Students who want to study multimedia at the associate's degree level can earn an Associate of Art (AA), Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or Associate of Science (AS) degree. These programs combine instruction in art, design, communication and technology. Students acquire the skills necessary to produce original print, video and web content. Prior to graduation, students must gain practical experience through an internship or co-operative work with clients and businesses. They must also submit a final portfolio of work.
Associate of Multimedia
These programs combine theoretical studies in mass communication and media concepts with practical, production-based coursework. Students learn about all of the stages of media production, from planning and storyboard writing to editing and final publication or release. They are often required to combine visuals, text, graphics and sound. Possible course topics include:
- Graphic and visual design
- Video and audio production
- Web design
- Digital arts and communication
- Animation and illustration
- Multimedia editing
Popular Career Options
Freelance work or self-employment may appeal to some graduates of multimedia degree programs, while others may choose to work for design firms, television stations, print or electronic media outlets, multimedia production companies, animation studios, Web design companies or other private corporations with multimedia production needs. Some possible job titles in multimedia include:
- Media editor
- Graphics artist
- Web designer
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a 4% decrease in job opportunities for graphic designers during the 2019-2029 decade. The amount of jobs for special effects artists and animators is expected to increase 4% during the same time period. In May of 2019, the BLS reported that graphic designers received an average annual wage of $56,510 and special effects artists and animators earned $84,780.
The BLS lists a wide range of careers open to associate's degree holders in the multimedia, graphic design, art and video industries (www.bls.gov). An associate's degree may be sufficient to work for some employers or to gain freelance, independent or contract-based work, provided an individual has developed a strong professional portfolio, acquired business contacts and demonstrated competency through work experience. However, the BLS notes that media professionals who hold bachelor's degrees in a media or communications field have greater employment prospects, so students may be interested in further undergraduate education after earning an associate's degree. O*Net OnLine reported that 62% of graphic designers, 62% of multimedia artists and animators and 65% of film and video editors hold a bachelor's degree (www.onetonline.org).
Additionally, rapid updates and improvements in digital technology, electronic media formats and web-based media require that multimedia professionals seek out means of continuing education to stay in step with industry standards, such as workshops and seminars.
To summarize, an associate's degree in multimedia is a great way to launch a media career, but students may need to pursue further studies in order to compete in a tight job industry.