Are you interested in becoming a graphic designer, but aren’t sure how to get started?

Working as a graphic designer can be a very lucrative career. In fact, according to the BLS, the median salary for a graphic designer is $52,110, with the top 10 percent earning a little over $89,000.

But, how do you become a graphic designer?

While some graphic designers are self-taught, the best way to enter this career field is to attend a graphic design program. Which program should you attend?

Check out this guide to discover the best graphic design programs.

1. University of Pennsylvania 

The University of Pennsylvania offers one of the best graphic design programs in the entire country.

Located in Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League school that has under 11,000 undergraduate students. In addition to its high educational standards, UPenn offers excellent financial aid options.

The school operates on a “no-loan” policy. This means that all eligible students can receive financial aid grants. Unlike traditional financial aid packages offered by other schools, these financial aid grants do not need to be repaid.

At UPenn, you have the option to major in Fine Arts with an emphasis in graphic design. Courses in the program include The Language of Design, Typography, Environmental Animation, and Art of the Web.

2. University of Florida 

Another great school to check out for its graphic design program is the University of Florida.

At the University of Florida, you can either earn a BFA in Graphic Design or an MFA in Studio Art with Concentration in Graphic Design. The 120-credit degree program places a major emphasis on collaborative work environments. U of F’s program will give you the creativity, technology, and design skills you need in order to succeed in a career in the visual arts.

By the end of your degree, you’ll know about everything from mastering kitchen designing programs to marketing your skills to the right clients to logo creation techniques.

3. Harding University 

Located in Searcy, Alabama, Harding University is a Christian college that enrolls around 6,000 students each year.

It’s the largest private university in the state of Alabama, and although small in size, its graphic design program is touted as one of the best ones in the country. Harding University even maintains a chapter of the American Insitute of Graphic Design, which is one of the country’s most prestigious graphic design associations.

Graduates of the graphic design program have gone on to work for advertising agencies, design studios, web companies, non-profits, and in-house design departments.

4. Boston University 

At Boston University, you can either earn a BFA in Graphic Design or an MFA in Graphic Design.

Before entering one of these graphic design programs, students must first a foundation program. The foundation program exposes students to all different types of art creation. The purpose of the program is to train students to know how to work their minds, hands, and eyes for the tasks to come.

One of the major perks of attending Boston University is the opportunity to study abroad. Through their design program, you have the opportunity to study abroad in Venice, Italy.

Throughout your course of study, your curriculum will be enhanced by the museum, gallery, and landmark visits. You’ll also get the opportunity to visit important cities in the country like Rome and Florence.

Included in the study abroad program is a furnished student apartment that is just a 15-minute walk from the school. Another major bonus to the program is that it’s available in spring, fall, and summer semesters.

5. Rhode Island School of Design 

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is another institution with an excellent graphic design program.

One great thing about the RISD graphic design program is that in your junior and senior years of college, you’ll be given the opportunity to intern both during the summer and school year.

The RISD graphic design program is extremely competitive. In order to gain admittance into the program, you’ll need to submit 12 to 20 samples of your current work.

Additionally, the program will assign you two drawings that you need to include in your submission. These rigorous admission guidelines ensure that you’ll be surrounded by top-caliber peers who challenge you and inspire you.

As a student of the graphic design program, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a dedicated studio in the college’s Design Center. You’ll be provided with a wide array of digital, traditional, and photographic resources.

Some interesting elective courses you can take through the program include Brand Identity, Calligraphy, Color and Surface, Poster Design, and Machine Learning and Design.

6. Carnegie Mellon University 

Carnegie Mellon is a global research university that is home to more than 14,000 students.

The university offers a BDes in Graphic Design, which is equivalent to a BFA in Graphic Design. The school also offers an MA program in Graphic Design as well as a Ph.D. in Design Studies for those who wish to continue their learning and take on a more research-based approach to the design world.

One of the biggest reasons students love attending Carnegie Mellon’s design program is due to its high degree of customization. Students are given a lot of freedom when it comes to customizing their degrees.

You’re allowed to mix and match courses across different disciplines. And, you can even mix and match across different design fields. For example, you can combine elements of industrial design with graphic design.

Best Graphic Design Programs: Which Will You Choose? 

Now that you know about the best graphic design programs, it’s time to figure out which one is right for you. All of these programs are excellent options and will help you launch your career, so you really can’t go wrong.

Be sure to check back in with our blog for more tips and tricks related to launching a career in graphic design.