If you would like to earn a formal degree in graphic design, it is best to enroll in only schools that have a specialized accreditation. Many designers in this industry are self-taught independent professionals, but as the competition for jobs with design firms and corporations gets higher, more and more employers require both a degree and experience. Not all graphic design degrees are good degrees. If you want to spend your money on a degree that will offer you a return, you need to do your due diligence to find out which programs are accredited and which agencies currently accredit graphic design degree programs.
Focus on Regional and National Credentials First
Before you begin to search for the best graphic design degree program, it is important to look for the best school. There are a few different types of accrediting agencies. Some of these agencies grant credentials to schools and institutions while others grant credentials to programs in specific disciplines and vocations. It is best to start by finding a school worthy of a regional or national credential before you look at the agencies that set the standards in graphic design.
Regional accrediting bodies are recognized by the US Department of Education and set the standard for coursework requirements and transfer requirements. National accrediting bodies is also approved by the council in charge of overseeing accrediting agencies, but are more focused on evaluating vocational, trade and career-focused schools. By choosing a school with either type of credential, you will know that you can apply for financial aide and use transferable credits towards other degrees.
What is a Specialized or Programmatic Credential?
Now that you know the importance of finding an accredited school, it is time to focus on your major choice and how to find the best program to prepare you for that major. In graphic design, you need a unique set of skills and a foundation of creativity to succeed. To ensure that a school has the content and the curriculum requirements to help you succeed, there are specialized agencies that evaluate curriculum, instructors and other measures. These agencies are only focused on programs in that area of study and not on the institution as a whole.
Which is Graphic Design Accrediting Body is Best Known?
Now that you know what specialized credentials are, it is time to learn a little bit about the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. The NASAD, which was founded 70 years ago, is an organization that grants an institutional membership through a peer review process. The association sets collegiate standards for graphic design and other arts programs. This includes programs with onsite courses and those with self-study options.
Many people question whether a degree in graphic design is worthwhile. If you are naturally creative, there are certain things that cannot be taught in school. With this being said, taking an accredited degree program will help you market yourself to the majority of employers who prefer their designers to possess a college degree. It is important that you review the cost to attain a degree and think about how long you will spend in school. After you assess the costs of earning a degree from a program with its accreditation, you can then decide if there is potential to earn a return.