Top 5 Online Associate in Multimedia Design Programs for 2019

An online associate degree in multimedia design represents a promising first step towards a variety of employment opportunities. Potential jobs include multimedia artists, animators, graphic designers, or web developers, just to name a few. Multimedia specialists combine technological training and a talent for creative design to produce computer-generated effects as well as audio, video, and graphic tools for entertainment, industrial, educational, and informational applications. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the number of multimedia artist and designer jobs to increase by 6% over the next decade.

What Are The Best Online Associate in Multimedia Design Programs?


Brigham Young University-Idaho Rexburg, ID


BYU offers an online associate degree in multimedia design that emphasizes the rapidly expanding fields of web design and development. Students can choose to specialize their studies in either design or development. Courses are delivered asynchronously online, allowing students to complete coursework at their own pace. This 60-credit multimedia design degree includes 17 credits of foundations courses and 43 credits in concentration coursework.

The design specialization includes courses on graphic design, information design, interaction design, typography, and new media strategies; the development specialization includes courses on database design, web engineering, mobile application development, technical communication, and systems security. There are several different admission paths for first-time college students and those transferring from another institution. BYU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


Eastern Gateway Community College Steubenville, OH


EGCC offers an internet and interactive digital media design program as an associate of applied business multimedia degree. Courses can be completed on-campus or asynchronously online, which allows students to complete coursework at their own pace. Full-time students can earn their degree in just four semesters, taking five or six courses per semester for a total of 62 credits.

This multimedia degree prepares students to transfer into bachelor’s programs in informational technologies and related majors. It can also function as a terminal degree, preparing graduates to directly enter into careers in software and game development, graphic design and layout, instructional design and advertising. The curriculum combines its applied emphasis on digital technologies and programming with required courses in verbal and written communication and statistics, which provides graduates with a competitive edge as they enter the job market or pursue a four-year degree. EGCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Mid Michigan Community College Harrison, MI


MMCC offers a computer aided drafting and design (CADD) program as a specialized multimedia degree. Students can choose from two options: an associate degree in applied science that leads to enrollment at a four-year institution, or a certificate in computer assisted drafting (CAD) that prepares graduate for entry-level roles as a professional CAD designer. Both options include on-campus requirements and offer hybrid and online course delivery.

The CAD certificate is ideal for students seeking to enter the workplace without a bachelor’s degree and includes 38 credits of drafting courses and one communication class. The AAS degree consists of 62 hours in general education and applied CADD courses and can be completed in two years of full-time study. The curriculum includes an internship and the opportunity to acquire certification as a CAD SolidWorks designer. Most students who earn an AAS eventually transfer into a bachelor's program in design- and engineering-related fields. MMCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Western Nevada College Carson City, NV


WNC offers a graphic communications program, an innovative online associate degree in multimedia design. This associate in applied science degree can be completed in two years and includes 42 credits of coursework on art, web design, and computer graphics and 18 credits of general education requirements.

This program is ideal both for those who want to immediately enter the workforce and for those who want to continue their studies in a bachelor's degree program. Students learn many foundational skills that can lead directly to employment in website design, print design, animation, and digital video. The curriculum also includes courses on web design, computer graphics, and digital media that are crucial in any bachelor's program. Courses are delivered online, on-campus, and in a hybrid format; online coursework can be accessed through Canvas. WNC is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


Lake Washington Institute of Technology Kirkland, WA


LWTech offers an innovative degree in multimedia design that can be completed on-campus, entirely online, or in a hybrid format. The school has various articulation agreements with four-year institutions that allow graduate to transfer with junior status to a bachelor's degree without any loss of credits. This degree also includes technical courses that prepare graduates entry-level careers in web design, mobile content design, and digital publishing.

The 100-credit AAS-T can typically be completed in just six quarters. The curriculum includes a variety of courses on art and computer design topics, such as vector illustration, digital photography, HTML and CSS, and motion graphics with after effects. Students also participate in professional development and career orientation workshops on resume preparation and how to create an industry-level portfolio. LWTech is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

How to Choose an Online Associate in Multimedia Design Program

If you’re interested in going back to school but have a full-time job, family responsibilities, and/or are unsure about committing the time and money required to earn a bachelor’s degree, an online associate degree could help you achieve your educational goals. Many online programs offer flexible schedules and career-focused training, without the high tuition and other costs commonly associated with four-year institutions. Among these offerings is an online associate degree in multimedia design, which is offered by scores of schools across the nation. Each program is a little different, with variations in the specialized concentrations, number of required credits, and tuition rates. Some schools are regionally accredited, while others hold national accreditation. Some institutions also have articulation agreements with four-year institutions, making it easier to transfer credits if you plan on going on to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, some online programs have residency requirements, while others can be completed without setting foot on campus. There are many variables to consider when looking for a program.

Educational Paths for Associate Degrees in Multimedia Design

While some graduates of online associate degree in multimedia design programs immediately enter the workforce to pursue well-paying jobs, others use their multimedia communications degree as a stepping stone and go on to earn additional educational credentials by transferring to a baccalaureate institution. Many opportunities are available for individuals who hold an associate multimedia design degree, but some fields do require a bachelor’s degree and a working knowledge of programming languages (like Java) or a familiarity with Adobe and other software applications. Entry-level salaries vary widely depending on your level of education, and individuals with a bachelor’s degree and/or advanced training hold a competitive edge over their peers.

  • Web Development

    A bachelor’s in web development trains students to design and create content for internet and intranet websites. Courses emphasize areas like client-server computing, databases, software engineering, and programming languages (e.g., JavaScript, HTML, and CSS).

  • Graphic Design

    A graphic design bachelor’s program trains students to use design software and technologies to create and develop content for electronic and print media.The curriculum is multidisciplinary and includes courses in art, drawing, 2D and 3D design, typography, computer-assisted design, and photography.

  • Software Development

    This bachelor’s degree combines courses in engineering and computer science to provide students with the technological skills needed to design and implement computer software systems, programs, and applications for a variety of devices (e.g., mobile phones, e-readers, video games, and medical monitoring equipment used for CT scans and MRIs).

Career Paths for Multimedia Design Graduates

A multimedia communications design degree is a useful credential for entry-level employment in a variety of fields. Graduates with an associate degree should continue to find opportunities as the demand for technology increases. While all these professions are based on technical competency and computer literacy, they vary greatly in the amount of specialized training required for employment. The table below includes some possible careers for multimedia design graduates, listing different jobs and their accompanying median salary values.

Web Developer

Web developers build websites; create, test, and debug software; and write code for databases and webpages. They must have a working knowledge of programming languages (e.g., CSS, HTML, and Javascript) and possess a general understanding of computer hardware. While some employers require a bachelor’s degree, many web developers enter the field with an associate degree or transferrable skills from work experience in a related field.

Median Salary: $58,134

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers work in many industries as employees or independent consultants to create graphics, images, fonts, logos, and layouts for print media, websites, product designs, and promotional materials for corporate or product branding. This field is typically open to individuals with an associate degree, although some employers may require a bachelor’s degree. Graphic designers should possess training in art and drawing and have the technical skills needed to use software like InDesign and Adobe Illustrator.

Median Salary: $42,610

Software Developer

Software developers are highly skilled technical professionals who build computer applications, write code for these applications, and customize and debug systems and networks. They must be familiar with operating systems and programming languages, as well as the most common databases used by businesses. Most software developers possess a bachelor’s degree in software engineering, computer science, or a related field.

Median Salary: $46,000

Computer Desktop Publisher

Desktop publishers are employed in a variety of settings to produce camera-ready copy using desktop publishing and illustrating software. They also design, format, and position the layout of text, photos, and art in print materials or webpages. Desktop publishing positions are open to those with an associate degree and generally require training/experience with Adobe Acrobat, Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Microsoft Office.

Median Salary:

Multimedia Artist/Animator

Multimedia artists/animators use computer software and technology to design and create graphics, special effects, animation, and visual images for webpages, mobile devices, video games, television, films, and other media. These positions require drawing and technical skills as well as knowledge about design software (like Adobe Photoshop), 3D design, and modeling programs. Entry-level positions are open to individuals with an associate degree.

Median Salary: $54,341

Job Outlook and Salary for Multimedia Design Associate Degree Graduates

A multimedia degree can lead to many exciting and financially rewarding careers. Your area of specialization will be a major factor in determining what job opportunities and level of compensation you can pursue. While the demand for multimedia artists is expected to increase by 6% through 2024, opportunities and salaries vary based on your experience, geographical region, and industry/employer. As the consumer market for technological devices continues to expand, and as users of technology seek out more sophisticated graphics, interactive design, and other features, the demand for multimedia artists, web designers, software developers, and graphic designers is projected to grow.

Projected Employment for Multimedia Design and Design Careers
Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024
64,400 68,300

Salary Growth By Experience For Graduates Of Multimedia Design Programs

While a multimedia degree represents a first step toward a rewarding career, the range of salaries you can expect to earn varies widely. In most technical jobs, your salary is influenced by your years of experience and the current demand for highly skilled workers in your field. Occupations like software development, which require advanced degrees and continuing certification, offer higher salaries. Other fields, like web development and graphic design, are still in demand but require less advanced training for entry-level positions; this is reflected in their lower salaries across the board.

To determine the best online associate in multimedia design programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school's commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online associate in multimedia design programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school's ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category's ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.