Graphic Arts Degree Program

Earn your specialized associate degree in graphic arts at our State College, Pennsylvania, campus.
Accredited by ACCSC
Licensed by the PA Department of Education, Department of Private Licensed Schools

Program Highlights:

What You Need to Know About Our Graphic Arts AST Degree

With so much of our lives and jobs being conducted online and through computers, the role of digital graphic design has become key to how we work and function. The field of graphic arts combines creative, artistic work with the latest in computer technology to transform everything from the websites and apps we use to the advertisements we see and more. With the Associate of Specialized Technology Degree in Graphic Arts from South Hills School of Business & Technology, you can gain the skills you need to step into a dynamic, ever-changing career that unites the worlds of art and tech.

At South Hills, we update our graphic arts curriculum regularly and give you hands-on training so you know you’ll study the most up-to-date software and best practices used in your field today.

Our experienced instructors cover topics like:

  • Applying fundamental traditions of design through concept development, color, composition, image making, typography, and verbal and written communication
  • Engaging in creative problem solving to produce solutions that are effective in visually communication information about products, services, companies, or individuals
  • Creating graphic design using software like Adobe Creative Suite, as well as website design and productivity software commonly used in the graphic arts industry
  • Understanding publishing, packaging, and social media and marketing and how it applies the graphic arts field
  • Using either digital photography or video production and editing skills to augment and expand on your digital design career
  • Creating a complete print and digital portfolio that reflects the professional skills acquired through both education and continued on-the-job designs


We include a 12-week internship with one of our partner employers as part of your program, so you’ll have the opportunity to put what you’ve learned to work. Previous internship locations have included:


Why You Should Choose South Hills?

South Hills School of Business & Technology has been in the business of helping our students gain the specialized career skills they need for over 50 years. We know that we can help you, too, as you prepare for your future career. Here are just a few reasons why:


Small class sizes

Graphic Arts
It’s important to us that each of our students feels seen, both in what they need out of their education and what their goals are. It’s why we keep our class sizes small, so you can build a personal relationship with your teachers.

Internship and Networking Opportunities

Graphic Arts
Every specialized degree program we offer at South Hills includes a 12-week internship component, which gives you not only hands-on experience, but also a chance to network and connect with our partner organizations.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Graphic Arts
Finances shouldn’t stand in the way of you being able to train for the career you want. South Hills offers a number of ways to help pay for your program for those who qualify. Grants, loans, and special funding for veterans are just some of the possibilities we can explore with you, and our Financial Aid team is available to help you navigate these options.

Experienced Instructors

Graphic Arts
Our instructors are also experienced professionals who know what it takes to be successful in the job market. Marketing and management classes are taught by market consultants, coordinators, and skilled leaders who incorporate their experience into the curriculum.

The Outlook for Graphic Arts Jobs and Careers

The Graphic Arts program at South Hills is designed to prepare you for entry-level jobs like:

  • Multimedia Specialist
  • Graphic Designer
  • Web Designer
  • Social Media & Marketing Coordinator
  • Creative Director
  • UX Designer
  • Videographer 
  • Publication Designer
  • Advertising Coordinator 
  • Freelance Designer 
  • Pre-Press Specialist 
  • Illustrator

There is a consistent need for new, skilled graphic designers in today’s workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 24,000 job openings for graphic designers are expected each year on average, as people currently employed in graphic arts either shift to different positions or retire.

With a specialized associate degree in graphic arts, you also lay the foundation to increase your opportunities for success. The BLS found that people who earned their specialized associate degrees average almost 20% higher wages and had an unemployment rate two percentage points lower than those who had only a high school diploma. A specialized associate degree is also a potential jumping off point to getting your bachelor’s degree or even master’s degree later on as you advance in your career.

A Closer Look at Our Graphic Arts Classes

The Graphic Arts AST Degree at South Hills is an on-campus program that features small class sizes and more opportunities for individualized attention.


Our GA curriculum consists of 119.5 credits that can be completed in just 2 years. It includes courses like: Fundamentals of Design, Color Theory, Video Production & Editing, Social Media and Marketing for Designers, and Advanced Web Site Design.

Complete Course List

Graphic Arts Course List

Graphic Arts Course List for 2023-24

TermCourse #Course NameCreditsClock Hours
First TermGE183Business English I OR460
GE114Business English I*460
GA116Color Theory2.536
GA133Electronic Design460
GA130Fundamentals of Design460
GA120Fundamentals of Drawing360
PD110Professional Development224
Second TermGE184Business English II460
GA128Collateral Design3.560
GE234Geometry for Design336
GA124Introduction to Computer Graphics (Photoshop)460
GE213Oral Business Communications224
Third TermGA230Advertising Design3.560
GE231Art History for the Graphic Designer560
GE233Business Writing3.560
GA225Computer Graphics - Illustrator460
GA121Graphic Design Studio I3.560
CP134Web Site Design460
Fourth TermGA217Concept Development2.536
GE178Human Relations in the Workplace2.536
CD207Job Search Skills224
GA220Packaging Design3.560
GA222Publication Design3.560
GA235Social Media and Marketing for Designers460
IT218Web Site Design II460
Fifth TermGA236Advanced Web Site Design (Motion Graphics)460
GA228Digital Pre-Press3.560
GA219Graphic Design Studio II3.560
GA221Print Portfolio3.560
GA227Typography - Expressive & Experimental348
GA231Digital Photography3.548
GA233Video Production and Editing3.548
Sixth TermCD106Career Preparation0.510
GA232Freelance Business Development221
GA234Graphic Arts Internship11330
119.5 Credits1,993 Clock Hours

Hear From Our Alumni

Deciding to further my education with South Hills has been one of the best decisions for my career choice. Choosing to attend a hands-on school that focuses solely on the traits I needed to be successful, really helped me advance in being confident when applying for jobs. Graduating from South Hills set me up for success with having all the skillsets that I needed to step right into a role with the confidence I needed.

Tiara Snare

Meet the Faculty

Jim Colbert

Interim Program Coordinator

Ray Liddick