Best Online Associate in Multimedia Design Programs

We've ranked the top online associate in multimedia design programs. Compare schools by cost and convenience. Earn your associate degree online.

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by Staff Writer

Updated October 4, 2022

Edited by Taylor Gadsden
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Multimedia design is a multidisciplinary field that includes elements of graphic design, web design, computer graphics, and digital photography. Students can often pursue associate in multimedia design programs, both on campus and online, at community colleges. These two-year programs allow for quick entry into a burgeoning field.

In a digitally-focused world, multimedia design is poised to explode. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 16% job growth for special effects artists and animators between 2020 and 2030. That rate doubles the average projected growth rate for all careers (8%) during that decade. The BLS also projects 13% job growth for web developers and digital designers between 2020 and 2030.

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Ready to start your journey?

Read on to learn more about the top online schools for online associate in multimedia design programs, including common coursework, admission requirements, and career options.

What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Multimedia Design Program?

Like many two-year degrees, most online associate in multimedia design programs require approximately 60 credits and take around two years of full-time study to complete. Students who succeed in these programs are often creative, focused, and entrepreneurial. Learners can develop the hard skills they need to succeed in the field, such as familiarity with certain software, over the course of these programs.

Most associate programs in multimedia design are nominally associate degrees in web design, digital design, computer graphics, or graphic communications. These programs usually do not offer concentrations, as multimedia design is already a relatively specialized field.

Students complete most of the required 60 credits through classroom learning. Some programs may include internship opportunities at design companies in the field. Multimedia design curricula may also include design, photography, or drawing studio or lab courses.

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Popular Online Associate in Multimedia Design Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Multimedia Design Program?

Introduction to Web and Mobile Design

In this survey course, students develop fundamental skills in designing websites and graphics for desktop and mobile devices. Possible covered topics include copyright law, user experience, navigation, and color theory.

Page Layout with InDesign

In this course, students learn page layout using Adobe InDesign. Through projects and individual instruction, learners gain intermediate familiarity with InDesign's tools and techniques.

HTML and CSS

Most digital designers need to know the basics of coding. This course delves into HTML and CSS, two basic languages that students can use to create and design websites.

Introduction to Drawing

In this course, students develop basic drawing skills. Covered topics may include sketching principles and composition. This course often involves several projects.

Portfolio

At the conclusion of many associate in multimedia design programs, students compile their best work into a portfolio that they can submit to employers when seeking jobs.

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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Associate in Multimedia Design Program?

Admission requirements are often the same for on-campus and online associate in multimedia design programs. Most community colleges require students to submit official high school transcripts and hold a high school or GED diploma. These two documents are usually sufficient for admission. In some cases, incoming community college students may be able to earn credit for prior life and work experience.

If you pursue an associate in multimedia design through a four-year school, you may need to submit ACT or SAT scores and 1-3 short essays. Many four-year universities also require applicants to submit 2-3 letters of recommendation from former high school teachers. However, requirements vary by school and by program.

What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Multimedia Design Degree?

Career Outlook

Like any creative field, multimedia design can prove competitive. Emerging professionals must often prove their skills alongside designers who have worked in the field for several years.

Nevertheless, multimedia design is also experiencing a great deal of demand. Between 2020, the BLS projects 16% job growth for special effects artists and animators and 13% job growth for web developers and digital designers. As of May 2020, all of these professionals earned median annual wages from $77,000-$78,000, which exceeds the median annual wage for all occupations by approximately $36,000.

As such, there is significant demand for qualified job candidates. An associate in multimedia design can help you launch a career in the field.

See where an online associate in multimedia design can take you. Learn more about design careers.

Career Paths

Graphic Designer

These professionals design visual materials, both print and digital, often to influence consumers. They can work as freelancers or in house for advertising agencies, public relations groups, and various other types of business. While a bachelor's degree can help you qualify for graphic design positions, what candidates really need is a strong portfolio and skill set.

Median Annual Salary: $53,380

Animator

Animators create moving images and visual effects. They can work as freelancers or for movie studios, advertising agencies, or other businesses. Some positions require a bachelor's degree, but since animation is a skills-based field, the most important qualification is a strong portfolio of relevant work.

Median Annual Salary: $77,700

Digital Designer

Digital designers create the visual layout of websites, focusing on navigation and user experience. They can be self-employed, work for web design companies, or work in house taking charge of a company's web presence. Web design skills are the most important qualification for positions in this field.

Median Annual Salary: $77,200

Film or Video Editor

Film and video editors take raw footage and create a final product. They can work on television shows, movies, and promotional content. These professionals should be in high demand in the near future, as the BLS projects 29% job growth in the field between 2020 and 2030.

Median Annual Salary: $61,900

Art Director

Art directors take charge of all visual style and content for magazines, publications, advertising agencies, and public relations firms. Some art director positions require a relevant bachelor's degree, but most employers look for significant professional experience in the field.

Median Annual Salary: $97,270

Multimedia Design Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

Since multimedia design is a skills-focused field, the best form of continuing education is additional professional experience. You can broaden your skill set as you continue to work on projects. Furthermore, the best multimedia designers stay current on developments in programming languages, design software, and digital trends.

A bachelor's degree in animation or graphic design can also help you advance your career, as some positions list a bachelor's degree as the minimum educational requirement. Both programs are a logical extension of an associate in multimedia design program.

Often, you can apply the credits you earned during your associate program toward a bachelor's degree in web design, animation, or graphic design at a four-year college or university. Check to see if your community college maintains articulation agreements with any local four-year schools.

To demonstrate your skills, you can pursue several professional certifications in the field, including Adobe certified associate.

How Do I Choose an Online Associate in Multimedia Design Program?

Cost

In most cases, an online associate in multimedia design costs a total of $6,000-$24,000. In-state, public universities generally charge lower tuition rates than out-of-state, private schools. The true cost of an associate degree may include additional fees like room and board, housing, or activities. Distance learners can avoid many of these fees by living at home while enrolled.

Program Format

Online students must determine whether synchronous or asynchronous learning fits them better. Synchronous learning involves live, scheduled online course sessions, while asynchronous learning does not. Distance learners who prefer additional structure often prefer synchronous learning, while working professionals and parents often prefer asynchronous learning.

Prospective students must also consider whether they want to enroll full time or part time.

Location

While location may seem unimportant to online students, there are several possible benefits to enrolling at a nearby school. While most online associate in multimedia design programs do not include on-campus requirements, your school may maintain relationships with local employers for internships and job opportunities.

Accreditation

Accreditation is a third-party seal of approval. To earn accreditation, a school must undergo a review process that evaluates its programs and services. You should only enroll at schools that hold accreditation. Otherwise, you cannot receive federal financial aid. Furthermore, employers may not recognize your degree.

Student Support

Before committing to a program, check to see what kind of student services they offer. Possibilities include mentorship opportunities, networking, connections with local alumni, and internship placements. These services can provide additional structure and benefits for online students in particular.

Best Accredited Online Associate in Multimedia Design Programs

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Best Online Associate in Multimedia Design Programs

  1. Brigham Young University-Idaho
    Location

    Rexburg, ID

    Tuition

    $5374

    The Idaho branch of the famous Mormon-affiliated school houses many of the BYU system's best distance learning programs. One of these programs is the university's online associate degree in web design and development, which covers the study of graphic design, information design, interaction design, and typography. Students can choose an emphasis in design or development, and must complete a total of 60 credits over the course of two years.

    BYUI's online associate degree in multimedia design incorporates asynchronous and synchronous formats and allows for plenty of faculty interaction. In order to take online courses at BYUI, students must complete either 15 credits at a BYU-affiliated school or complete the school's proprietary PathwayConnect orientation course. Students with previous BYU credits must have earned a GPA of at least 2.0, while PathwayConnect students must have earned a minimum GPA of 3.0.

  2. Hudson Valley Community College
    Location

    Troy, NY

    Tuition

    $6114

    Located in the Hudson Valley in Troy, New York, HVCC trains web designers nationwide through its online associate of applied science in computer information systems. The program includes a specialization in web design and programming. Students can take courses in database management systems, business analytics with Excel, and information systems analysis and design.

    Because of its asynchronous coursework, HVCC's online associate degree is flexible and has no in-person requirements. The program is also affordable, as all online students are able to pay New York resident tuition. Depending on the electives they choose, students who complete the associate degree can find work as system analysts, application programmers, and web designers. Students can apply in the fall or spring terms.

  3. Mohave Community College
    Location

    Colorado City, AZ

    Tuition

    $7661

    In addition to serving communities in and around Mohave County in Arizona, MCC reaches distance learners nationwide through its associate in applied science degree in computer graphics and web design. Students at Mohave must complete between 60 and 65 credits to earn this multimedia design degree, which usually takes students about two years to complete. Coursework in the program blends the study of business and computer information systems with a general education core.

    Upon graduating, students are well-prepared to work as web and graphic designers, or to transfer to a four-year university to earn a bachelor's degree. There is no minimum GPA requirement for admission, but all incoming MCC students must complete placement tests to ensure they get the most out of their coursework. The school maintains transfer agreements with most Arizona state schools, including a particularly strong connection with Northern Arizona University.

  4. Western Nevada College
    Location

    Carson City, NV

    Tuition

    $10806

    Located in Carson City just east of the California border, Western Nevada College is a regional school that offers nationally acclaimed distance education programs. One such program is the associate in applied science degree in graphic communications, which is an excellent option for students looking to enter the field of web and graphic design. Students in the multimedia degree program must complete at least 60 credits, which most WNC students accomplish in about two years. The curriculum includes courses in drawing, web design, and web animation along with electives in printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, and painting.

    Any student with a high school diploma or GED, six college credits, or placement test scores that demonstrate college readiness gains automatic acceptance to WNC. The school accepts almost all transfer credits earned at regionally accredited universities, and students may complete up to 75% of the credits required for a degree outside the college. To graduate, students must also complete a course in the U.S. and Nevada constitutions.

  5. Lake Washington Institute of Technology
    Location

    Kirkland, WA

    Tuition

    $5905

    Based just outside of Seattle in Kirkland, LW Tech focuses primarily on career education. Because of this commitment, the school's associate degree in digital design prepares its graduates for entry-level positions in web design, mobile content design, and digital publishing. Intended as a transfer curriculum for students who plan to enroll in four-year schools, the program introduces students to drawing, digital photography, motion graphics, and digital publishing.

    Students who earn their multimedia design degree at LW Tech must complete a total of 100 quarter hours. The typical LW Tech multimedia design student finishes in six quarters, or about two years. While out-of-state online students are not eligible for in-state tuition, LW Tech's per-credit tuition rate is remarkably affordable. Transfer students and first-time applicants receive assistance from coaches to help guide them through the admissions process.

Frequently Asked Questions About PROGRAM NAMES

Is an associate degree in multimedia design worth it?

Yes, an associate degree in multimedia design is worth it. Most design fields hire candidates and award promotions based on skills rather than education. You can gain those requisite skills through an associate program in the field.

An associate in multimedia design program teaches you the fundamentals of the field, including HTML, CSS, InDesign, Photoshop, color theory, and basic drawing. You don't always need additional formal education, as the most important strategy for advancement is developing new design skills, gaining experience, and honing core competencies.

How fast can I get an associate in multimedia design degree online?

Like most associate degrees, you can usually complete an online associate in multimedia design program in two years of full-time study. Some schools may offer accelerated programs that allow you to finish in 18 months. In most cases, these programs require you to take certain courses during the summer semester.

Working professionals and parents can enroll part time and take as long as they need to graduate. Asynchronous coursework can also provide these students with the additional flexibility they need.

Is an online associate degree in multimedia design credible?

Provided that you enroll at an accredited school, an online associate in multimedia design is as credible as any other degree. This degree demonstrates foundational knowledge of basic design concepts and theories and familiarity with Adobe InDesign and Photoshop.

However, keep in mind that no degree can guarantee you a job. Especially in a practiced-focused field like digital design, your skills and your portfolio or work are your most important qualifications. You must continue to develop new skills and master industry-standard software to qualify for the best jobs in the field.

How much money can I make with an associate in multimedia design?

According to the BLS, digital designers earned a median annual wage of $77,200 as of May 2020. The top 10% of earners in the field made a median annual wage of more than $146,430 as of May 2020, while the bottom 10% earned less than $40,750.

Associate degree-holders qualify for entry-level jobs in this field, so their initial salaries may be closer to the bottom of that range. However, with additional experience, you can earn much higher salaries.

Keep in mind that salary potential varies widely by employer, field, location, and experience level.

Is an associate degree in multimedia design in high demand?

Yes. According to the BLS, most design careers should experience faster-than-average growth between 2020 and 2030. For example, during that decade, the BLS projects 29% job growth for film and video editors and camera operators, 16% job growth for special effects artists and animators, and 13% job growth for web developers and digital designers.

Nevertheless, no amount of demand can guarantee you a job, so make sure that you continue to gain experience and develop new design skills as your career progresses.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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