February 12, 2016


How long does it take to learn graphic design? That depends entirely on what your post-education career goals look like. Time spent learning the ropes in graphic design school and bringing home that coveted certificate or diploma can take as few as 6 weeks or as many as 6 years – that’s essentially the difference between a program that offers a basic certification and earning a full Master’s degree in Graphic Design. Read more to learn how long graphic design school might take for you!


If you’re going to school for a few certifications or to learn the ins and outs of one of the popular industry-standard programs, 6 – 8 weeks is a good ballpark figure for the amount of time you’ll spend in “school.”

For the more serious student, many traditional colleges are now offering multi-year programs of study for anyone seeking to learn graphic design in greater depth. These sorts of programs will typically focus on the basics of design theory and may touch briefly on Art History while skimming over things like typography while earning an associate’s degree.

On average, learning graphic design and obtaining a degree from a traditional university takes about 4 years, which will usually earn you a Bachelor’s degree. While 5 – 6 year Master’s Degree programs are available at some schools, a vast majority of students aren’t looking to spend that much time behind a desk. These longer programs of study often allow students to take advantage not only of increased access to higher-level history and theory classes but also of General Education classes which may be required for certain degree programs.


There is always the option to bypass ‘formal’ education altogether and strike out on your own, learning graphic design online as you go!

Many aspiring creatives cringe at the thought of being in a classroom for hours on end to learn how to do a job they’re hoping to do from their living room couch. And it is possible to learn graphic design on your own; we’d be lying to you if we tried to say it wasn’t. However, it’s definitely not easy, and DIY education when it comes to graphic design is lacking in a few basic things that a degree program from a graphic design school could offer, including accountability.


Dedicated Digital Media schools offering graphic design provide a nice middle ground between certificate programs and 4-year degree programs. These schools typically offer a diploma in design after around one year of training. While they might seem like things that would drag you down or draw out the amount of time you spend in the classroom, having face-to-face interaction with your peers and instructors has benefits too numerous to mention. Online options might offer video chats or message boards, but nothing is quite like face-to-face interaction.

Graphic design schools are also known for enabling students to practice using the latest industry tools and hardware and providing access to resources such as stock photo libraries and other subscriptions that students would otherwise have to pay for on their own.

When you look at the big picture, learning graphic design takes as little or as much time as you want it to.

Truthfully, all good designers will always be looking for ways to learn new skills and ways to keep their existing skills and knowledge up to date, so if you think about it, learning graphic design never really stops!


F.I.R.S.T. Institute’s Graphic Design and Web Development Program will give you the tools to become a graphic designer in just 11 months. From a faculty made up of experienced design industry professionals to a broad spectrum of courses and a dedicated Career Development department, we give students access to everything they need to succeed in the design industry, both in class and on the job.

If you’d like to know more about our Graphic Design and Web Development school, please give us a call or send us an email! Our admissions team is standing by to answer any questions you might have.