You may find yourself asking “well what exactly is a graphic design certificate?” Simply, it’s a certificate showing that you have successfully completed a graphic design course and can now call yourself a graphic designer.
Whether you’ve undertaken a graphic design short course like we offer at Shillington or a traditional university degree (read more about the different courses on offer later), you’ll receive a graphic design certificate at the end of the course.
Certificates are awarded to graduates to show that they have learnt all aspects of the course, including all the software and tools necessary and design thinking and theory; that they have got what it takes to become a graphic designer and, importantly, created their own portfolio of their design work.
How Can Getting a Graphic Design Certificate Help Your Career?
Gaining a certificate in graphic design can be really beneficial to your career as it is the only way to show that you are a fully fledged designer—and provides official documentation that you have the skills to start your career in the design world, usually as a junior designer in a design studio or agency. In this day and age, there are many self-taught designers working in the design world but a qualification can help you stand out amongst other designers, especially if there is a huge stack of applications on an employers’ desk.
Alternatively, you could work as a freelance designer, finding work and clients for yourself with that all important certificate to show that you’ve got the skills to keep your clients happy. Though, there are many other routes your career can take—including loads of unexpected careers that can come from earning a graphic design certificate, from letterpress printer to surface pattern designer!
On top of this, graphic designers are in high demand. Take a look at some of these jobs’ boards and you’ll see how many studios, agencies and companies all over the world are looking for designers.
Do Companies Value a Graphic Design Certificate when Hiring?
Although as we’ve seen graphic design is a fruitful career, even if you’re not planning on becoming a designer then the skills, concepts and mindset that you will develop whilst earning a graphic design certificate will benefit and be useful in any career. Some skills, such as being able to work to tight deadlines, are transferable to practically any line of work.
Moreover, the creative skills you learn will make you a more well-rounded person and could even make you stand out to a potential employer. Whether you’re planning for a design job or not, these skills a graphic design certificate will show you have may also increase your level of income—the more skills you have, the more you are likely to get paid.
Despite this, it’s highly unlikely that a potential employer will ask to see your physical graphic design certificate during an interview, but seeing that you have one as a qualification on your CV, in the ‘Education’ section of your LinkedIn or on the ‘about me’ section of your portfolio website will make a huge difference! It not only means that they can see you’ve got those skills, and also shows that you have invested in and know the importance of your education.
How Difficult is to get a Graphic Design Certificate?
So, you know understand how a graphic design certificate can benefit both you and your career, but how difficult is to get certification in graphic design? Well, how long is a piece of string?
The time it takes to gain one depends on the course you choose and the amount of work you put in to it.
A graphic design certificate will require to give it your all, put a lot of work in, and make a financial investment, but once you do it will all be worth it.
Certificate Courses in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia
Whilst we are thinking about how long gaining a graphic design certificate, it’s worth thinking about the different options for studying in the USA, Australia and the UK. We broke down the most common types of courses for earning a certificate in all three countries.
In the United Kingdom, there are 847 different design courses so there’s no shortage of ways to gain your graphic design certificate to choose from!
There’s also huge variety in terms of content and the time they take to complete. There’s different short courses all over the UK, some of which are as short as four days long and cover a specific part of the industry, such as brand strategy, and other more in depth short courses, such as Shillington’s, can be three months full-time or nine months part-time.
There is also the more traditional degree option, which usually require five GCSEs and 2 A-Levels including one in a related subject, and occasionally art and design foundation degree. Degrees usually take three years, sometimes with an optional fourth year, and the contact hours differ depending on which course your choose—and the amount of work you choose to put in.
There’s also the option of completing a Level 3 BTEC, a Higher National Diploma (HND) or a Higher National Certificate (HNC) which take 2 years full-time, 2 years full-time or 3 years part-time or 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time respectively.
You never stop learning
Whether you get a graphic design degree or teach yourself graphic design, the initial education is really only the beginning. “You will never stop learning,” Mathison says. “I see this as more of a positive, but it can be daunting trying to keep up with an industry that evolves every day.”
Besides, the more you learn, the more versatile and valuable your work will be. There are several potential opportunities out there for employees with experience in more than one area. You never know where a little extra know-how can take you.