Study Web Design: Bachelors, Associates & Online Degree Info

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What will you learn in a web design degree program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of a bachelor's and associate's degree and potential careers.
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Web Design Associate's and Bachelor's: Degrees at a Glance

As computer technology continues to advance, and more businesses rely on creative and unique websites, a degree in web design may be a program you wish to consider. Students studying web design learn how to design and maintain websites. Coding, scripting and graphic design are all important skills you will learn in an associate's or bachelor's degree program in web design.

Graduates can go on to a variety of different careers at government agencies, retail businesses and website design companies. An associate's degree can prepare you for a career as a computer support specialist. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected an average growth of about 18% for this field from 2010-2020. With a bachelor's degree, more career options will become available to you. For example, you may work as a web developer, a career field predicted to grow by 22% over the same decade.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals who wish to pursue a career in web design or a related field, or transfer into a bachelor's degree program Individuals who wish to pursue a career in web design or a related field
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) - Computer support specialist ($48,000)*
- Website designer ($52,000)**
- Web developer ($78,000)*
- Computer programmer ($73,000)*
- Graphic designer ($44,000)*
- Network and computer system administrator ($71,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years of full-time study 4 years of full-time study
Common Graduation Requirements - General education classes, core computer science and web design courses, electives and Web design projects - All of the associate's degree requirements, plus:
- Seminars
- Internships
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or equivalent
Online Availability Yes Yes

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2010 figures), ** (May 2012 figures).

Associate's Degree in Web Design

This degree program provides a strong foundation in computer science and web design. With it, you can begin your web design career within two years or less. An associate's degree program is also an option for students who are considering transferring into a bachelor's degree program. In an associate's degree program, you'll learn the basics of web design, and explore project management, coding, media production and technical communication. Many programs offer the opportunity to collaborate with other students on projects and allow you to learn in an environment that mirrors your future work setting.

Pros and Cons


  • You may be able to begin your career after only 2 years of full-time study
  • In an associate's degree program in web design, you'll gain a solid foundation in a variety of topics, allowing you to make a decision on an area that interests you
  • Some jobs available to you as an associate's degree holder offer ongoing on-the-job training so you can continue to expand your skill set


  • Many computer and design-related jobs require a bachelor's degree
  • Some programs aren't designed specifically for transfer students; if you choose to transfer into a 4-year program, your credits may not all transfer
  • Competition may be strong for certain jobs, since you'll be contending with bachelor's degree holders

Common Courses and Requirements

Most associate's degree programs in web design have general education requirements in topics such as science, mathematics and humanities. Students will also complete required courses and electives in subjects related to web design. They may also be required to complete individual and collaborative web design projects. Some common courses may include:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Fundamentals of web development
  • Drawing
  • Introduction to C++ programming
  • Digital video production
  • JavaScript
  • Podcasting

Online Degree Options

Online associate's degree programs in web design do exist, but they're most available at private for-profit schools or unaccredited institutions. These programs may be entirely online, or a combination of some online courses, and some courses taken on campus. Requirements for students in online associate's degree programs are generally the same for students enrolled in traditional, campus-based programs.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

The technology and skills associated with a career in web design change and advance often, so it's imperative to stay up-to-date with the newest developments in the field. Earning certifications is a great way to expand your skills and show potential employers that you're staying current with the latest trends and technology. Since web design requires both technical skills and creativity, you may wish to take courses in art and drawing to hone your creative skills. A portfolio of unique and highly creative work could be a great asset in your job search.

Bachelor's Degree in Web Design

In many ways, a bachelor's degree program in web design is very similar to an associate's degree program. You'll build a base of knowledge in web design and related subjects and investigate these topics in-depth. Classes in programming and design may help you gain the skills for a career as a computer programmer or web developer. Graduates of bachelor's degree programs generally have more career options and opportunities for advancement than web design associate's degree holders.

Pros and Cons


  • You may find more opportunity to work on projects that emphasize practical application of the skills that you're learning
  • Bachelor's degree programs offer courses in a variety of topics, and choosing electives allows you to focus on the areas that interest you most
  • Jobs for web developers, which is similar to web designers, were predicted to grow by 22% from 2010-2020, which is faster than the average across all professions*


  • Dedicated web design bachelor's degree programs may not be as common as general computer science degree programs, or other specializations
  • Bachelor's degree programs in web design will require at least 4 years to complete
  • Some careers in the field require additional certifications for advancement

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Common Courses and Requirements

Students in bachelor's degree programs in web design usually have the same type of general education requirements in mathematics and science as students in associate's degree programs. Beyond those requirements, students will take a variety of more focused courses in web design and development and multimedia authoring. Some programs require a capstone design program and seminars in various topics. Some courses you may take in a bachelor's degree program include:

  • Linux and systems software
  • Algorithms and data structures
  • Software engineering
  • Object oriented design
  • Web database technologies

Online Degree Options

Bachelor's degree programs in web design are available online, both 100% and through a combination of campus and online work. However, many are offered through private for-profit schools. It's important to research these programs carefully to be sure they're from accredited institutions. Online programs offer very similar courses to traditional programs and provide the same career options as campus-based programs.

Stand Out with This Degree

You may find internship opportunities while completing a bachelor's degree program. Some universities partner with companies in the field and offer internships to promising students. In a subject like web design, it's important to take the theoretical principles you learn in the classroom and apply them to real-world situations. Gaining practical experience in web design will help you transition into your future career and also provides valuable experience that you can feature on your resume.