• #1. Foothill College ($1,554)
• #2. Wake Technical Community College ($2,768)
• #3. Surry Community College ($2,540)
• #4. Gateway Technical College ($4,369)
• #5. Community College of Vermont ($6,414)
• #6. Sessions College for Professional Design ($8,700)
• #7. Rasmussen College ($10,935)
• #8. Independence University ($16,968)
• #9. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh ($17,014)
• #10. Academy of Art University ($21,252)
Ranking the 10 Top Cheapest Online Graphic Design Degree Programs
For the purposes of this ranking, we focused on affordability alone when selecting the best online associate’s degree graphic design programs, ranking them from least affordable to most affordable. Tuition data was taken from College Navigator.
#10 –Academy of Art University
Online Graphic Design Associate Degree
The online graphic design associate’s degree program from the Academy of Art University is an AA program designed to prepare students for entry-level employment in the industry or for future study in a Bachelor of Fine Arts program. Featured courses for the program include History of Graphic Design, Topics in Motion Graphics, Introduction to Computer Graphics for Animation, and Design Technology: Visual Design Tools. The program facilitates a high level of interactivity through discussion boards, video conferencing, small class sizes, and multimedia feedback. Writing and English language support is available to online associate’s in graphic design students.
In-State Tuition: $21,252
#9 –The Art Institute of Pittsburgh
Online Graphic Design Associate Degree
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh offers a 91-credit hour online associate of science in graphic design. The program is comprehensive and covers topics such as concepts of layout design, industry-specific software applications, color theory, typography, historical and contemporary trends in graphic design, and professional graphic design practices and ethics, for example. Standout course titles include Writing for Interactive Media, Emerging Media in Advertising, Digital Media Campaigns, and Creative and Collaborative Project Management Techniques. Students can earn their online AS in graphic design degrees within just 8 quarters.
In-State Tuition: $17,014
#8 –Independence University
Online Associate’s in Graphic Arts
The 99.5-credit hour online associate’s graphic design degree program from Independence University is offered through the university’s School of Graphic Arts. The program is designed to be completed within 20 months and prepares students for entry to mid-level positions in graphic design of print and web applications. The curriculum for the program is comprehensive and covers topics such as logo and identity design, page layout design, software applications for graphic design, e-commerce, entrepreneurship, and package design, for instance. Specific course titles include Print Production and Color Theory, Beginning Imaging Editing, Page Layout Tools, and Advertising Principles.
In-State Tuition: $16,968
#7 –Rasmussen College
Online Associate’s in Graphic Design
The cheap online associate’s degree program from Rasmussen College features specializations in Animation and Motion Graphics and Web and Interactive Design. The program is designed to be completed in just 18 months and can be taken via a fully online or blended format. Major courses comprising the curriculum for the program include User Experience Design, Introduction to Animation, Drawing from Observation, and Audio/Video Editing, for example. Depending on their chosen specialization, students will also take classes like 3D Lighting, Texturing and Rendering, User-Centered Web Design, and Scripting for Web Services. To earn their online associate’s degrees in graphic design, students will also complete an internship or final design project.
In-State Tuition: $10,935
#6 –Sessions College for Professional Design
Associates in Graphic Design Online
The online graphic design associate’s degree offering from Sessions College for Professional Design is an Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) degree that emphasizes career preparation. Featured courses for the six-semester program include Print Production, Logo Design, Packaging Design, Branding and Identity, and Typography. The curriculum will also help students master software applications like Adobe Photoshop, Illustration, and InDesign. A capstone project and portfolio are also required for students to earn their online associate’s in graphic design degrees.
In-State Tuition: $8,700
#5 –Community College of Vermont
Online AA in Design and Media Studies
The cheap online associate’s in graphic design program from the Community College of Vermont is technically an AA in Design and Media Studies with a concentration in Graphic Design. Program requirements include Introduction to Visual Communications, Storytelling Through Media, and Two-Dimensional Design. Students will also take classes in the focus area such as Graphic Design I and II and Typography, for example. A portfolio is also required for graduation. Career opportunities for online graphic design associate’s graduates include roles as web publishers, illustrators, and graphic designers for newspapers, advertising, and publishing firms or departments.
In-State Tuition: $6,414
#4 –Gateway Technical College
Online Graphic Design Associate Degree
The 60-credit hour online affordable graphic design associate’s offering from Gateway Technical College can be completed fully online or via a blended learning model. The curriculum for the program is prescribed and features course titles such as Advanced Problems in Graphic Design, Web Page Design for Graphic Designers, Advanced Design Concepts, and Graphic Design Professional Practices. Students may also pursue certifications in desktop publishing and digital photography to add to their degrees. Gateway Tech’s online associate’s in graphic design program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and is one of the cheapest online AA in graphic design programs available.
In-State Tuition: $4,369
#3 –Surry Community College
Online Associates in Digital Media Technology: Graphic Design
The cheap associate’s in graphic design online offering from Surry Community College emphasizes the practical application of design skills. Courses comprising the curriculum for the program include Introduction to Digital Media, Art Appreciation, Advanced Graphic Design Tools, and Emerging Technologies in Digital Media. Throughout the duration of the program, students will also hone soft skills such as problem solving, communication, and critical thinking. Certificate programs in graphic design are also available. Graduates of the online associate’s graphic design program will be prepared for careers as graphic artists/designers, web developers, media specialists, interface designers, animation specialists, and more.
In-State Tuition: $2,540
#2 –Wake Technical Community College
Online Associate’s in Advertising and Graphic Design
The cheap online associate’s in graphic design degree program from Wake Technical Community College is an Associate of Applied Science in Advertising and Graphic Design. Coursework can be taken via a fully online or hybrid format. Sample course titles include Drawing Fundamentals, Design Applications, Photographic Imaging, and Technical Illustration. Certificate programs in graphic design are also available, and students have the opportunity to join the school’s Graphic Designer’s Association. Graduates of the associate’s in graphic design online program will go on to work in advertising agencies, design studios, manufacturing industries, printing companies, and related occupational environments.
In-State Tuition: $2,768
#1 –Foothill College
Online Associate in Arts in Graphic and Interactive Design
The 90-unit affordable online associate’s in graphic design and interactive design program from Foothill College is a cheapest online AA program that prepares students for careers in branding, promotions, logo design, web design, illustration, and user experience design. Core courses required for the program include Digital Arts and Graphics, Web Design and Development, History of Graphic Design, and Careers in the Visual Arts, for example. Students will also take support classes like Illustration and Digital Imaging, Fundamentals of 3-D Animation, and Game Art and Design. In addition to this graphic design associate’s online degree program, certificate programs are also available in a variety of sub-fields of graphic design.
In-State Tuition: $1,554
Frequently Asked Questions About Cheapest Online Associate Degree in Graphic Design Programs
Q: How much can I make with an affordable online graphic design associate degree?
A: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), graphic designers made an annual median wage of $48,700 in 2017. That equates to about $23 an hour. Keep in mind that this figure includes those graphic designers with bachelor’s degrees and higher, however, so you may find yourself making less if you only have an online graphic design associate degree, at least at first. A baccalaureate degree and/or graduate degree in graphic design can result in a higher salary.
Q: How long does it take to complete a cheap associate degree in graphic design online?
A: Like other types of associate’s degrees, an online associate’s in graphic design typically takes two years to complete. There are exceptions to this rule, however. For instance, accelerated options are available through some programs, enabling students to complete their degrees in less time. In fact, one such accelerated offering in our ranking gives students the opportunity to earn their graphic design associate’s degrees online in just 18 months. Alternatively, part-time offerings will allow you to take longer than two years to finish your degree requirements if necessary.
Q: Can I complete my affordable associate degree in graphic design entirely online?
A: Yes. There are numerous fully online associate’s in graphic design degree programs available, including those listed in our ranking above. Hybrid programs also exist, allowing you to blend distance education with traditional, on-campus courses.
Q: What’s it like to study in an affordable graphic design online associate’s program?
A: The experience of studying graphic design online will vary from program to program, but there are some similarities. Most online associate’s in graphic design programs are asynchronous, meaning you can log on to your learning platform and complete your work on your own schedule. This means that you should be comfortable working independently most of the time. Still, you can expect to engage with your professors and classmates on a regular basis through tools like online forums, chat rooms, video conferencing, email, and more. Thus, you should be comfortable sharing and discussing your art with others.
Q: What does a graphic designer do once an online graphic design associate degree is earned?
A: The specific tasks you will be asked to complete once hired as a graphic designer will vary, depending upon your employer and your specific role in the workplace. Typically, you’ll use the skills you learned while pursuing your online associate’s in graphic design degree to create logos, develop page layouts, design web content, create advertising campaigns, make illustrations for brochures, and more.
Other Schools Offering a Cheap Associate Degree in Graphic Design Online:
Bryant & Stratton College
Online Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design
Online Associate’s in Digital Arts and Computer Animation
Penn Foster College
Online Graphic Design Associate Degree
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