Are you an artist with a knack for visual communication? Do you love the challenge of creating the perfect image to convey a thought or an emotion, inspire action, or explain a concept?
Then you might be right for a career in digital design!
Digital designers use innovative technology and graphic design software to create visually stunning, high-impact images and reach consumers and other target audiences where they are: online. They need to be artistic, tech-savvy, and effective communicators.
Digital designers work in a variety of professional settings. They might design artist renderings of real estate developments, create images for use in a company’s online or print advertising campaigns, or create infographics for news organizations or corporate communications. They might even work on the next big animated movie production!
A PATHWAY TO JUMPSTART YOUR CAREER AS A GRAPHIC DESIGNER, MULTIMEDIA ARTIST, OR ANIMATOR... AND BEYOND
You can make the most of your high school years by receiving guided career exploration, developing real-world practical skills, and gaining work-based learning experiences. Whether you go to college right after graduation, a few years later, or decide not to go, you can be career-ready and positioned for success. That’s why we offer career pathways that maximize your options for life after high school.
Here’s how our Digital Design Pathway prepares you for a bright future, whether or not you decide to go to college.
First, we integrate project-based learning into the curriculum, so that classwork mirrors what you’ll be doing in the workplace. With project-based learning, there’s little memorize and repeat. Instead, you get a real-life problem to solve and you work with your team to come up with a creative solution. As just one example, Digital Design students create their own illustrated children’s book! We also emphasize teaching the technological tools today’s graphic designers need, so you’ll learn Adobe Illustrator and InDesign.
Second, upon graduation, you will have a portfolio of work to secure a job as a graphic designer, multimedia artist, or animator—without the hassle or expense of additional training or degrees. The tuition-free program includes exam prep for the Adobe Certified Associate (ACA)– Visual Communication Using Adobe Photoshop certification exam and the ACA– Print and Digital Media Publication Using Adobe InDesign certification exam, two highly regarded industry credentials. We also jumpstart your job search by helping you create a professional résumé, cover letter, and profile on Tallo—the leading professional networking platform for Gen Z. Plus, you connect virtually to design professionals through Nepris.*
Third, we position you for growth if you choose to continue your studies in digital design—imagine including your own illustrated children’s book as part of your college application! No matter which path you choose, this pathway provides an excellent foundation to digital design and serves as a springboard for success.
OUR DIGITAL DESIGN CURRICULUM IN DETAIL
All of our students take the core courses required for high school graduation in their state. The chart below shows the additional classes you’ll take as a Digital Design Pathway student, and the industry-recognized certification exams you can prepare to take. You can see the rest of the curriculum by viewing the full course list.
Multimedia artists and animators create images and visual effects, including computer-generated images (CGI), for television, movies, video games, and other forms of media. They may create these images and special effects by using computer animation software, writing their own code, or working on mobile gaming platforms.
Typical Entry-Level Education: Bachelor’s degree; some employers may accept a portfolio of work in lieu of bachelor’s degree
Graphic designers work with clients to create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. They often determine the layout and develop the graphics for advertisements, brochures, magazines, and reports. While the profession is overall declining, graphic designers with strong computer skills will continue to be in demand.
Typical Entry-Level Education: Bachelor's degree; some employers may accept a portfolio of work in lieu of bachelor's degree
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do you need a college degree to get a job as a graphic designer?
No, you do not need a college degree to work as a graphic designer (although most graphic designers have a college degree). What you do need is a portfolio of work that clearly demonstrates your graphic design skills. Many employers require you to be proficient with image creation and editing software such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign, too.
That’s why we prepare our Digital Design students to take certification exams in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign!
What classes should I take in high school to become a graphic designer?
Classes in creating, editing, and producing digital art are essential. You can also start building a portfolio of work and seek opportunities, paid or unpaid, to create flyers, infographics, or images for social media for non-profits or local businesses. And if there’s a student art or graphic design club, join it!
Our Digital Design pathway provides excellent preparation for a career in graphic design. You’ll take courses in digital arts, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe InDesign. We also provide test prep for the Adobe Certified Associate (ACA)—Visual Communication Using Adobe Photoshop certification exam and the ACA—Print and Digital Media Publication Using Adobe InDesign certification exam, two highly regarded industry credentials. Membership to Business Professionals of America (BPA), the leading CTSO (Career and Technical Student Organization) for students pursuing careers in business, including graphic design, is included in our tuition-free program.* BPA is a terrific organization for networking, résumé building (through its many competitions), and skills development. BPA’s Workplace Skills Assessment Program (WSAP) allow students to develop and demonstrate their graphic design and other problem-solving skills at regional, state and national conferences, including specific competitions dedicated to graphic design, digital publication, and digital media. BPA also offers students the ability to assume leadership positions and compete for scholarships.
What is the difference between the Digital Design Pathway and the Web and Digital Communications Pathway? Which one should I choose?
Our Digital Design Pathway focuses more on the creative aspects of creating high-quality impactful images that can be used in a variety of business settings, including on the web. If you choose this pathway, you’ll become proficient in Photoshop and InDesign—positioning yourself for a career in graphic design. As a professional graphic designer, you might design artist renderings of real estate developments, create images for use in a company’s online or print advertising campaigns, or create infographics for news organizations or corporate communications.
There is some overlap with the two pathways. However, the Web and Digital Communication Pathway is focused less on image creation and more on all aspects of website design, including site structure, style, and usability. You’ll learn to use Adobe illustrator and Adobe Dreamweaver, and you’ll learn how to use technology platforms as a visually stunning, effective communication tool.
††Burning Glass Labor Insights, accessed October 19, 2020. Data is median salary for job postings with that job title, with typical minimum education requirements for that job title (as shown in chart on this page) and 0-2 years of experience, from October 1, 2019, to September 20, 2020. (For software developer, data includes two professions: Software Developer, Applications, and Software Developer, Systems Software).
†††Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook. Website last modified date: Wednesday, September 1, 2020.