• Class Time: Day and Evening
  • Semester: Fall or Spring Semester
  • Campus: Brooklyn Park
Apply Now


Graphic design is an important part of our visual world. From websites to magazines to brochures to product packaging, a graphic designer plays a role in determining how they look. In HTC’s Graphic Design program, you’ll benefit from hands-on training that prepares you to present ideas and concepts using the most advanced technology, whether your emphasis is in creative, web design or the printing industry. When you start here, you’re on your way to designing a successful future.


Labs and Classrooms

Our labs are equipped with cutting edge equipment and software.  Our new Industry speed labs are equipped with both Windows and Mac software set up as dual-boot Intel 27-inch Mac workstations with scanners and server access on all stations. Our students have access to a large format 42in photo quality printer, high end color work station, and black and white printers for mockups and proofing designs.  Programs such as the Adobe Design Premium suite software including InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks (to name a few) are used with the latest versions and updated regularly. This gives the student the most current software and hardware in which to learn and become skilled for employment. Students have access to over 60 high end Mac computer stations, scanners and a full functioning production lab to simulate work environments. Courses are developed and delivered progressively to build students' abilities to a work-ready level in a Graphic Design environment.

Supplies / Tools

Students are able to use the program computers, software, and equipment during scheduled class time and during open lab hours (posted in H175). While this access provides many opportunities for students to work on course projects and exercises,  some students choose to purchase their own equipment to provide more flexibility. We encourage new students to wait until they have completed at least one semester before purchasing personal hardware and software to facilitate a more informed purchase. Many students take a course on Mac Technologies which helps them further understand hardware and software to help decide on equipment purchases. Student discounts on supplies are also available. Consult with instructors for additional information.

There are various tools and supplies needed in Graphic Design including:

  • If taking a Basic Drawing course, a drawing supply kit
  • External hard drive USB or (preferably Firewire 800 or a 400-800 adapter might be needed) as our computers have either USB or 800FW.
  • Additional supplies as needed for the ever changing technologies.

NOTE: You will be directed at the beginning of each class as to what specific supplies and tools are needed. The Campus Store also carries a list of supplies for individual courses each semester.

Entry Requirements

Placement Testing

Students enrolling at Hennepin Technical College will complete Accuplacer Placement Testing. The purpose of the assessment test is to provide you and the college with information about your current academic skill levels in reading, writing, mathematics, and computer literacy. This will help you select appropriate courses and support services, help you succeed, plan a course of study with your counselor or academic advisor, and have a successful college experience.


Work Environment

During and after college, graphic designers prepare by developing a portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of your best work, typically a strong suit is shown revealing a style. It demonstrates your skills in many ways to clients or employers. A portfolio may include hand drawings, sketch ideas, before and after work, computer images, photos, and print samples.

Participating in an internship while in college is excellent preparation for this occupation. An internship helps you build skills, demonstrate talent, and make job contacts.

On-the-Job Training
Beginning designers usually receive on-the-job training. You can spend up to a year working with an experienced designer, but usually training lasts weeks to a few months.

Hiring Practice
Employers prefer to hire graphic designers who have excellent portfolios. They want to see work that demonstrates the talent and skills they require for the job. Employers also prefer applicants with strong computer skills. In addition, employers prefer graphic designers who can present their ideas clearly to clients. Typically an associate's degree will get you started in a career track, but some employers may require that graphic designers have a bachelor's degree and a few years of direct work experience or internship and freelance experience.

Advancement Opportunities
Experienced and successful graphic designers may advance to assistant art director, art director, or design director. In some companies, they may advance to creative director of an art or design department. Graphic designers may develop their skills to the point that they can specialize in one area, such as website design. Some may gain enough success to open their own business or have successful freelance careers.

Wages vary by area of the country. Wages also vary based on the type of project and the skill of the graphic designer. Experienced, self-employed graphic designers can earn much more than those who earn salaries. However, when they are starting out, they can earn much less. Wages tend to be higher in some industries, such as advertising. Full-time graphic designers usually earn benefits such as sick leave, paid vacation, and health insurance. Self-employed designers must provide their own insurance.

In Minnesota, about 4,497 graphic designers work in this medium-sized occupation.
About 26% of graphic designers are self-employed.

Examples of Employers

  • Advertising agencies 
  • Graphic design studios
  • In-house design departments
  • Packaging Design and Marketing service companies
  • Traditional print design-media, magazine, and book publishers

Job Outlook / Gainful Employment

Possible job titles include: Graphic Designer, Artist,  Production Supervisor,  Creative Manager,  Design Director,  Desktop Publisher,  Graphic Designer/Production,  Creative Director,  Designer,  Graphic Artist,Graphic Specialist, Art Director, Publication Designer

Gainful Employment Disclosure:


Starting wage is around $22-$36 hourly

Potential Job Titles

Graphic Designer, Artist, Production Supervisor, Creative Manager, Design Director, Desktop Publisher, Graphic Designer/Production, Creative Director, Designer, Graphic Artist,Graphic Specialist, Art Director, Publication Designer


AIGA, NAPP, PIM, ADFED, SkillsUSA, Photoshop user group, Dreamweaver user group, InDesign user group


If you choose to further your education after graduating from HTC, the college has several articulation agreements from which you can choose. Contact the Graphic Design faculty for more information, or see a list of current articulation agreements by visiting the Minnesota Transfer website.

Agreements with many high schools in Minnesota allow students to receive credit. The Graphic Design program is constantly willing to explore potential college credit options for new students with both life and past training experience.


The Graphic Design advisory committee is comprised of art directors, production managers, business owners, and freelance artists who work in a diverse range of industry sectors relating to both print and web media. Their input helps assure the program is constantly advancing, meeting, and often exceeding, industry requirements. The advisory committee meets twice per year officially and throughout the year assisting in tours, guest speaking engagements, internships, job shadowing, reviewing portfolios, resume reviews, and contest judging. Our advisory committee is key in our advancement and success,

Apply Now Search Awards Search Courses