NMC Visual Communications program students in a studio photo shoot

Visual Communications - Commercial Art Degrees

NMC Visual Communications program students check out a digital scannerAt NMC, emphasis is placed on learning marketable job skills, the design process, problem-solving techniques and portfolio preparation for a career in the Commercial Arts. The program is oriented to careers in advertising design, film, animation and graphic design.

There are plentiful opportunities for hands-on work including a Studio class where students partner with area nonprofits to complete service-learning projects in both digital and print media.

Employment opportunities include entry-level positions in web, print and film at design firms, manufacturers, advertising agencies and publications. Web design, film, social media and animation are especially in-demand niches within the field. Freelance work (self-employment) is another common option either by itself or paired with a salaried position. Technical classes in this program offer the testing to certify with Apple and Adobe and are taught by certified trainers, and all digital classes take place in an Apple Certified Mac lab.

NMC’s curriculum is augmented by student publications that offer you opportunities to gain real-world experience. The student newspaper White Pine Press is published several times each semester. The NMC Magazine is published semi-annually.

Students who plan to transfer to a 4-year art college should complete the Associate of Applied Science degree in Visual Communication or the Associate in Science and Arts degree if they plan to transfer to a more general liberal arts college. Upon completion of the VCA AAS, you can also opt to add on another year and gain the Visual Communications Creative Management in Art Direction AAS.

Explore Careers Related To This Program

Transfer Information: Articulation Agreements

Photo Galleries

Want to see what you'll create in class? Choose a link below to view a gallery of student projects.

Course Descriptions

Course Sequence Guide

Program Requirements

Contact Us

Tuition and Fees

General Academic Programs

Residency Status

Tuition Rate

In-District ( Grand Traverse County residents) Tuition

$122.00 per contact hour

In-State ( other Michigan counties) Tuition

$261.00 per contact hour

Out-of-state Tuition

$340.00 per contact hour

International Tuition

$383.00 per contact hour

General Fee for all residencies:

Other fee of $33.00 per contact hour is a general fee covering a portion of costs for technology, orientation, placement, career testing, Student Government Association, and other student service activities.

$33.00 per contact hour

Cost of Attendance

General Academic Programs Annual (Fall/Spring) Cost






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Note: For more information on how COA component estimates are calculated, see the bottom of the Tuition and Fees page.

Enrolled students can find their own calculated Cost of Attendance in NMC Self-Service under Financial Aid. Others can use the Net Price Calculator to estimate the total annual cost of attending NMC based on their program and enrollment plans, along with financial aid eligibility.

Visual Communications Programs

NMC Magazine Digital Issues

Check out some student artwork on NMC Magazine's Digital Issue.

The Lesson Of The Lark

This collaborative virtual performance features the NMC Choirs under the direction of Jeffrey Cobb, and members of the Music faculty. Audio Tech students assisted in the audio mixing, and the video was created by Visual Communication students under the leadership of program director Caroline Schaefer-Hills.

In The News

NMC partners with Savannah College of Art and Design

December 28, 2017

NMC students offer pro bono work for nonprofits

December 7, 2015


"NMC gave me the courage and credentials I needed to be a designer. With technology rapidly evolving we need creative problem solvers and 'design thinkers' to tackle some of our planet's greatest challenges. Whether you want to work for the public, government, or private sector, there are countless opportunities for those who are passionate and hard working. NMC's VCA program opened up my eyes to a world full of profitable design opportunity. Today, I am employed as a graphic designer/web specialist, thanks largely to NMC's VCA program and the courage it inspired in me to take the next steps forward."

NMC VCA Graduate