In the visual world that we are living in, artists are becoming more and more in demand. Graphic designers, who create the visual imagery many of us see every day with the use of digital mediums, are one of the most sought-after career fields, as these creators can work in a variety of fields, from business to marketing, and even become self-employed. And with graphic design jobs expected to grow 13 percent through 2018, students who find themselves studying for a career in graphic design will find themselves in high demand.
But what is graphic design, exactly? It is the art of creating visuals for a variety of platforms, such as billboards, bus ads, and web banners, using a combination of technology and art. And it is a highly in-demand skill, with 52 percent of marketing and advertising executives having trouble to find skilled creative professionals. In fact, a graphic designer has somehow developed all visual marketing we see in our day-to-day lives.
Graphic design is a highly competitive field, and the beginning graphic designer salary begins around $45,000 a year, with impressive potential for growth. And when students of graphic design enter a degree, whether online or on-campus, they start to curate a graphic design portfolio that puts them ahead of the pack when it comes to looking for work in the open marketplace.
However, it can be difficult to know where to begin looking for the right school to obtain a degree in graphic design, especially if you have obligations that prevent you from attending classes on campus. Even so, some universities understand your need and drive to complete your education and have therefore provided you with the ability to obtain a bachelor’s in graphic design. These programs are available online, without the need for a trip to the campus, making it fast, easy, and affordable for most budding graphic designers.
Academy of Art University
Academy of Art University is the highest rank of all online graphic design schools on this list and is the largest private arts and design school in the country. It is a privately-owned for-profit art school that is headquartered in San Francisco, California, offering undergraduate and graduate programs in all art fields.
The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the National Association of Schools of Arts and Design. Many of the degrees at Academy of Art University have received specialized accreditations as well.
The online portal of Academy of Art University is the most extensive of any arts and design school, with over 40 art-related degrees available to all undergraduate and graduate levels. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design can also be found online, providing students with a top-tier program taught by some of the finest professionals working in the field today.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public research university with campuses within the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area. It has been ranked first among all universities as the most innovative university in the country.
ASU is the largest university in the U.S., with its student body numbering close to 90,000 students across five campuses and four regional learning centers. It is the leading example of the “New American University” model.
This university currently has 16 colleges and schools, not including its online portal. There are over 250 areas of study available at all levels of education, with particular attention paid to technology and digital sciences.
ASU Online has a variety of degrees available, as well as separate courses for graphic arts students. Among the offerings stands a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design, giving creative-minded students a chance to explore digital art through theory, methodology, and online projects that transform into a full portfolio upon graduation.
Art Institute of Pittsburgh
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh was founded in 1921 and is a private, for-profit art and design college that is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a school with a dedication to educating and preparing its students for employment within the creative job market. It is accredited by The Middle States Commission on Higher Education and The Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools.
The college established itself as an independent art and illustration school and graduated such creative and famed watercolor artists like Frank Webb or the science fiction illustrator Frank Kelly Freas. It has since moved many of its degrees towards the online world as a way to provide world-class art education to students from around the world.
The online division of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh is semi-autonomous, and operates largely independent of the college itself, providing a healthy range of programs for creative students. Students can earn a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design solely from their online experience, crafting a portfolio throughout their time studying to showcase potential employers once they graduate.
Established in 1966 as a private, non-profit university, Bellevue University is located in Bellevue, Nebraska with the explicit mission of focusing on adult education for working and second-career students. It is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Programs offered at this school can be learned in a variety of ways, with accelerated and cohort programs available to provide students with flexible schedules and curriculums that fit the needs of adults with full-time lives and jobs.
A Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design is an accredited degree that can be earned through Bellevue University’s online portal. This course is a multidisciplinary program, with students engaging in a wide variety of associated fields to graduate with a full understanding of technology, the graphic arts, and how the two work together.
Berkley College, which was founded in 1931, is a for-profit college that specializes in business and professional studies across a wide variety of disciplines. It has campuses located in the states of New York and New Jersey. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
This college offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 30 areas of study from four different schools, including a graduate school. It is also home to Berkeley College Online, which offers 30 degrees and certificates, all available on the website at the student’s convenience.
Berkeley College Online provides the same services as many of the other online design schools on this list, and they take the time to provide their students with art theory they can then apply to their chosen degree. For a budding graphic designer, the school grants the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree, a world-class title that offers students the chance to combine real experience with the theory that drives graphic design today.
California Baptist University
California Baptist University was established in 1950 and is a private, Christian liberal arts university that is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It is located in Riverside, California.
CBU has 10 colleges, schools, and divisions, including an online division, encompassing the full array of disciplines that can be found at the postsecondary education level. Courses range from Health Sciences to Christian Ministries, with various departments receiving special accreditation.
CBU Online offers a unique degree for online graphic design students — the Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Digital Media. This degree prepares students for their first courses to enter the competitive field of digital design, giving them on-hands experience and a strong foundation in theory and art history to take with them into the job market.
DeVry University is a for-profit university that is located in Downers Grove, Illinois, with over 50 campuses in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. It holds regional accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission.
The school offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs across five colleges, and it also grants graduate certificates on a rolling basis. The school is primarily an undergraduate institution, granting associate and bachelor’s degrees, with most master’s degree programs being granted from The Keller Graduate School of Management.
DeVry University is best known for its online portal, which is nationally ranked as one of the best online bachelor’s programs, as cited by the U.S. News and World Report. While the most popular programs online continue to be attributed to Keller Graduate School of Management, the Bachelor’s in Multimedia Design and Development degree is gaining traction as one of the best graphic design programs for creative students.
Full Sail University
Full Sail University was established in 1979 as a training school for students interested in learning about the production aspect of the entertainment and music industries. It is a for-profit university located in Winter Park, Florida. It is nationally accredited by The Accrediting Commission of Career Colleges and Schools.
Full Sail grants degrees in 49 different programs and 2 graduate certificates. Notable alumni include Oscar Award winner Gary Rizzo and Darren Lynn Bousman, a noted screenwriter and filmmaker who oversaw much of the SAW franchise.
Full Sail University Online is a comprehensive online portal with undergraduate and graduate degrees that span fashion, filmmaking, sound design, music production, and digital design. The school is popular for its Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design degree, which offers graphic designer concentrations in Print and 2D, Motion Graphics, Interactive Design, and Portfolio Development.
Herzing University was founded in 1965 as a non-profit, career-focused university that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a broad range of disciplines. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is an accredited member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It is headquartered in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, with 11 campuses in eight U.S. states.
Perhaps the most interesting part of Herzing University is the passion that the school exhibits for online learning. Throughout the online portal, students can partake in the school’s nationally ranked online bachelor’s programs in disciplines such as design, public safety, and business.
The school offers the Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design degree with two concentrations — Print Design and Web Design. The classes, student services, and faculty are all available online, with many courses being self-paced for students who have other obligations. It is the perfect fit for adult students and second-career creatives.
Hodges University, established in 1990 and known until 2007 as International College, is a private, non-profit university that has a main campus in Naples, Florida, and a sister campus in Fort Myers, Florida. It is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, offering degrees up to master’s level.
This school is known for their online university, providing many of the same degree programs as the school campus. The school is based on UPOWER, which is a self-paced learning program designed to allow students the ability to accelerate the time it takes to complete a degree. This program also grants life experience credits, which is perfect for working and second-career students.
For art students, this school grants an online graphic design degree. The Bachelor of Science in Digital Design and Graphics degree is perfect for digital designers and artists who use the computer as a medium for their creativity.
LA Film School - Online
The Los Angeles Film School, established in 1999, is a for-profit college that offers undergraduate degrees in entertainment industry majors. It is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, the Directors Guild of America, as well as the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education. It is located in Los Angeles, California. It currently holds a 70 percent job placement rate for students within a year of their graduate.
Apart from its campus offerings, which run the gamut of every conceivable job within the entertainment industry, Los Angeles Film School has an online school that offers a more selective group of degrees. The school offers a range of online services, including career development during and after school, a student advisor, tech support, and a media center with materials that are needed for completing a degree.
Los Angeles Film School offers a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design and is one of the best online design schools for students. Along with the support from the faculty, online students can expect to receive a laptop computer with Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft pre-installed for use.
Liberty University Online
Liberty University is a private, non-profit Christian university that is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It also holds accreditations for 60 of its programs. It is located in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Since the summer of 2015, Liberty University offered 522 programs, 247 of which can be found in the online school, known as Liberty University Online. The online school provides a world-class education experience with Christian leanings and currently serves 100,000 students online.
A variety of online graphic design courses can be found online, which can culminate into a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. It focuses on providing students with art theory and history as well as real-world practice in the art and design areas of the digital space. This program is best suited for students who wish to pursue a career as an illustrator, game designer, animator, or a web designer.
Rasmussen College was founded in 1900 and is a private college, as well as holding the title of a Public Benefit Corporation. It is headquartered in Bloomington, Minnesota, but operates over 20 campuses across the country. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The school offers associate and bachelor degrees in more than 70 programs across seven schools. Degrees span a variety of fields, with most programs being dedicated to design, business, and technology.
Rasmussen College also opened an online division in 2002, offering certificates, diplomas, and associate and bachelor degrees. Each school has at least one program that is housed online.
The most popular, however, is the online design degree, the Bachelor’s in Graphic Design. It comes with two specializations — Web and Interactive Design, as well as Animation and Motion Graphics.
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design
Established in 1973, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design is a private, for-profit art and design college that is located in Lakewood, Colorado. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and School and is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Arts and Design.
RMCAD is also an innovative school, bringing many of their fine arts degrees online for students who live and work around the world. It is known for providing excellent student support as well as career services, and alumni have consistently praised the school for its dedication to online offerings.
Among those offerings is the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree. As stated on the school’s online portal, this title is unique as it focuses on human-centered design rather than the application of software, ensuring that students graduate from this program as well-rounded a well-established graphic designers.
Savannah College of Art and Design
Savannah College of Art and Design, also known as SCAD, is a private non-profit university that was established in 1978. It is headquartered in Savannah, Georgia, with campuses in Hong Kong and France. SCAD is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
SCAD was created with the express dedication to providing degrees in programs that were not yet offered in the South at the time of establishment. It is known as one of the best schools in the country for graphic designers and artists to attend, offering a variety of fine arts degrees to a selective group of students.
The college is divided into eight schools, all of which have an online home on SCAD’s website. Students with an eye towards receiving an online graphic arts degree will find that the school provides a Bachelor’s of Art and a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Graphic Design that can be earned entirely online, with the support of the school’s faculty through internet communication.
Southern New Hampshire University Online
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, non-profit university that is located in between Manchester and Hooksett, New Hampshire. It holds regional accreditation by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Colleges and Schools. Many of its programs hold specialized accreditation.
SNHU offers undergraduate and graduate degrees up to the doctoral level from four schools. This school is also known for its massive online portal, which currently sees more than 60,000 students enrolled during the academic year.
The school’s online campus offers more than 200 degrees online, all with a focus on career. It also boasts one of the lowest tuition rates in the nation. And, as one of the top online graphic design schools in the country, it is a school where students that graduate with the Bachelor’s of Arts in Graphic Design and Media Arts degree can find employment in as little as six months by the time they graduate.
Stevens-Henager College is a private, non-profit college that was established in 1891. The main campus is located in Ogden, Utah, but there are five campuses in total, both in Idaho and Utah, that make up this college. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, but it does not hold regional accreditation.
This school offers degrees in medicine, healthcare, business, accounting, computers, and graphic arts. Stevens-Henager also practices a policy of full transparency with their students, offering students the ability to check the price of their education, including tuition, books, and a personal computer, before they even apply. This policy has been praised by students and alumni.
Stevens-Henager has a history of presenting students with online graphic design courses through their website. To this end, the school now offers a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Arts. In this degree, students marry theoretical study with hands-on practice in creating projects, becoming well-rounded graduates who go on to enter the creative arts field as skilled professionals.
University of Florida
The University of Florida is a public land-grant, sea-grant, space-grant research university that was established in 1853 and makes its home in Gainesville, Florida. It is a member of the Association of American Universities and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
This school is one of the most diverse universities in the country, maintaining the 12th highest enrollment rate for international students. It is ranked in the top five for a number of undergraduate and graduate degrees awarded to minorities.
The University of Florida is also home to UF Online, which houses top-tier degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. And through Digital Worlds, the online institute for digital studies, students will find a pathway to an online graphic design degree. The school offers a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts & Sciences, which is an interdisciplinary program that blends technology and design through self-paced projects.
University of Maryland University College
The University of Maryland University College is a public university located in Adelphi, Maryland, that also offers programs throughout the state as well as all over the world. It is a member of the University System of Maryland.
UMUC is one of the largest distance learning universities in the world, annually serving 90,000 students worldwide. It is also one of the only universities to have a 100 percent acceptance rate for its undergraduate programs, making it accessible to all students who are looking to further their education.
The university currently offers 120 total academic programs, many of which can be found online, and spanning undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. For students interested in taking online graphic design courses, UMUC offers a Bachelor’s in Digital Media and Web Technology, focusing on teaching students how to use design software, building websites, creating graphic designs, and more.
Upper Iowa University
Upper Iowa University is a private university located in Fayette, Iowa. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The school offers more than 40 majors at undergraduate and graduate level.
This school is known for their distance education efforts, operating 15 centers across the United States and three in Asia, with an independent study program. It also has a flourishing online program that has been nationally ranked by Best Buy Rankings and the Online Education Database Online College Rankings since 2007.
UIU offers close to 30 bachelor’s degrees online, including a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design for students who want to pursue a career as a graphic designer. The program is fully available online and is supported by the school’s digital arts faculty. The online school even has its own Online Program Student Support service, dedicated to troubleshoot any problems an online student may face.