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Online Colleges for Web Design

Often working hand in hand with web developers, software engineers and other IT professionals, web designers focus on the more creative aspects of a website because they typically have stronger backgrounds in graphic design or multimedia art than their technical counterparts. But despite the artistic nature of their work, web designers may face the pressure of tight production schedule deadlines and they may need to address very specific design requirements. Websites should be easy to navigate, contain up-to-date and thorough information, and maintain customers' attention in an interactive way.

In order to be successful, those who work in this field must possess an aptitude for creative, innovative thinking; effective communication; problem-solving; and a strong familiarity with the technical tools involved in web design. Fortunately, for those interested in web design careers, it’s become increasingly important for organizations and companies to have a significant Internet presence in terms of their marketing, communication and advertising efforts.

Best Online Colleges for Web Design

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), no fewer than 127 schools across the country offer an online associate or bachelor's degree in web design. We ran a mountain of data through our multi-point methodology to calculate which ones could be called the best online colleges for web design degrees. Check out the list below.

1

Full Sail University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$16,561
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
30
Accredited
School Type
4-year

The online bachelor's degree in web design at Full Sail University is one of the few four-year degrees offered online in the field. Many of the courses offered as a part of this program address complex topics that are uncommon in most associate degree plans:

  • Scalable data infrastructures
  • Psychology of play
  • Web application integration
  • Server-side languages
  • Technology in entertainment and media

NCES numbers suggest that Full Sail has solid systems in place for helping students succeed. The Florida-based school reported the second-highest graduation rate among the best online colleges for web design degrees.

Accreditation:

  • Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)

Location:

3300 University Blvd.
Winter Park, FL 32792-7429
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2

Stark State College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$2,796
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
13
Accredited
School Type
2-year

Ohio's Stark State College offers an online associate degree program in web design that focuses on the technical side of creating web content. Courses cover multiple programming languages and certain in-depth concepts in computer science.

Here's a short list of subjects covered in the Stark State College degree plan:

  • Programming logic
  • Database design
  • JavaScript and AJAX
  • Content management systems
  • Advanced Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

Essentials of design and web graphics are also covered. In addition to the associate degree, Stark State offers a one-year technical certificate program for students who want to enhance their skills but aren't ready to commit to a full degree plan.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Location:

6100 Frank Ave NW
North Canton, OH 44720
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3

Cerro Coso Community College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$1,288
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
19
Accredited
School Type
2-year

Our No. 3 school offers an online Associate of Science (AS) degree for web designers who want to balance the creative and technical aspects of the field. The study plan includes 33 credit hours of web design coursework. Here are a few of the concepts covered:

  • Digital imaging
  • Accessibility and usability
  • Web design with Adobe Dreamweaver
  • Web production management

Cerro Coso Community College is the only one of the best online schools for web design degrees to be recognized as an official training resource by the World Organization of Webmasters (WOW). Two shorter programs, a web professional certificate and a web fundamentals certificate, are also available online at CCCC.

Accreditation:

  • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)

Location:

3000 College Heights Blvd.
Ridgecrest, CA 93555-9571
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4

Sessions College for Professional Design

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$7,800
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
10
Accredited
School Type
2-year

The No. 1 graduation rate among the best online colleges for web design degrees belongs to this Tempe, Arizona, school. The associate degree in web design offered at Sessions typically takes six semesters to complete, which can be done in two years on a full-time study plan.

The 2017 program outline includes the following design subjects:

  • Color theory
  • Typography
  • Design and composition
  • Internet marketing
  • Design business
  • History of art

Despite its heavy visual design emphasis, the program at Sessions also gives students a solid technical foundation. The curriculum also includes two semesters of HTML and CSS training, JavaScript for designers and a course in WordPress development.

Accreditation:

  • Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)

Location:

51 W 3rd St., Suite E-301,
Tempe, AZ 85281
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5

Rasmussen College - North Dakota

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$9,360
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
61
Accredited
School Type
4-year

This school, based in Fargo, North Dakota, was another frontrunner in the graduation rate category. Rasmussen College took the No. 3 spot among the best online colleges for web design for its percentage of students who successfully completed the program.

The online bachelor's degree in web design at Rasmussen typically takes 36 months of full-time study to complete. The associate program can be completed in half that time by full-time students. Both degrees are offered as specializations within Rasmussen's graphic design degree program. As such, coursework may focus more on the up-front visual elements of web design than on the technical back-end.

Both programs also include a certification in Adobe Photoshop at no additional charge. Bachelor's degree students may have the additional opportunity to earn up to two additional certifications with just the skills they learn in program courses.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Location:

4012 19th Ave. SW
Fargo, ND 58103-7196
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6

Lewis-Clark State College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$6,000
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
7
Accredited
School Type
4-year

This Idaho school offers an online Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree plan in web design and development that provides a good mix of technical and creative subject matter. Here's a sampling of the courses that students take on the road to graduation:

  • Image editing and illustration
  • Internet business programming
  • Multimedia web applications
  • Web authoring systems
  • Web database technologies
  • JavaScript

Lewis-Clark also had the No. 5 graduation rate among our best online colleges for web design degrees. Students interested in a hybrid degree may be able to take some of their courses at a physical location if they live near the Lewiston, Idaho, campus.

Accreditation:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Location:

500 8th Ave.
Lewiston, ID 83501-2698
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7

Eastern Gateway Community College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,510
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
17
Accredited
School Type
2-year

The Web design degree at Eastern Gateway Community College is earned through an Associate of Applied Business (AAB) program in internet and interactive digital media design. The study plan requires at least 62 credits of coursework and takes a somewhat more flexible approach than many other schools on our list.

A few courses, such as interactive media programming and web languages, are listed as mandatory on the graduation plan. A total of 24 credit hours, split into eight three-credit blocks, can be filled by elective courses from the school's interactive digital media catalog. The program aims to balance theoretical concepts with practical, project-based learning.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Comission (HLC)

Location:

4000 Sunset Blvd.
Steubenville, OH 43952-3598
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8

Westmoreland County Community College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$7,320
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
44
Accredited
School Type
2-year

Westmoreland County Community College offers a web technology program with degree options in web publishing, web applications and web development. The web publishing option is the choice likely to be most relevant to aspiring designers, with courses covering subjects like these:

  • Interactive design
  • Web content development
  • Social media
  • Advertising and promotion
  • E-commerce technology

The program's blend of web design, computer technology and business commerce training aims to deliver a well-rounded professional education. Students must complete a total of 61 credit hours in order to earn a web publishing AAS degree from WCCC. The school has an open admission policy.

Accreditation:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

Location:

145 Pavilion Lane
Youngwood, PA 15697-1895
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9

Academy of Art University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$20,040
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
67
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Students at this school, based in San Francisco, California, have a variety of web design degrees to choose from. Those looking for a two-year program can find an Associate of Arts (AA) degree that works to blend art, design and production techniques with the latest web technologies.

The full online bachelor's degree in web design from the university's School of Web Design and New Media takes 132 semester credits to complete. Students who already have a bachelor's degree can opt instead for the school's Second Degree program, which requires just 66 credit hours of coursework.

Academy of Art University students looking to take their web design education even further can go on to an online Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in web design and new media.

Accreditation:

  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)

Location:

79 New Montgomery
San Francisco, CA 94105
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10

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$16,920
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
22
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Multiple online Web design degrees can be earned at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. The school's online bachelor's degree in Web design requires 180 quarter credit hours of coursework and typically takes about 45 months of full-time study to complete.

The 91 quarter credits of the AS degree program can be completed in 24 months of full-time study, about half the time as the bachelor's. The school's internal reporting showed that 29 percent of bachelor's students and 8 percent of associate degree students finished their programs in those time frames in 2014-15.

Of all the best online schools for web design degrees, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh awarded the second-highest percentage of degrees in the field in 2015.

Accreditation:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

Location:

420 Boulevard of the Allies,
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1301
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Sources and Methodologies

Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor's) in that subject online
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2014-15

Once we had our list of schools for each subject, we ranked them on five criteria:

  1. In-state tuition, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  3. Accessibility, based on the admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  4. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  5. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015

Sources:

  1. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2014-15 and 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed February 13, 2017, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  2. College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed February 27, 2017, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
  3. School pages, accessed February 27, 2017: Web Design & Development Bachelor's Degree, Full Sail University, https://www.fullsail.edu/degrees/web-design-and-development-bachelor; Accreditation, Full Sail University, https://www.fullsail.edu/policies-and-guidelines/accreditation; Web Design and Development, Stark State College, https://www.starkstate.edu/academics/programs/web-design-and-development/; Accreditation, Stark State College, https://www.starkstate.edu/about/accreditations/; Web Professional AS, Cerro Coso Community College, https://www.cerrocoso.edu/programs/web-professional-degree; Accreditation, Cerro Coso Community College, https://www.cerrocoso.edu/programs/web-professional-degree; Online Web Design Degree, Sessions College for Professional Design, https://www.sessions.edu/online-degrees/web-design/; Accreditation, Sessions College for Professional Design, https://www.sessions.edu/about-sessions/accreditation/; Design Degrees, Rasmussen College, http://degrees.rasmussen.edu/Design; Accreditation, Rasmussen College, http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/accreditation/; Web Design & Development, Lewis-Clark State College, http://www.lcsc.edu/business-technology/degree-programs/web-development/; College and Program Accreditation, Lewis-Clark State College, http://www.lcsc.edu/nursing/radiographic-science/jrcert-info/; Internet & Interactive Digital Media Design, Eastern Gateway Community College, http://www.egcc.edu/future-students/academic-programs/internet-interactive-digital-media-design-aab; Accreditation, Eastern Gateway Community College, http://www.egcc.edu/more-topics/accreditation; Web Publishing, Westmoreland County Community College, https://wccc.edu/pages/future-students/academic-programs/web-technology/web-publishing/; Accreditation & Nondiscrimination, Westmoreland County Community College, https://wccc.edu/pages/future-students/about/accreditation-nondiscrimination/; Online Web Design & New Media Degree Programs, Academy of Art University, http://www.academyart.edu/academics/web-design/online; Accreditation, About Us, Academy of Art University, http://www.academyart.edu/about-us#accreditation; Online Web Design & Interactive Media Degree Programs, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division, https://www.artinstitutes.edu/online/academics/visual-design/web-design-interactive-media-degree-programs; Accreditation, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division, https://www.artinstitutes.edu/online/about/accreditation; Web Design & Interactive Media Bachelor's Degree, The Art Institutes, http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/201; Web Design & Interactive Media Associate Degree, The Art Institutes, http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/202;
  4. Education Alliance Directory, World Organization of Webmasters, accessed February 27, 2017, https://webprofessionals.org/education/wowedaffiliate/directory/
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Sources and Methodologies