digital image created by student Liza Brown

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to enroll?

To enroll in the Digital Design Associate Degree program, you should have a creative ability and a basic understanding of the computer keyboard. Additionally, you must have a high school diploma or GED certificate. Both of these requirements can be fulfilled at Pierce College. If you'd like to get started in this exciting field, contact contact the program coordinator at 253-964-6473.

Do I need to be an artist to be successful?

Yes and No. You need to have a creative mind and the love of creating. If you are a good artist or the artistic type, you can go very far in the world of graphic design and multimedia as long as you can master the computer tools. If you're not an artist or the artistic type, there are still job possibilities in the world of graphic design and multimedia, but not as many. If you're not sure about being an artistic type of person or not, we suggest you take the ART 101 class. It's part of our degree and the experience you have there may answer questions you have about your abilities.

Graphic design is a highly competitive field. If you are weak in one ability, you may find the need to be very strong in a different ability to remain competitive.

When can I start?

You can start in the program at any time. The Digital Design program has 20 credits of General Requirement classes and 20 credits of Art and Enhance Digital Design courses you'll need for the degree. Those classes are offered throughout the year. The Digital Design 110 and 121 classes (the recommended starting classes) are offered twice each year. The daytime classes start each winter and the evening classes start each spring. Go to the Curriculum Sheet for more info on the actual requirements.

Is there a waiting list?

No. Pierce College registration is based upon longevity as a Pierce College student and current enrollment status. Those that are current Pierce College students with the most credits, get to register first. Students interested in enrolling in Digital Design or any other program are assigned registration times each quarter. Our classes fill up very fast, so the earlier the registration time, the better. Because of this, we are suggesting that students interested in the Digital Design program apply for admission and get registered for classes as close as possible to any assigned registration time. The intro Digital Design classes traditionally close around the third day of registration. In addition, you must set up an advising appointment with a Digital Design instructor BEFORE your registration appointment.

If I start taking classes for Digital Design, am I guaranteed spots at registration time?

No. See the above answer. Registration queues at Pierce are based upon longevity as a Pierce College student and current enrollment status. Each student is given a registration appointment to sign up for the next quarter classes. Registration for classes is on a first come basis, so depending on that appointment time, certain classes may already be closed. A student should meet with someone in the Digital Design program coordinator (253-964-6473) well BEFORE that registration appointment to look at class options. It is a student's responsibility to check the Pierce kiosks or website to find out when their registration appointment is.

Can I challenge any of the Digital Design courses?

We understand that students coming back from industry for retraining may not need training in certain areas. For cases like that, credit may be earned through the creation of a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Portfolio. If a person coming in from industry can show skills that map to one or more of our courses they can earn up to 25 credits for those courses.

Creation of a PLA does not guarantee credit will be granted. Students will have to show creations that meet all of the outcomes of a course. Contact the Digital Design program coordinator (253-964-6473) for more details on the steps and costs involved in challenging a course.

It is also important to note the Digital Design curriculum covers software packages and topics integrated throughout our courses. Skipping one class may mean missing an introduction of skills used in another. For those interested in specialized training, we would suggest Pierce Colleges Continuing Education at 964-6616.

Are the software packages taught the same ones used on the job?

For the most part, yes. You need to realize that there are several software packages out that all do the same thing. We use the ones that our advisory committee would call "industry standard." While Adobe Photoshop is the most used imaging software in the world, some jobs may be using a different package, or not have the same version you were trained on. While we concentrate on Adobe Illustrator, many jobs use an alternative. By teaching a wide variety of software packages and abilities, you'll also learn some problem-solving techniques to be able to pick up a new package or interface and use it quickly. Here is a link to the software tools we teach in the Digital Design program.