Online Multimedia Design Degrees
Multimedia artists combine images, text, audio, film, and animation to create content for websites, applications, video games, television shows, and movies. This type of work requires both artistic and technical skills, and a multimedia design degree program can provide students with an education in both.
What Types of Online Multimedia Design Degrees Are Available?
- Certificate: Many schools offer certificate programs that give students a basic understanding of the different disciplines that contribute to multimedia design, such as computer scripting, Web design, animation, photography, and video production and editing. Students are also introduced to the software typically used by multimedia artists. Some schools offer certificate programs in specific subject areas such as 3-D modeling and visual effects.
- Associate Degree: Associate degree programs provide students with a broader general education than certificate programs and take two years to complete. Students study topics in art, digital media, computing, and project planning.
- Bachelor's Degree: Like associate degree programs, bachelor's degree programs give students a broad education, as students are required to take a number of general education courses. These programs take four years to complete. Students learn about the fundamentals of Web, graphic, and interactive design, and about creating media for different types of clients and environments. Some programs require students to complete an internship in order to graduate.
What Will I Learn in a Multimedia Design Degree Program?
Multimedia design happens at the intersection of art and computing, and students in multimedia design programs get an interdisciplinary education. Many programs require students to take courses in drawing, photography, film, color theory, typography, and other art and graphic design topics. Students also learn about Web design, including basic scripting and coding, and how to use computing hardware like scanners and digital cameras. Mastering digital audio, video, illustration, photo editing, and animation software is another major focus of multimedia design programs.
Students in multimedia design programs also learn about the business side of design. Knowing how to work in teams and plan projects to meet the specifications of different types of clients is useful knowledge for a career in design. Certificate, associate degree, and bachelor's degree programs all typically require students to put together a portfolio of design work that can be used when they begin looking for work in the field.
What Should I Consider When Choosing a Program?
Students taking on-campus classes in multimedia design often have opportunities to directly work with equipment and software under the guidance of an instructor. Online programs may create these experiences using virtual spaces to connect students with instructors and classmates. Research different programs to find one that best meets your needs for hands-on guidance and interaction.
Also consider accreditation when choosing an online program. Organizations such as the National Association of Schools of Art and Design grant accreditation to schools and programs that meet their standards.
What Career Opportunities Can I Expect After I Complete This Program?
Graduates of multimedia design programs can become graphic designers, multimedia designers, and animators working in advertising, public relations, mass media, computing, and publishing. Designers may work as freelancers or be employed by a media company or design firm. Overall job growth for multimedia designers and animators is expected to be slower than average between 2010 and 2020, but employment in the software publishing and computer systems design fields is expected to grow 49 and 43 percent, respectively. Overall job growth for graphic designers will be about as fast as the average, with a 61 percent growth in the computer systems design field.
Multimedia and graphic designers may become art directors after gaining years of work experience, but job growth for this field is expected to be slower than average. Art directors oversee design projects and manage teams of designers. Earning a Master of Business Administration or Master of Fine Arts degree may help designers advance into art director positions.
- ^Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Published March 29, 2012. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/multimedia-artists-and-animators.htm.
- ^Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Published March 29, 2012. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Arts-and-Design/Graphic-designers.htm.
- ^Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. Published August 31, 2012. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/art-directors.htm.