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Graphic Communications

Program Requirements: 

Graphic communications is a great career for creatively minded people who also enjoy computers and technology. Though the tools for design have changed from pen and paper to computers and software, ideas and artistic skill are still important. If you are a creative person with technical savvy, this career is for you.


The Graphic Communications program at Gateway Technical College is a two year associate degree program offered at both the Racine and Elkhorn campuses. Students also have the option to complete all or a portion of the program online which gives students the convenience of working around their schedule. After earning the associate degree, students can pursue a number of advanced technical certificates that focus on areas such as computer animation, web design, digital photography and social media.

Students enhance learning with participation in student clubs and an annual district-wide design show. State-of-the-art computer labs and graphic design software help students to generate great portfolios - a must when it comes to job hunting. Additionally, students will benefit from instructors who collectively have more than 50,000 hours of experience in design related fields like printing, animation, multimedia and photography.

What does a graphic designer do?

Graphic communications graduates will be prepared for jobs in agencies, internal design departments, printing companies and web design firms. Since a significant number of graphic designers do freelance work, students are also educated in self employment practices.

Upon graduation, students will be prepared for employment in a variety of concentrations including web design, production, corporate identity, advertising and social media.

For those with previous degrees and job experience in the field, a Graphic Communications associate degree may allow for advancement in their existing career.

Learning by doing

Hands-on learning is a huge part of the Graphic Communications program at Gateway. Students will produce real-life designs in the classroom, which will translate to valuable portfolio items. The Elkhorn and Racine campuses are both equipped with state-of-the-art computer labs and graphic design software including; projection, scanning, printing and photography equipment. Students can take an individually driven internship course or participate in a team based internship called BizSquad. During this course teams of students in business related fields combine their expertise to work hands-on with area businesses. These groups provide business clients with business plans, graphics, web design, financial analysis and other business related services. Beyond the classroom, Graphic Communications students can also participate in design and digital photography student clubs as well as an annual design show. Various field trips to design conferences and businesses in the design industry further enhance learning. Graphic Communications students often have the opportunity to study abroad as part of Gateway’s International Education program. International education opportunities could include participation in a global project team with students from Germany or studying art and multimedia in Paris.

Job and salary outlook

Salary levels can vary depending on region. National data estimates the salary range for graphics-related employment is $20,000 - $60,000 annually. Salary may increase for employees with a technical focus like web or multimedia.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 18 percent growth in the field by 2018. Even so, the graphic communications job market is competitive and a good portfolio is key to entry-level success. Class project work will provide students with a variety of portfolio items by graduation.



Laura Laznicka

Michelle Quinn

Sue LaCanne

John Mizer

Peter Pham

Program Administration

Ray Koukari, Dean

Manoj Babu, Associate Dean