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A degree in graphic design isn’t exactly the speediest way to learn graphic design. In fact, let’s look at the average time it takes to complete an undergraduate degree in the US, UK and Australia: three years, four years and three-four years respectively. That equates to roughly 36 to 48 months—and that’s not considering all the long holidays and breaks where you won’t even be studying!
If having the name of a well-established institution on your degree certificate is something that you want to impress people with, then it could certainly be argued that a graphic design degree is a good major to undertake.
You’ll be surrounded by fellow creatives and have the opportunity to put your heads together and collaborate on projects. It really is a special thing to be surrounded by people who are all working towards the same creative goal—you’ll find yourself being constantly inspired!
So you’ve spent four years getting your graphic design degree? And acquired a load of debt in the process? You’ll definitely have all the skills you need to get a job in the graphic design industry, right? Right…? Not necessarily. Some graphic design degree programmes or majors will spend three years teaching you how to design, but now how to design for a job and actually work in a studio.
Ask yourself: Do I want to do a major that might not necessarily help me nail the skills and knowledge I need to get a job?
We would be lying if we said that doing a degree in graphic design is not a tried and tested way of starting a career in graphic design. For decades, the only way that creatives could turn their dreams into realities was the university route.
This meant that a huge amount of graphic designers got into the industry this way—they left school, enrolled at a college or university, studied and then spread their wings. So when we consider if a graphic design degree is worth it, we must take this into account.
You don’t necessarily need a degree to become a graphic designer. Though, all of this has got us asking, is a graphic design degree worth it in 2021?
We’re going to weigh both the advantages and disadvantages of a degree in graphic design to help you answer the question “should I major in graphic design?
Let’s break down how much a degree might cost a student:
In the United States, the average domestic university student will pay, if they attend a college in their home state, $37,460 for the privilege. If they chose to go to a college in a different state, this jumps significantly to $95,560! Meanwhile, international students who choose to attend a US college can face fees of $78,820 on average for their degrees.
“What did you get in your degree?” is something that you are very unlikely to hear when you start working in the graphic design industry. In fact, it’s all about your portfolio—a showcase of your very best work, which also backs up all the incredible design skills and knowledge you have. Most of the time, potential employers will choose whether to interview and whether to hire you based solely on your portfolio and the work within it.
If you spend three years doing something, there’s a high chance that you’ll make some friends—and a graphic design degree is no different. During a graphic design major, you’re guaranteed to make some like-minded friends for life—especially trudging blurry-eyed to an early morning lecture or having some drinks at the bar after your exams.
If the idea of working and learning alongside some like-minded creative people sounds like your kind of thing, then a graphic design degree is definitely worth it.
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