Online Graphic Design Schools

Insider tips for choosing and succeeding in the right school and career

School Surprises

"Why Online Schools Are More Difficult Than Traditional Ones...
It surprised me how difficult the online program was. I know that it was a Master's program, but the dedication and self-discipline that it took to complete was a shock. The instructors were all very attentive and helpful, but the fact still remains that it is completely different from a tradition school and certainly not for everyone." (Graphic Designer; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Media Design at Full Sail University Online in Florida; completed Master degree in 2012

"Peer Communication...
I was surprised that all the students taking the same course had their own community board. A lot of student planned study groups and meet ups online before meeting." (Freelancer; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, female
School: Studied Interactive Media at Columbus State Community College in Ohio; completed Associate degree in 2012

"Open Communication Between Students And Instructors...
I was surprised at the level of interaction between students and instructors in the online classrooms. There was a lot of communication going on where we could share insights into the lessons or get help from each other. I was also surprised at the open nature of some assignments where students posted their work where everyone could see. In some classes this lead to students using the work of others to get past roadblocks in their own assignments." (graphic design; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied IT- Multimedia Communications at University Of Phoenix in Arizona; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"Online Instructors Are Hit Or Miss...
I had a very wide range of experiences with the online courses. I had a couple instructors that were always available and truly cared for your advancement while others gave little attention to individual students. I still keep in touch with one of my online instructors via email four years after graduating and he has proven to be extremely valuable even post graduation." (Freelance graphic designer; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, female
School: Studied Multimedia at Rasmussen College in Wisconsin; completed Associate degree in 2010

"More Personally Rewarding Than I Imagined...
I was surprised to learn that the instructors took such a personal interest in the students. Having never taken an online course before I was not sure how available or willing the instructors would be. Also, I was surprised to find that the studies were more effective for me as they required a high level of self discipline. I had no idea that such an experience would bring out the best in me personally as far as discipline and willpower was concerned." (graphic designer; 2013)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Web Design And Graphic Arts at Sessions School Of Design in New York; completed Certificate degree in 2006

"More Accepted Than I Anticipated...
I am most surprised by how many others in my field have also taken the online programs to obtain their masters in library science. It now seems to be par for the course, so the speak, and widely acknowledged and accepted by seemingly prestigious institutions one might be applying with." (librarian; 2014)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Library Science at San Jose State University, Masters In Library Sciences in California; completed Master degree in 2008

"Learning From Online Learning...
I was surprised at how much I learned from taking online courses. I was able to take the time and teach myself through the course material and gain quite a bit of knowledge for my career." (Web Designer; 2014)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Web Design at Stark State College in Ohio; completed Associate degree in 2012

"I Was Surprised At The Poor User Interface On The Website...
I was kind of amazed at how obtuse the online interface was. It wasn't bad per say, but it was just unfortunately designed user interface. For example, to download a textbook (if a download was available), I had to go through at least four different systems before I could get it." (Design intern; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Colorado, female
School: Studied Graphic Design at DeVry University in Colorado; completed Associate degree in 2012

"I Was Surprised At The Help And Amount Of Knowledge I Received...
The surprising aspect of obtaining an online degree is how personal each and every professor made it for me. Very attentive. If I was ever stumped on something, I would always have help. It was a 10/10 experience for me. Another really good experience that I didn't think I would be able to experience online, was the amount of knowledge I gained in just my first two years. From design, to psychology, to math - there was so much to learn. The schedule was really nice - balanced it out perfectly with a full-time job too." (Web Designer; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Web Design & Interactive Media at The Art Institute Of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"I Was Surprised At The Efficiency And Helpful Online Classes Were...
I was surprised at how efficient everything was. I came in expecting it to be really laid back and that the teachers were going to take years to respond. I found that I had as much or more work than when I went to school and I was able to talk to my classmates anonymously, which made it easier to open up to people about my mistakes." (graphic design; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at Goldenwest College in California; completed Certificate degree in 2011

"I Though Online Classes Would Be Difficult But They Were Easy...
It was easy and the teachers were always there to help you." (Graphic Designer; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, female
School: Studied Graphic Communications And Design at ITT Technical Institute in Michigan; completed Associate degree in 2012

"I Learned Just As Much As I Had At Previous In-Person Courses...
The online setting was comfortable for me. I was worried it would feel impersonal and rigid, but I learned as much as I have in past in-person courses." (Account Manager; 2014)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Kentucky, male
School: Studied Business at DeVry University in Kentucky; completed Bachelor degree in 2005

"Easy To Connect With Classmates Despite Distance...
I was surprised at how much I was able to connect with classmates despite not seeing them face to face. With the variety of technologies available for video chatting, it was like sitting in the same room with them and doing our group assignments together." (Internet Marketer; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Internet Marketing at Full Sail University in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Deeper Relationship With Faculty...
What surprised me was the relationship I developed with the faculty. Although classes were online, teachers were always available through video conferencing software in order to assist me in different issues. Since the school is Christian, the conversations often went deeper and impacted my life in a very positive way" (Graphic Designer; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at California Baptist University in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Communication Online Is Intriguing...
I found that it was a lot more organized than I thought it was. It took a few weeks to get used to, but after that it was very simple. Communication with the teacher and other students was cool (using video, chat, and forums)." (Graphic Design; 2014)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Art at MiraCosta College in California; completed Associate degree in 2011

"Bare Minimum Training...
I was surprised that a school could offer the bare minimum training and pass it off as real knowledge. I'm glad I went to school; it did land me a job because of the degree I have, but most of my knowledge came from real world on the job training. Not my education I paid for." (Interactive media designer; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, male
School: Studied Web Design at ILIS - They Have A Campus Too, But I Only Participated In Online Courses in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 2008

"Art Direction & Directive...
I was surprised about the ease of communications with the Art Institute online professors, availability throughout the day, and general knowledge. I was amazed by the organization of projects and scheduling, the directions provided on the assignment lists and syllabus keep me on track." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, male
School: Studied Art And Design at The Art Institute in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2007

Career Background

Graphic Designer

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Career Video

Best School Tips

"Write Down Passwords...
Write down your passwords for access to any database. Better to have them stashed safely than needing to shoot a message to the help desk every few days." (Design intern; 2014)

"Use Your Textbooks To Your Advantage...
Use your textbooks to your advantage. Even when certain chapters aren't covered in testing material, they may help you with classes later on in the program." (Internet Marketer; 2014)

"Tutoring Services Are 24/7 - Don't Be Shy To Ask For Help...
Don't be shy to ask for help - tutoring has helped me through some very hard times. Even if it's online, professors have a set schedule and sometimes they may not be available in times of need. Tutoring services are 24/7." (Web Designer; 2014)

"Stay Focused While Class Is "In Session"...
Try to minimize distractions when online classes are "in session". You are essentially working from home, and some people will find themselves pulled in other directions rather than focusing on their studies." (Account Manager; 2014)

"Set Aside Study Time...
Make sure for every hour of online class time that you set aside two hours of study time. This will ensure proper retention of the information." (Web Designer; 2014)

"Save All Of Your Learning Materials For Future Reference...
Save the materials provided to you by the school on your own computer so that you can look at the material even after the class is over. This will allow you to retain the lessons that were taught and help you not to forget it all." (graphic design; 2013)

"Remember To Email And Email Often. Students Should Use Discussion Boards Often, It Is Free Tutoring...
Always check your email. Always email as soon as you have a problem. Do not wait. Most teachers are not lenient enough and some do not check their emails often. Also there is usually a discussion board where students ask each other for help. Take advantage of this! This is free tutoring, and it helps you understand the subject better through experimentation." (graphic design; 2013)

"Preparedness And Attention To The System Will Work Wonders...
Make sure that you are comfortable and prepared doing all of your communication through text, for the most part. It is a bit more consuming to learn only through text and videos and in person experience. However, with the right approach you can do it just as well as in person classes." (Graphic Design; 2014)

"Online Degree Is Not Just Online...
Do not accept the online program as simply an online degree, in order to truly get the most out of an online program you still need to do a lot of work offline, such as networking and visiting campus (if you have one nearby)." (Freelance graphic designer; 2014)

"Online Instructors Will Guide You...
Research the college before entering a school's online degree. It interested, don't be hesitant, the communication with instructors is efficient and will help guide your learning assignment to assignment." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

"On Campus Tutoring...
Take advantage with the on campus tutoring it will help you in the long run if you are having trouble with out online class" (Graphic Designer; 2014)

"Must Have Basic Computer Knowledge...
Make sure you have enough computer knowledge about browsers and familiarize yourself with certain plugins. You will need to know the difference and be able to install small plugin to your browser." (Interactive media designer; 2013)

"Make Sure To Ask Tons Of Questions...
Ask as many questions as you can of the instructors when you have the chance, and, be sure to take notes about your questions so that you can submit a detailed list of those questions. If you don't ask when you have the chance, that chance can disappear quickly." (graphic designer; 2013)

"It Will Not Be Easy...
The best tip that I can give is to not go into it thinking that it will be easy because no one is over your shoulder making sure that the work is done. To the contrary, it will be far more difficult." (Graphic Designer; 2014)

"Get Familiar With The System. Practice What You Learn Regularly...
First is to get familiar with online system because it involves knowing your way around some software programs and web pages. Second and most importantly, practice what you learn. Graphic design is about getting your hands dirty and playing around with the software programs involved. Don't just stick to theory. Practice Photoshop, practice Illustrator, InDesign, etc..." (Graphic Designer; 2014)

"Get An Internship While Taking Classes...
Look into getting internships or assistant positions in your field while you are going to school! This really helped me find a job quickly once I was finished -- I already had some experience, and now I also had the degree." (librarian; 2014)

"Be Self Motivating And Organized...
Spend a lot of time getting organized and motivating yourself." (Freelancer; 2014)