As the name indicates, the field of web design focuses on the work involved in designing websites. Individuals who aspire to be web designers need to be both artistically talented as well as efficient in the latest computer technology because a website is built with the combination of the two skills. Websites need to be visually attractive and user-friendly. If a website is visually well designed but too difficult for users to navigate it will not be successful. The most common level of completed education among web designers is an associate degree, however, some web design professionals who wish to earn promotions or advance their knowledge in the field go on to earn graduate degrees. Many web designers are self-employed thus they work for various companies on a contractual basis. There are some web designers, however, who work full-time for specific companies, non-profits, institutions and government agencies.
Associate Degrees in Web Design
In order to be eligible to enroll in this level of program, applicants need to submit a copy of their high school transcripts or GEDs. Applicants with prior college experience also need to turn in their post-secondary transcripts. Due to the creative nature of web design, most programs ask that their applicants submit a portfolio to showcase their artistic abilities. Some programs may also require applicants to submit an admissions essay outlining their expectations of the program and how they can apply it to meeting their goals. Tuition varies based on school attendance and the amount of time it takes an individual to graduate with their degree, however, the total cost of education averages between $23,400 and $117,600.
Bachelor's Degrees in Web Design
A typical bachelor's degree program in web design takes four years to complete, however, fast track options can be completed in as few as 32-months. These fast track programs are usually offered in an online format. During the course of their studies, students learn about database structures and how to pair them with art and purpose in order to create websites that attract visitors and in turn encourage them to become repeat visitors. Classes that support this knowledge include database structures, visual frameworks, graphic design tools, human-computer interface design, design patterns for web programming, and advanced database structures.
At graduation, each student has a portfolio that they can show to potential employers. Portfolios give employers an idea of a graduate’s web design skill and creativity level and help them decide whether or not the graduate will be asset to their company. Individuals interested in applying for a bachelor's level program in web design must have a high school diploma or GED. College transcripts are required of those who have previously earned college-level credit. Most programs also require applicants to submit an admissions portfolio and attend an interview. Students can expect to pay between $59,400 and $120,000 for their entire education.
Master's Degrees in Web Design
Master's degree programs are available for individuals who want to further their knowledge and take up senior positions as web designers and developers. All individuals who enter a master's program must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited undergraduate program. Applicants must also write a one or two page letter of intent describing their academic and career aspirations. Two letters of recommendation and a professional resume are also necessary for acceptance. Once an individual is accepted into a master's program they may take classes like website construction, advanced information technology, enterprise architecture, usability design for websites, and principles of database design. The total cost of education averages between $22,572 and $30,144.
Certificate Degrees in Web Design
Certificate degrees are available for students who wish to further their education at the post-secondary level but do not have the time or desire to commit to a full degree program. Certificate degrees are offered at both the graduate and undergraduate level.
Individuals with no college experience are eligible for undergraduate certificate programs; however, they must have a high school diploma or GED. The time it takes to complete all required classes depends on the program and whether or not the student is enrolled full time. The average completion time for a full-time student is six months. Courses include web design, web animation, fundamentals of typography, information design, and media portfolio. The total amount each student can expect to pay for his or her program is around $6,550.
In order to be accepted to a graduate level certificate program students must have previously earned a bachelor's degree. Graduate certificate applicants need to submit official transcripts from their undergraduate studies, and a resume, which highlights their professional experience and achievements. Graduate level certificates help web design professionals to advance in their careers. Key courses in graduate web design certificate programs include: principles of project management, python programming, and application security. The average tuition for a graduate level certificate is $15,072 and can usually be completed in less than a year.
Accreditation for Web Design Degrees
There is no specific accrediting body for web design programs, but students should ensure that the school that offers their desired program is accredited by an agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Accreditation means that the school has been extensively reviewed by an accrediting organization and has met their minimum standards for quality education. Many employers look for graduates with academic credentials from an accredited school to help ensure that they have been well prepared for the professional position being offered. Accreditation can also become an important factor when students want to transfer credits to another school. For example, students who wish to change programs or enroll in graduate study need credits from an accredited program to transfer to their new school. When credits are earned at an unaccredited school, students might end up having to take classes over again.
- AAS in Web Design and Development. BYU Idaho. Accessed January 18, 2017. http://www.byui.edu/online/degrees-and-programs/web-design-and-development-x95124.
- Academic Catalog. The Art Institute of Pittsburg. Accessed January 18, 2017. http://content.artinstitutes.edu/assets/documents/pittsburgh/catalog.pdf.
- Accreditation. U.S. Department of Education. Accessed February 15, 2017. https://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/.
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- Application requirements. The Art Institute of Pittsburg. Accessed January 19, 2017. https://www.artinstitutes.edu/online/admissions/requirements.
- Associate Degree Admissions. Sessions College. Accessed January 19, 2017. https://www.sessions.edu/admissions/associate-degree/.
- Associate Degree in Web Design. Sessions College. Accessed January 17, 2017. https://www.sessions.edu/online-degrees/web-design/.
- Associate of Science in Web Design and Interactive Media. The Art Institute. Accessed January 17, 2017. https://www.artinstitutes.edu/online/academics/visual-design/web-design-interactive-media-degree-programs.
- Bachelor's Degree in Web Design and Development. Neumont University. Accessed January 19, 2017. http://www.neumont.edu/bswd.html.
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- Master's Degree Admission Process. University of Denver. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://universitycollege.du.edu/answers/admission/masters.cfm.
- MS in Information Technology Web Design. Southern New Hampshire University. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/masters/ms-in-information-technology/web-design.
- Program Guide. Devry University. Accessed January 23, 2017. http://www.devry.edu/d/media-arts-and-technology-web-design-certificate-guide.pdf.
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- Web Design & Development Bachelor's Degree. Full Sail University. Accessed January 19, 2017. https://www.fullsail.edu/degrees/web-design-and-development-bachelor.
- Web Design and Development. University of Denver. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://universitycollege.du.edu/ict/degree/masters/web-design-and-development-online/degreeid/400#courses.
- Web Design Certificate. Derry University. Accessed January 23, 2017. http://www.devry.edu/degree-programs/media-arts-technology/web-design-certificate.html.
- Web Design Certificate. Sessions College. Accessed January 23, 2017. https://www.sessions.edu/certificate-programs/web-design/.