Graphic Arts Degree Program

Earn your specialized associate degree in graphic arts at our State College, Pennsylvania, campus.

Our Graphic Arts Program At-a-Glance

  • Earn your specialized degree in just 2 years
  • Accredited by ACCSC
  • Licensed by the PA Department of Education, Department of Private Licensed Schools

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:

  • Flyland Designs
  • Centre County Gazette
  • Barash Media
  • DePiro Entertainment
  • Pneu-Dart
  • Penn State University
 
 

The Outlook for Graphic Design Jobs and Careers

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

  • Graphic Artist
  • Graphic Designer
  • Web Designer
  • Graphic Design Specialist
  • Illustrator
  • Visual Communication Artist
  • Catalog Layout Artist
  • Marketing Communication Professional
     

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.

Why You Should Choose South Hills?

Start designing on day one.

Graphic Arts
You’ll develop your creative process, graduating with a versatile print portfolio and well-rounded website, ready to hit the ground running in your Graphic Arts career.

Small class sizes.

Graphic Arts
Keeping our student-to-faculty ratios low ensures you receive the kind of one-on-one attention and mentorship you need to succeed.

Experienced instructors.

Graphic Arts
You’ll learn from working professional designers, including professional copywriters, art directors, and videographers, with experience in every facet of the field.

Real-world job insights.

Graphic Arts
A second-year internship will give you critical exposure to the current state of the industry.
 

Student Internship Locations


  • Flyland Designs
  • Centre County Gazette
  • Barash Media
  • DePiro Entertainment
  • Pneu-Dart
 

A Practical Curriculum

The Graphic Arts program prepares students to:

  • Apply fundamental traditions of design through concept development, color, composition, image making, typography, and verbal and written communication.
  • Engage in creative problem-solving to produce effective solutions in visually communicating information about products, services, companies, or individuals.
  • Create graphic design using software including Adobe® Creative Suite and website design and productivity software commonly used in the graphic arts industry.
  • Create a complete print and digital portfolio that reflects the professional skills acquired through project-based curriculum and a second-year internship.

Using well-known software and resources, our faculty will train you in the fundamentals of:

 

Course Highlights


  • Computer Graphics
  • Video Production & Editing
  • Social Media and Marketing for Designers
  • Advanced Web Site Design
 

Complete Course List

Graphic Arts Course List

Graphic Arts Course List for 2020-21

TermCourse #Course NameCreditsClock Hours
First TermGE183Business English I460
GA116Color Theory2.536
GA133Electronic Design460
GA130Fundamentals of Design460
GA120Fundamentals of Drawing360
PD110Professional Development224
Totals:19.5300
Second TermGE184Business English II460
GE234Geometry for Design336
GA128Collateral Design3.560
GA124Introduction to Computer Graphics (Photoshop)460
GE213Oral Business Communications224
GA126Typography3.560
Totals:20300
Third TermGA230Advertising Design3.560
GE231Art History for the Graphic Designer560
GE233Business Writing3.560
GA225Computer Graphics - Illustrator460
GA121Graphic Design Studio I3.560
CP134Web Site Design460
Totals:23.5360
Fourth TermGE178Human Relations in the Workplace2.536
CD207Job Search Skills224
GA220Packaging Design3.560
GA217Concept Development2.536
GA222Publication Design3.560
GA235Social Media and Marketing for Designers460
IT218Web Site Design II460
Totals:22336
Fifth TermGA236Advanced Web Site Design (Motion Graphics)460
GA228Digital Pre-Press3.560
Elective*3.548
GA219Graphic Design Studio II3.560
GA221Print Portfolio3.560
GA227Typography - Expressive & Experimental348
Totals:21336
*Electives
GA231Digital Photography3.548
GA233Video Production and Editing3.548
Sixth TermCD106Career Preparation0.510
GA232Freelance Business Development221
GA234Graphic Arts Internship11330
Totals:13.5361
GA PROGRAM TOTAL CREDITSGA PROGRAM TOTAL HOURS
119.5 Credits1,993 Clock Hours

Meet the Faculty

Program Advisory Committee

State College Main Campus
Member NameJob TitleCompany
Jennifer NortonAssistant DirectorPenn State Press
Steve KressOwnerSteve Kress Design
Chip MockOwnerMock Creations
Jim Lukens-GableArt DirectorPenn State Multimedia and Print Center
Dennis ManeySenior Graphic DesignerPenn State College of Health and Human Development
Doug IrwinGraphic DesignerPenn State Housing and Food Services
Tiara SnareSenior Graphic DesignerThe Barash Group
Mark Dello StrittoOwner/Senior Art DirectorLoaded Creative
Jorge JovelOwnerBlack Sheep Media
Ryan CherryOwner/FreelancerGrizzly Design Company

Ready to enroll in the Graphic Arts program at South Hills?

Apply Now >>