6 Practical Reasons to Earn Your Graphic Design Degree Online
You’re used to sitting in a classroom while you learn, surrounded by other students, with the teacher front and center to instruct you and answer any questions. But thanks to the digital age, a growing number of college students are turning to technology in pursuit of online degrees. Almost three million college students are enrolled in fully online degree programs — and you could be one of them!
As you consider getting your graphic design degree online, you might be wrestling with some tough questions. Is online learning realistic for this career? If you want to be a graphic designer, why choose an online degree over one earned in a classroom?
You may be skeptical of online learning, but graphic design is one field where getting your degree online could actually be an advantage! With some help from experts, we’ve compiled a list of six practical reasons to earn your graphic design degree online. Read on to discover if you’re ready to dive into online learning.
6 benefits of an online graphic design degree
1. You’ll learn to communicate about design
Many people think online learning looks like a student staring at a computer in complete isolation, with no hope of contact with other students or an actual professor. It’s time for a reality check! A graphic design career requires plenty of human interaction between the designer and the employer or client. Getting your online degree in graphic design provides many opportunities to prepare you for working with others in your future career by connecting with your peers and faculty.
Living in our world of technology means much of your communication in your graphic design career will take place via email, video chat or other online methods. Getting your graphic design degree online is the perfect way to prepare you for these real-world situations.
Rasmussen College offers an online service called Campus Connect classrooms. This high-definition conferencing system allows students to attend a class in a classroom that is interconnected with other campuses across the country. "Students at many locations can interact with their professor and fellow students live, just as if everyone was in the same room,” says William Sattelmeyer III, department chair of graphic design at Rasmussen College. This setup is similar to the way you may communicate with colleagues and clients in your graphic design career.
2. You’ll become more tech savvy
Graphic design is becoming a highly digital industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there’s a decline in design jobs related to print — but jobs related to computer systems design are expected to grow by 21 percent! Up-and-coming designers need to be tech savvy if they want to be competitive in the job market.
What better way to get ahead in the field of graphic design than to earn your degree by using technology? “Online weekly modules, readings, video lectures, quizzes, discussion boards, projects and critiques are all technological components in our online graphic design program,” says Todd Smith, department chair of studio and digital arts at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
A student’s success in an online degree program depends on their ability to use technology access and complete the assignments. This shows prospective employers that you’re willing to go above and beyond in learning new tech skills.
3. You can manage your own environment
Many graphic design jobs are best suited for independent workers, people who enjoy spending hours being creative in their own space before meeting up with their team later to discuss their progress. Online graphic design programs are perfect for personality types who enjoy working solo, keeping flexible hours and being in charge of their own space.
“Many classroom-based graphic design programs require long studio hours, which can be difficult for people with jobs and families,” says Anitra Nottingham, online director for the school of graphic design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
Nottingham explains that online graphic design programs allow students to determine where they complete their projects and log hours instead of needing to physically be present in a design studio on campus for a certain amount of time each week.
4. You’ll hone skills you need as a graphic designer
“In the design field, deadlines are often short, and designers have to call upon the creative muse when needed and not wait for inspiration to strike. That takes discipline,” Sattelmeyer says.
Urgency is part of a graphic designer’s career. A deadline will be moved up, or a client will request a last-minute change. But don’t let it scare you. Your online degree can prepare you for situations like these.
Online graphic design programs are structured so that students are responsible for managing their own timeline so their assignments are turned in on time. While it may take some practice with the first assignments, online learners in a graphic design program develop discipline in time management that will directly prepare them for their design career.
5. Employers value online learning
Maybe you’re wondering whether an online degree puts you on equal footing with job applicants who have a classroom-based degree. The answer is yes.
Online graphic design degrees include courses that are as rigorous and relevant as courses offered in a classroom setting — a fact employers are well aware of. Success in an online program will be advantageous as you search for a career. If you are looking for a more convenient option for graphic design, rest assured that an online degree would not detract from your job prospects.
In fact, your job prospects as a graphic designer may be even better for those experienced with various forms of media. An online degree shows you are comfortable with technology, which is an attractive attribute — especially in the graphic design industry.
6. You’ll up your online communication skills
A career in graphic design will almost inevitably require you to communicate with people across the globe in a professional manner. You’ll need to be able to use technology — especially email — to convey your design ideas to your clients.
Earning your graphic design degree online is the perfect way to develop these written skills, because you’ll have many opportunities to explain and deliver your projects to professors through email. You’ll also learn how to receive and implement their feedback on your designs through email.
Is it your time to learn online?
If you’re hesitant about choosing the online route to become a graphic designer, we hope these six benefits will help change your mind. Online learning might not be for everyone, but it’s clear that earning a graphic design degree online can give you big advantages in the design field.
Ready to take the next step in pursuing a graphic design degree, either online or in the classroom? Check out our article: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Rasmussen College Graphic Design Program.