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Graphic Design A.A.S.

Certificate of Applied Science • 61 Credit Hours

The Graphic Design program emphasizes skill and mindset development through the study of graphic design history, the principles and elements of design, effective use of typography, illustrative techniques, logo and identity design, advertising layouts, design research, data visualization, multimedia and entrepreneurship. 

Students can earn a Certificate of Applied Science when they have successfully completed 30 hours of college credit, which includes certain core and general education courses. Students also have the opportunity to prepare and take tests to earn the Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) certification.

MCTC Student Work

Traditional Illustration, Digital Illustration, Print Layout, Logo Design, 2D/3D Design, Typography and so much more!

About the Mountwest Graphic Design Program

Most all companies have communication and marketing needs, and online content, digital advertising and social media marketing have become increasingly important in attracting and communicating with customers.

Companies need designers to create assets and improve efforts to reach consumers. Additionally, as mobile devices are increasingly used for a variety of personal, business and entertainment purposes, there is a need for creating content that can be used across various screens.

Creativity and digital skills are essential for today’s rapidly changing economy. Successful designers use their talents, skills and entrepreneurial thinking to contribute to a business or start their own enterprises.

The rewards, satisfaction and flexibility of the graphic design profession far exceed those of many other fields of work.

QUICK FACTS

Graphic Designer

2019 Median Pay
$53,380 per year

Number of Jobs
281,500 in 2018

Job Outlook
2020-2027 varies by region

For the most current salary information, please refer to the Bureau of Labor Statistics “Occupational Outlook Handbook” found online at bls.gov/ooh/.

Frequently asked questions

Mountwest has a very friendly, warm, personal and welcoming culture. We are committed to diversity and inclusion, and helping students learn and prepare for their futures.

Before the pandemic, our classes took field trips to local businesses and we also attended community events, and we hosted an annual Entrepreneur Showcase with a panel of successful local creative professionals. 

However, even in the remote environment, I have brought in a number of high-calibre guest speakers, our class has attended several web-based special events, and many of us also attended the 2020 Adobe MAX virtual conference. 

The college offers a number of design competitions where students compete to win prizes and receive special recognition. We have also participated in regional design competitions and created graphics for local non-profit organizations. 

Many of my students are involved with the Mountwest Student Government Association, are in the Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa, serve as work-study students, Peer Tutors and Peer Coaches. Two of my graduates in the past 6 years have been the featured Guest Keynote Speaker at the commencement ceremonies. 

Another feature of the Graphic Design program is that I try to use open and free resources as much as possible so students don’t have to purchase expensive textbooks.

For most students, you will begin in Fall semester and if you stay on the recommended track and successfully complete your Graphic Design, IT, and general education courses, you will finish in two years over four semesters, and you’ll complete 61 college credit hours. If you wish to go part-time, we can work with you to develop a pathway for you to finish over a slightly longer period of time. But remember, core classes are offered in a Fall to Spring setup, so you have to keep in mind that some are only offered in the Fall, and some only in the Spring semesters. Besides the degree, you can also earn a certificate and skill set from the college as additional credentials. You also have the option to study for and take Adobe Certified Associate exams – which is an impressive credential to have besides your college degree. A great portfolio, a degree and professional certificates show employers you’re serious about your career and have attained skills to apply in the workplace.

Community College has small class sizes, personal attention, lots of support resources and classes in your major where you get hands-on projects right away that are based on real-life work scenarios. Mountwest programs are set up to prepare students for careers or to transfer to a university to complete a four-year degree.

You certainly can. Mountwest is an accredited college, so your credits are considered valid at universities. We also have articulation agreements with Marshall University and West Virginia State University, so students can transfer all of their college credits toward earning a Graphic Design degree at these institutions. Some of my students come into my program knowing that they want to get all they can out of their time with me, and then finish a degree at a university. We help set you up for success here at Mountwest.

People who pursue Graphic Design as a career typically have these qualities – some might surprise you. They are:

• scholarly: good at paying attention, following instructions, and learning new things

• organized: able to manage multiple projects and deadlines, and keep your files and assignments organized

• artistic (expressed through drawing, painting, sculpting, making videos, photography, music, writing, participating in theatrical productions, things like that

• creative: observant, full of ideas, intuitive, enjoys making things and expressing yourself

• curious: loves researching, exploring, collecting things, observing, questioning

• humanist: interested in how people feel, think, act, behave, and respond

• tech savvy: enjoys computers, digital devices, new technology, and learning to use new software

• intersectional: able to take in information from many different places and synthesize it into your work

• focused: ability to spend extended amounts of time and effort on tasks

• self-directed: often able to figure things out on your own, solve problems and set and achieve goals

• hard-working: acquiring the necessary skills and developing quality graphics is not easy

• collaborative: ability to work with others to complete projects

• open to critique: you can’t improve and grow if you don’t accept input and suggestions Graphic Design offers many career paths – some are well established, and others are newly emerging. The best students are the ones who are focused, hard-working, passionate about design, and love learning new things. 

Go to the top of this page and click the green “Apply Now” button or visit www.mctc.edu and click the Apply button. You will need to fill out a FASFA form and an enrollment form.
 
You’re welcome to Email Julie Terry at terryj@mctc.edu or fill out the contact form below. We are happy to talk with potential students and answer your particular questions. 

A future in design.

Visual content is becoming increasingly important across all industries, whether commercial, educational, cultural or political. The Graphic Design program at Mountwest combines creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, business and technology skills to prepare students for entry-level positions in a wide variety of occupations and industries.

Admission Requirements

The college adheres to an open admission policy which means applications with a high school diploma or GED are eligible for admission. Applicants with neither a high school diploma nor GED may be admitted on a conditional basis.

Potential Employment

  • Advertising, Marketing, Public Relations
  • Photography & Design agencies
  • Tech companies
  • Game Development firms
  • Printing and Publishing companies
  • Small or large businesses
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Arts and Entertainment industry
  • Journalism and Broadcasting
  • Sports marketing
  • Government sector
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Freelance and Consulting work
  • Working remotely
  • Starting one’s own business

Graduates of this program are well prepared to transfer to a university to complete a four-year degree. Mountwest has 2 + 2 articulation agreements with several surrounding universities, including Marshall University and West Virginia State University.

The Mountwest Graphic Design AAS program, which began in Fall Semester of 2014, completed an articulation agreement on Oct. 6, 2015 with the Marshall University Graphic Design BFA program.  

In Summer 2021, representatives from the Mountwest and Marshall programs met to renegotiate and update the articulation agreement between the schools. In recent years, Marshall changed several foundation courses for its Graphic Design degree, and recent transfer students from Mountwest were viewed by some of the MU faculty as having deficits in their knowledge and skills related to particular areas. The specific areas of concern included hand drawing techniques and photography skills.  

At the conclusion of the June 7th meeting, the two groups agreed on a plan of correction that involved changing an elective Digital Photography course at Mounwest into a required course for students who planned to transfer to the Marshall Graphic Design program. Changes were also made so that the Mountwest transfer students would now be required to take a basic drawing class at Marshall to develop skills needed for the more advanced courses. The Mountwest Graphic Design professor also committed to including more drawing activities in the course learning activities, which previously had been slanted more strongly toward the digital and technical areas rather than traditional drawing techniques.  

The updated articulation agreement between the Mountwest and Marshall Graphic Design programs was finalized and enacted on Aug. 5, 2021.

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Career Outlook: projected to grow 3 percent from 2018 to 2028

The projected change in employment of graphic designers varies by industry. For example, employment of graphic designers in newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers is projected to decline 22 percent from 2018 to 2028. 

However, employment of graphic designers in computer systems design and related services is projected to grow 24 percent over the same period. Companies are continuing to increase their digital presence, requiring graphic designers to help create visually appealing and effective layouts of websites.

What will I learn?

Our Advisors

These local creative companies provide input and support to the program to ensure students learn skills desired by employers.

Want to learn more about this program?
Interested in learning more about the MCTC program? Send us a message and talk to our program coordinator.
Julie Terry, BFA, MAJ
Associate Professor of Graphic Design

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