It is Said that Graphic Designers Don't Need a Professional Degree. Why?

It is Said that Graphic Designers Don’t Need a Professional Degree. Why?

Your parents, teachers, and family friends must have continuously lectured you on the importance of a professional degree. One bad grade would result in a lecture on how you will not get admission into a university, and how it will affect your chances of getting a professional degree. For them, a professional degree was the prerequisite of entering the professional workforce. So It is Said that Graphic Designers Don’t Need a Professional Degree. Why?

Although it was true not so long ago, things have changed over the last decade or so. The argument is that employers are no longer interested in the employee having a bachelor’s degree or not. The only thing employers are interested in whether the employee can get the work done. This argument is put forward by people across different fields, especially developers and graphic designers.

Not only is getting a professional degree in graphic or web designing expensive, but there are a lot of alternatives available today. Many websites offer professional courses nowadays, which allows the user to get in-demand skills at a fraction of the cost. Among the many websites, Skillshare. Coursera, Lynda, and Udemy are at the top, and companies highly value their courses.

So, the question is whether formal education is a prerequisite to getting a skilled level job?

An honest answer is that it depends on the industry and the company that you are trying to get into. Many organizations will require a professional degree, while others are more interested in your skills, then your degree. However, it is not the only thing to consider when deciding you should get a professional degree or opt for developing your skills through alternative means.

This article focuses on the graphic designing industry. It aims to inform readers whether aspiring graphic designers can join the industry without a professional degree and be successful. The article will discuss both, pros and cons, of getting a professional degree in the field of graphic design.

The Pros

1. Helps You Learn & Master the Principles

Learning and mastering the principles of design act as a backbone for your entire career. Whenever a graphic is created, it will contain different elements. How the different elements will be balanced is determined by the principles. The effective and proper use of contrast, rhythm or centre of interest is all dictated by the principles.

Therefore, if you want your graphic to stand out, then learning and mastering the principles is a must. The different online courses will not teach you about the principles of design. They will be more focused on teaching you the different tools and techniques that will be used in designing.

2. Feedback Helps You to Improves

In your professional degree, your teacher or peers would continuously give you feedback on how the graphics can be improved. Moreover, it will help you to present your ideas to people. The feedback from the teacher and other students combined with the experience of trying to communicate your idea to others is beneficial for your professional growth.

When learning online, you will not be provided with critical feedback. Without it, your professional growth will be stunted, and you will lag far behind designers who have a professional degree.

3. Helps Establish a Professional Network

A professional degree is not just a means of getting a formal education. University helps you to develop a professional network. Many people say that they got this job because their friend or senior in university recommended them. Sometimes, your peers will also refer you to clients. However, without a professional degree, it will be challenging to set up a reliable, professional network.

4. Teaches You How to Work Within Deadlines

In university, you must submit your projects within a deadline. Failure to do so would result in failing the subject. In the professional world, every employee must work within deadlines. Therefore, your professional degree is preparing you for the real world. On the other hand, online courses allow you to study at your convenience without any deadlines.

5. Teaches You to Prioritize and Manage Different Projects

In a professional degree, you will be taught different subjects, and each subject will have projects and assignments which must be submitted within the deadlines. Therefore, a professional degree will help you prioritize various projects and manage them within their deadlines. It is something which cannot be learned without a professional degree.


1. Your Degree Will Soon Be Outdated

Technology is an always evolving field. There is a high possibility that what you learn in your degree, is no longer relevant in the professional world. Mordy Golding, Director Content at LinkedIn, reveals that the shelf life of a professional degree is less than five years.

Therefore, after investing considerable time and money, you will once again be forced into investing in a new degree. Otherwise, you risk losing relevance in the industry. Therefore, your degree will not matter unless you learn new skills. Moreover, a professional degree is already expensive; getting another degree might land you in much debt.

2. Does Not Prepare You for the Real World

After learning graphic designing online, the user spends a considerable amount of time trying to find freelance contacts or landing a job at a company. The countless hours and countless rejections help them to understand better what the real world is like. It gives them an edge over professionals who enter the market with no clue about the real world.

3. Does Not Help You Make a Professional Portfolio

Moreover, a person who learns graphic designing without a degree can help build a more elaborate portfolio. When you are making designs in university, the goal is to please the teacher and get a good grade. On the other hand, freelance designers create graphics to please their clients.

Therefore, their portfolio is much more elaborate and professional. Many employers rate a portfolio higher than a professional degree. This gives them an edge over professional degree holders who lack a professional portfolio.

4. Kills Your Creativity

As said before, in a professional degree, the goal is to create a graphic that gets you a good grade. Therefore, it kills your creativity as most of you will be afraid to experiment with your design due to a fear of bad grade. On the other hand, a freelance graphic designer works free of such constraints. Therefore, they continuously experiment with their designs which helps them to be more creative.


You will find people who have dropped out of university and go on to establish multibillion-dollar companies. Similarly, you will find individuals with a professional degree going on to establish multibillion-dollar companies.

Similarly, in your life, you are likely to come across individuals with and without a professional graphic design degree who are not only successful but pioneers in their fields. Getting a degree does have its pros and cons. However, the defining factor is that the individual must be willing to learn and adapt to the changing trends continuously.