Graphic design is a professional field in which people can enter through a number of different avenues. A person can attend a regular college or university and obtain a 4-year degree in graphic design or a related field. In the alternative, junior and community colleges oftentimes offer 2-year degree programs in graphic design. An individual can also study graphic design at an art school. Finally, there are individuals who pursue successful careers in graphic design without any degree. You may wonder whether it looks better for an employee to have a degree in graphic design from an art school or a traditional college.

As with many things in life, including in the realm of education and career, the answer to this question is not exactly clear cut. A number of factors come into play when determining whether an employee “looks better” with a degree from an art school or a traditional college.

Boutique Firm Employee

If a person is to be employed by a boutique firm as a graphic designer, studying graphic design at an art school may be the best course to take. There is an intimacy and individuality to a smaller or boutique firm that aligns well with a person who studied in an art school setting as opposed to what some might suggest is a bit more sterile college or university setting.

Larger Firm or Corporation

Some graphic designers obtain employment at larger firms or in corporations or major organizations. In these types of settings, obtaining a graphic design degree from a traditional college or university may make the most sense. A key reason why obtaining a graphic design degree from a traditional college or university as opposed to an art school in these types of situations is that a degree of this nature may provide a bit more clout for the employee.

Timing of Degree

In contemplating whether it makes more sense to obtain a graphic design degree from an art school or traditional college, the matter of the time investment needs to be considered. Typically, a person can obtain a degree in graphic designs quicker at an art school than at a traditional college. Indeed, a person may be able to complete an art school graphic design program in 18 months.

On the other hand, obtaining a degree in a university setting would require a time investment of about four years. The exception is if the student elected to go to the junior or community college route. In that situation, the time degree typically would be two years.

Cost and What Looks Better

While decent arguments about obtaining a graphic design degree from an art school or a traditional college can be made, what “looks better” may need to take a backseat to issues involving costs of education. The cheapest course of obtaining a degree in graphic design likely is attending a junior or community college. Art schools tend to be pricy endeavors. In addition, depending on the college or university selected, a 4-year graphic design degree might carry a significant price tag.

In the end, the type of graphic design degree can impact a person’s ability to excel in a particular work environment. With that said, the source of degree is not the only issue when it comes to enjoying success as a graphic designer. An evolving profession, what is an important background and experience set for a graphic designer is undergoing something an evolution as well, according to Forbes.

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