Web designers are in high demand as the digital sphere takes off. Those who work in web design and development are the ones who create eye-catching websites and widely-used phone applications.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, forecasts predict a 23% job growth for web developers and digital designers between 2021 and 2031. The uptick is mainly expected due to the ongoing use of smartphones and digital technologies and as companies continue their online offerings.
Of course, for a successful career in web design, it’s critical to receive the finest education from one of the best web design schools in the United States. But first, knowing what makes a web design school top-notch and where you should begin your search is necessary.
What to Look for in a Web Design School?
Those interested in attending one of the best web design schools in the U.S. must ensure that whichever institution they select delivers. A college education should provide excellent learning and professional growth opportunities to secure a web design career. Here are a few items to consider when choosing the best web design school.
When browsing web design schools online, look at each program’s curriculum. What courses do they offer? Do certain classes teach specific web design software? Are there technology labs for a more hands-on approach to learning?
Also, check the number of credits required for graduation and whether students must participate in internships or workshops.
Concentrations and Minors
Some web design programs allow students to concentrate or minor in a specific sub-niche of web design. In other programs, web design is the concentration.
The best web design schools might offer the following concentrations and minors:
- User interface (UI)/user experience (UX)
- Digital marketing
- Interactive media
- Web and mobile application development
- Graphic design
- Web development
Students can broaden their knowledge of web design concepts by exploring related topics. Deep-diving into sub-niches may also give students a leg up in the job search.
Although many college students expressed dissatisfaction with the emergency transition to online learning during COVID-19, today, about 73% strongly or somewhat agree that they’d enroll in fully online courses in the future.
Students must decide how they want to learn web design in college, whether through in-person instruction, remote learning or hybrid courses.
Individual learning styles should also play into this decision — some students are more engaged and understand the material better in the classroom.
The best web design schools offer internships for students to gain experiential career preparation, apply curriculum concepts in a workplace setting, and develop professional skills.
Studies suggest that internship participation results in high-quality job offers and enables networking among industry professionals. Additionally, it’s an opportunity for the student to receive quality feedback from their supervisors to make improvements.
A recent study found that 71.3% of college students utilized their school’s career services when looking for internships or needing job search assistance.
What’s more, the Career Services department can help students create a stand-out resume and cover letter to apply for jobs. As web design majors, students should develop an online portfolio that explains their creative processes and highlights their best projects and achievements.
Although a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for most web design jobs, students may want to continue honing their skills with an advanced degree.
Students can verify that their web design school offers a master’s program, doctorate program, or continuing education courses. This will make it much easier for them to transfer into an advanced degree program where they’re already established without having to transfer elsewhere.
6 Best Web Design Schools
Choosing the best web design school isn’t easy, especially since several colleges offer exemplary education. Once students have determined what they want in a school, they can compare different programs to make the best selection. But where does one start their search? Here are six of the best web design schools in the U.S.
1. Clark State College
Located in Springfield, Ohio, in the southwestern part of the state, Clark State College should be one’s first choice when planning to study web design.
Clark State offers a bachelor of applied science (B.A.S.) in web design and development that provides a comprehensive background in front- and back-end web development, ensuring they have in-demand skills and expertise for employers looking to hire fresh talent.
Foundational courses cover HTML, CSS, UI/UX, and web server interactions. Students also have an opportunity to master key web design software like Linux, Mac OS and Windows applications.
They’ll also need to complete two senior project classes and submit a capstone during their senior year to graduate.
2. Brigham Young University Idaho
Students at Brigham Young University (BYU) Idaho can pursue an associate degree in web design or website development before moving on to their bachelor’s degree program.
They’ll start their web design journey at BYU Idaho’s bachelor of science (B.S.) program with one of its introductory courses: Introduction to Programming or Web Fundamentals. Once they’ve jumped into the program curriculum, they can join the Student Web Design & Development Society to build greater interactions with their peers.
Before graduating, students spend a minimum of 300 hours on a capstone internship experience, working at least 20 hours weekly to hone their skills in the workplace.
3. Full Sail University
One of the best web design schools for creative college-bound students is Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida.
Students enrolled at Full Sail University have three options for pursuing an education in web design:
- Undergraduate Certificate in User Experience: Seven-month program focused on UI/UX design fundamentals
- B.S. in User Experience: A 29-month online bachelor’s degree program that helps student develop their professional portfolios in UI/UX design
- B.S. Graphic Design: Offered online and in-person, providing a comprehensive background in the field, from print publications to UI design
To ensure students get the most out of their time at Full Sail, they may join the school’s Project LaunchBox program, in which sophomores are provided an Apple MacBook Pro with the latest web tools and software to create compelling web design projects.
4. University of California, San Diego
Is there anything sweeter than pursuing a web design program in one of the nation’s up-and-coming technology hubs? The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) delivers an accelerated professional certificate program for aspiring web designers.
The program, which students can complete in one year, covers everything from different software to coding to standard web design and development concepts. Students will also gain exposure to advertising campaigns and branding.
The professional certificate is ideal for students interested in learning more about the business side of web design.
At the end of the curriculum, students will need to complete a portfolio development course where they will compile their best work for applying to jobs and learn how to market themselves.
Fortunately, USCD caters to remote learners, offering web design professional certificate classes online throughout the week.
5. University of Connecticut
The University of Connecticut’s (UCONN) School of Fine Arts offers several web design programs for students at various degree levels. Some of the degree programs include the following:
- Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Web/Interactive Media Design:
- B.A. in Digital Media Design
- Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Digital Media & Design
- Online Graduate Certificate in Digital Media and Design
At UCONN, students will dive into the school’s digital media and design programs to hone their skills in specific design fields like game design, 3D animation, interactive media and business.
While admission is highly competitive and requires a portfolio for consideration. However, those who get in take a curriculum comprising computer science, social science and art topics.
Students also get the unique experience of working on a design team through an agency course, developing web design projects for real clients.
6. Michigan State University
Michigan State University (MSU) takes a different approach to web design and development education, providing students with the MSU Coding Boot Camp.
Students can complete their online boot camp program in 24 weeks through live online classes, readings, and assignments concentrating on computer languages and databases.
The MSU Coding Boot Camp is also ideal for students with hectic schedules. The online delivery is highly flexible and enables students to learn coding at their own pace. They’ll also be able to create a portfolio of their projects as they work through the two-year curriculum.
Of course, online courses aren’t for everyone. Therefore, MSU has teaching assistants and tutors that students can turn to for help with their lessons. The school also offers career services like reviewing resumes and mock interviews.
The Best Web Design Schools for a Successful Career
The best web design schools in the U.S. prepare students for success in the field. Applying themselves to their work will ensure the most critical concepts stick as they hone in on their digital artistic abilities.