree program can be a great way to get started on this rewarding career path.
Read on to learn more about the top 10 Cheapest Online Graphic Design Degree Programs and the job outlook. We have compiled a list of 10 colleges to assist degree seekers to earn their Graphic Design Degrees online on a budget.
Also check our article on UI/UX design degrees.
Types of Degrees Available in Graphic Design
Graphic Design degrees are available at several different degree levels. These levels range from certificate to PhD, the highest graphic design degree available. Additionally, the length of time it takes to earn a graphic degree program varies depending on the level.
|Degree||Credit||General Program Length|
|Certificate||20-30 credits||1 year|
|Associate Degree||60-65||2 years|
|Bachelor’s Degree||120-122 credits||4 years|
|Master’s Degree||50-70 credits and research paper||1-3 years|
|Doctorate||Coursework, major project, and a dissertation||At least 4 years|
10 Cheapest Online Graphic Design Degree Programs Starting at $100 Tuition Per Credit Hour
1. Bellevue University (Bellevue, NE)
Tuition Rates: $440 per credit hour
Degree: BA in Graphic Design
Bellevue University’s online graphic design program aims at fostering critical thinking. It recognizes that graphic designers must consider various aspects, ranging from typography to color theory and everything in between. These designers must be thoroughly aware of how their decisions affect the audience. Graphic design students at Bellevue are taught how to recognize these elements and make design decisions that will yield the greatest results. This curriculum is one of the top economical graphic design options in the United States, with a high return on investment.
Bellevue University is dedicated to assisting students in realizing their full potential and maximizing their abilities in preparation for a successful future career. Bellevue also emphasizes mastery over memorization, allowing students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-world settings. Students graduate with an excellent set of talents and the ability to put those skills to use in the business.
2. Remington College (Knoxville, Tennessee)
Tuition Rates: Tuition: $19,665
Remington College offers a fast-paced associate degree program in Graphic Design that can be finished in as little as 18 months. Online students receive a MacBook Pro and full access to the Adobe Creative Suite when they join. The 92-credit curriculum teaches graphic design fundamentals and how to put them into practice. Students will also learn about current digital graphic art software applications as part of their degree curriculum. For this associate degree graphic design program, the online platform delivers a responsive, accessible, and mobile-friendly learning environment for students and instructors.
3. University of Maryland Global Campus (Adelphi, MD)
Tuition Rates: $312 per credit (in-state)
$499 per credit (out-of-state)
$250 per credit (military)
Degree: Online BA-Graphic Communication
The online graphic design course at the University of Maryland Global Campus acknowledges that technology is always evolving. To thrive in the field of Graphic Design, students must have prior expertise with cutting-edge technologies. Furthermore, they must be adaptable in order to evolve as technology evolves. This program is beneficial to both. It also assists students in developing their skills and portfolios to prepare them to enter the job market following graduation. It’s also one of the most economical graphic design colleges, thanks to its low tuition costs.
Working adults and military personnel can acquire the degrees they’ve always desired because of UMGC’s flexibility. This school offers tough coursework that educates students on rapidly evolving vocations. These seminars place a strong emphasis on practical skills.
4. University of Massachusetts (Lowell, MA)
Tuition Rates: $380 per credit hour
Degree: Online BFA-Graphic Design
The University of Massachusetts, Lowell offers an online Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree with a Graphic Design focus. Students will be able to build a set of creative and technical skills in high demand in the business due to the curriculum. It gives them an overview of the principles of Graphic Design. They research a wide range of topics, including:
- Branding \Design
- social media
Students will learn skills that will be beneficial in a variety of jobs. It helps them learn valuable communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills while broadening their knowledge.
5. Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)
Academic Year Total Tuition: $12,072 (Resident Tuition)
$14,342 (Non-Resident Tuition)
ASU Online offers the same level of rigor and engagement as on-campus classes. This institution is committed to student success and offers a wealth of resources.
The BS in IT degree from Arizona State University has a graphic design concentration as an option. This degree takes a three-pronged graphic design approach: creativity, leadership, and technology. This well-balanced approach prepares students to work in a variety of graphic design fields after graduation. Students are experienced working with a variety of graphic design media and technologies by the time they graduate. Furthermore, this is one of the more cost-effective graphic design programs available.
6. University of Florida (Gainesville, Florida)
Tuition Rates: $ 129.18 per credit hour
Degree: BA in Digital Arts and Sciences
UF Online is dedicated to offering an educational experience that is both convenient and challenging. These programs allow students to discover how far they can push themselves. This school encourages students to develop leadership abilities and contribute to their communities.
A BA in Digital Arts and Sciences degree from the University of Florida combines technical expertise, creativity, and innovation. This curriculum attracts students who want to pursue a variety of interests, including video game design and digital advertising. The curriculum gives students a lot of hands-on design experience, which helps them construct portfolios and find work. Those seeking the cheapest online graphic design degree should go no farther than this school, which rates first in terms of affordability.
7. Maryville University (St. Louis, MO)
Tuition Rates: $544 per credit hour
Maryville University provides one of the greatest opportunities when it comes to earning a graphic design degree online or on campus. If you’re an on-campus student, for example, the school will give you a free tablet with a variety of apps to assist you access course materials. If you want to get a graphic design degree online, you can do so on a constantly available and very user-friendly platform. With an average class size of roughly 14 people, Maryville’s educators take a hands-on approach with their pupils. This gives you plenty of opportunities to interact with the course teachers throughout the learning process.
8. Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (Denver, CO)
Tuition Rates: $602 per credit hour
Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design focuses on providing students with the skills they need to succeed in a variety of creative design careers. Animation, videography, game art, Graphic Design, and fashion design are just a few of the specialty disciplines available at the college. Students can choose to take their Graphic Design class on campus or through online platforms. The course covers various design topics, including typography, visual storytelling, and written and spoken presentations. The program covers basic and advanced design principles in depth, allowing students to gain the confidence they need while competing against other designers with degrees from different graphic design colleges.
9. Sessions College for Professional Design (Tempe, Arizona)
Tuition Rates: $510 per credit hour
Sessions College for Professional Design is the best choice for an online graphic arts associate’s degree. Students interested in becoming graphic designers with a concentration on print design should enroll in this intensive two-year program. To graduate, you must complete 72 credits, and the online timetable is flexible, with weekly deadlines but no specific login times. The fascinating curriculum, which offers a firm foundation in visual design, modern design techniques, and media, can benefit both recent high school graduates and adult learners.
10. Academy of Art University (San Francisco, California)
Tuition Rates: $380 per credit hour
The Academy of Art University’s graphic design program is regarded as one of the world’s best art and design online programs. Classes are offered in 7.5 and 15-week formats, and the 66-credit program can be completed in four semesters. Each online course is created from the ground up by professors who are also industry experts. Students will gain a solid foundation in design thinking, typography, layout, packaging, and branding as part of the degree program.
Job outlook for people with a Degree in Graphic Design
According to the BLS, Graphic Design job market is expected to expand by 3% between 2020 to 2030. Despite the limited rise in employment, graphic designers are predicted to have roughly 23,900 job opportunities over the next ten years.
The occupations listed below are some of the most in-demand in the field of Graphic Design.
SOURCE: BLS, Employment Projections program
<h2>Salary outlook for people with a Degree in Graphic Design </h2>
According to BLS, the median yearly wage for graphic designers was $50,710 in May 2021. Half of the workers in a given occupation earned more than that amount, while the other half earned less. The bottom 10% of earners made less than $31,310, while the top 10% earned more than $98,260.
The table below shows the median yearly incomes for medical scientists in the top industries where they worked:
|Job Title||Annual Mean Wage|
|Specialized design services||$58,610|
|Advertising, public relations, and related services||$52,050|
|Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers||$ 44,540|
|Printing and related support activities||$ 39,090|
Graphic Designers average salary difference by education level in the United States
High Paying Careers for Graphic Design Majors
Salary for Graphic Design graduates varies greatly depending on the field of study. The chart below shows the top highest-paying jobs for Graphic Design graduates:
SOURCE: BLS, Employment Projections program
Graphic Designer Salary Comparison by Years of Experience
What Can You Do with a Graphic Degree?
Graphic design is a highly versatile field, and your work doesn’t require you to be an expert in one specific area. If you’re interested in Graphic Design, you can enter the field with a bachelor’s degree or choose to earn your graduate degree in the field and get a job as a creative director. Other popular careers for graphic designers include:
- Web designer
- Art directors
- web content manager
- user experience designer
- video editor
Graphic Design Licensure and certification
Although graphic designers are not required to be licensed, a professional certification might help them stand out in the employment market. According to the BLS, software product providers frequently offer graphic design certification. Some postsecondary universities also provide online graphic design certificates.
Professional Associations in Graphic Design
One of the most exciting aspects of graphic Design is its constant evolution.
As a graphic designer, your work is constantly evolving. You will be exposed to new trends and technology, which means that it’s important for you to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in Design. The best way to do this is through professional associations
Some of these organizations include:
- AIGA (American Institute for Graphic Arts)
- Graphic Artists Guild
- International Council for Design
The best way to benefit from these organizations is by attending conferences where you can meet other professionals in your field and hear about their experiences firsthand. Conferences will also allow you to network with potential employers who can hire your services for their companies’ graphic needs!
Is a Graphic Design Degree Worth It?
In the ever-changing, fast-paced world of Graphic Design, a degree in Graphic Design can be an excellent resource. Graphic design degrees ensure that you gain the skills and knowledge needed for a career in Graphic Design.
While it is true that there are many ways to learn the skills necessary to become a successful designer—whether through online learning or through hands-on experience—formal education in Graphic Design is still an important first step. Additionally, while some people have been able to get jobs as graphic designers without formal education, these individuals are few and far between.
A degree can help you distinguish yourself from other potential candidates during your job search and may also provide you with better access to internships and jobs at larger companies.
Having a background in another field, such as art history or computer science, doesn’t necessarily hinder your ability to succeed as a designer. However, employers may be hesitant to hire someone without formal training who has little understanding of how their skills fit into the profession as a whole.
For these reasons, it’s important for students interested in pursuing careers as designers or illustrators to consider earning their degrees before entering the workforce full-time.