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What Degree Do You Need to Become a Graphic Designer?

Learn which kind of college degree will help you become a graphic designer in this Howcast video featuring web design consultant Chanelle Henry.


Oh, so you want to know what degree you need to become a designer? So, the first thing that comes to mind is money, right? So, it's like "Oh, no. How much money is it going to take to be able to learn all these awesome skills needed so that I can be the best designer of the world"? Or maybe you just want to know how to use Photoshop?

Depending upon what it is that you want to know depends upon the degree that you want to get. I always would urge against everyone getting a four-year degree. Why? Because it shows people that you're dedicated. It shows people that "Hey, I stuck to something for four years." But then, that's kind of like an outdated way of thinking. Because nowadays, whenever you're looking for a job, yeah it may say, especially in the design field, it may say "Yes, we need a bachelor's of arts in fine arts or an understanding of fundamental art like, whatever." Or "We need a master's in psychology or human and computer interaction to get a UX job."

At the end of the day, well, out of those job transcriptions translate into, is that we just want to know that you have enough experience to know what you're doing. One of the things, that, I come from a background of a bachelor's in psychology. I have an associate's in liberal arts. I have like a ton of different certifications in IT. And then, I also, I went to Creative Circus for their programs.

One of the things where what really shines is your portfolio. What really shines is your presence when you go to talk to a client or when you go talk to a potential employer. What really shows is just who you are and how well you've branded yourself. And how well you're able to show "This is my thought process." What people want to know is how you think and how well you're able to articulate that thinking into something that's like visually appealing.

Does that take a degree? No. Does it take an awesome portfolio? Yes. Can you get a job without a degree? Yes. Can you get a job without a portfolio? Maybe not. You can get an internship which can help and then the way to do that is to really, again, show that you know what you're doing and what you're talking about. So, can you teach yourself design? Yes. There's many different schools that you can even check out and you always make sure that even if it may not be something that you're initially interested in, that you're making sure that the school is going along with the time.

So, if they're just going to teach you print, it's probably not the best school to go to. If they have an offer to teach you interactive, especially in this world right now, then that's something you should really look into. So, the question, I feel like the best way to answer this question is that if you need a degree is to decide, which branch of design you actually want to do. Find a mentor or somebody that you really, really admire in that field and see what they did. And see if maybe you can even be their apprentice or see what it takes to get into that field. The best way is always to learn by doing.

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