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Visual Arts Pathway

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Is your student an artist with a knack for visual communication? Do they love the challenge of creating the perfect image to convey a thought or an emotion, inspire action, or explain a concept? Then they might be right for a career in digital design!

Whether they work as graphic designers, multimedia artists, or animators, today’s designers are high-tech. Digital designers use innovative technology and graphic design software to create visually stunning, high-impact images and reach target audiences where they are: online. They need to be artistic, tech-savvy, and effective communicators.

Digital designers work in a variety of professional settings. They might design artist renderings of real estate developments, create images for use in a company’s online or print advertising campaigns, or create infographics for news organizations or corporate communications. They might even work on the next big animated movie production!

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Gain real-world skills through project-based learning.

Stride Career Prep* has implemented project-based learning (PBL) into the curriculum, so that classwork mirrors what students will be doing in the workplace. With project-based learning, there’s little to memorize and repeat. Instead, students get a real-life problem to solve and work with a team to develop a creative solution. We also emphasize teaching the technological tools today’s graphic designers need, so you’ll learn Adobe Illustrator and InDesign.

Our Visual Arts Pathway Curriculum in Detail

All our students take the core courses required for high school graduation in their state. The chart below shows the additional classes that students in the Visual Arts Pathway take. You can see the rest of the curriculum by viewing the full course list.

These courses provide an opportunity for students to gain insight into potential careers.
These courses prepare students for industry-recognized certification exams.
While not required, these courses provide an opportunity for students to gain knowledge and skills that are useful in their chosen careers.
Arts, AV, Communications ExplorationsAdobe Illustrator with Exam Prep
Adobe Photoshop with Exam Prep
Adobe InDesign with Exam Prep
Digital Arts 1
Digital Arts 2
Digital Photography 1
Digital Photography 2
Digital Photography 3
Image Design and Editing
Fashion Design
Interior Design
3D Modeling 1
3D Modeling 2
Animation 1
Note: Pathway courses are subject to change.

Get credentialed.

In a world where competition for jobs, pay increases, and academic success continues to increase, certifications provide a credible, third-party assessment of a student’s skills and knowledge of a given subject. Students in this pathway can prepare to take these industry-recognized certification exams:**

These baseline certifications prepare students with domain-specific, entry-level job skills.
NOCTI Interactive Media
NOCTI Visual Communications and Interactive Media Design
These certifications indicate students have acquired skills needed to perform a job with little or no support.
Adobe Certified Professional:
– Graphic Design & Illustration (Illustrator)
– Visual Design (Photoshop)
– Print & Digital Media Publication (InDesign)
These certifications indicate students have earned one or more pre-requisite Employment Ready certifications and demonstrated advanced skills.
Adobe Specialty Credential — Certified Professional:
– Visual Design (Photoshop + Illustrator or InDesign)

Get ahead of the competition.

We encourage students to jumpstart the job search by helping them create a professional résumé, cover letter, and profile on Tallo, the leading professional networking platform for Gen Z. Plus, they connect virtually to working business professionals and entrepreneurs through Nepris.***

Find a school near you that offers the technical systems pathway.

Stride Career Prep programs with the Visual Arts Pathway are available at tuition-free, K12-powered public online schools in the following states:

Don’t see your state? Check out the tuition-based option here in the Visual Arts Pathway. There are also tuition-free options in related fields like the Web and Digital Communications Pathway!

Choose a career. Prepare for the future.

Students in this pathway can prepare for a wide variety of careers in the field of marketing, including:

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers work with clients to create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. They often determine the layout and develop the graphics for advertisements, brochures, magazines, and reports. While the profession is overall declining, graphic designers with strong computer skills will continue to be in demand.
2021 Median Salary
Expected Job Growth Rate for 2020–2030
Slower than average
Typical Entry-Level Education
Bachelor’s degree

This data reflects the information available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook on July 1, 2022. To learn more about this occupation, visit  bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/graphic-designers.htm.

Multimedia Artist/Animator

Multimedia artists and animators create images and visual effects, including computer-generated images (CGI), for television, movies, video games, and other forms of media. They may create these images and special effects using computer animation software, writing their own code, or working on mobile gaming platforms.
2021 Median Salary
Expected Job Growth Rate for 2020–2030
Much faster than average
Typical Entry-Level Education
Bachelor’s degree

This data reflects the information available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook on July 1, 2022. To learn more about this occupation, visit bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/multimedia-artists-and-animators.htm.

Fashion Designer

Fashion designers create clothing, accessories, and footwear for wholesale or manufacturing establishments, apparel companies, retailers, theater or dance companies, and design firms. They work closely with a design team to develop ideas for new products based on research data.

2021 Median Salary

Expected Job Growth Rate for 2020–2030
Little change

Typical Entry-Level Education
Bachelor’s degree

This data reflects the information available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook on July 1, 2022. To learn more about this occupation, visit bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/fashion-designers.htm.


While a degree is not a strict requirement, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is recommended. Education in fashion design, fashion technology, and textiles and fabric design or related fields is typical. In addition, some training in business management is necessary for senior fashion designers. A master’s degree in business administration, retail fundamentals, or related areas is a bonus.

In high school, take college preparatory classes and basic art and design courses. You can also start building your portfolio—a collection of completed works demonstrating your style and abilities. Your portfolio can include projects you do in school and materials you create on the job or for a cause you care about. You might look for an internship or afterschool job to help build your portfolio.

Learn more about course offerings in the other Stride Career Prep career fields.

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Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources

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Business Management & Administration

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Criminal Justice & Community Services

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Education & Training

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Engineering & Manufacturing

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Health Sciences

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Hospitality & Tourism

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Information Technology (IT)

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Visual Arts & Communications

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*Stride Career Prep is a program for grades 9–12. Some schools offer career exploration in middle school.
**Many Microsoft®️ Office certificates can be earned after completing one course. Other certificates require more classes to be better prepared, and students who participate in the program for at least two years will have further preparation for certification testing.
***Opportunities vary by school; please visit your school page or check with your school counselor.