Applied Visual Arts

Applied Visual Arts

Program Overview

Awards/Outcomes Credits Location
 Applied Visual Arts - A.A.S. Degree 72 cr. Rosemount

Major Description

This program prepares students for careers in commercial art and design. A unique combination of courses offers training in the traditional techniques of drawing and painting in conjunction with digital art techniques using computer graphics programs. The coursework trains students in the design process to explore, plan, design and produce visual solutions to communications problems. A foundation in art techniques, design principles, creative problem solving, concept development, illustration, typography and layout are established. Students will gain the skills necessary for an entry-level position in the commercial art field and will have employment opportunities in a number of related industries, including marketing, publishing, advertising and animation.

Applied Visual Arts Advisor & Instructors
Amy Eppen
Amy Eppen
Enrollment Advisor and Financial Aid Specialist
Gwen Partin
Gwen Partin
See yourself in the Applied Visual Arts Program at DCTC!

Program Costs*

Applied Visual Arts
  Applied Visual Arts
A.A.S. Degree – 72 credits
Tuition $168.95/cr.
Fees $20.81/cr.
Tools/Equipment $350
Textbooks $1,050
Supplies $450
Personal Property Fee $300
Grand Total $15,812.72

*Estimated amounts based on 2014–15 tuition and fees.

Put Your Tuition on Ice!

That's right. Tuition will remain the same for the next two years, making your degree even more affordable. Learn more about the tuition freeze.

Scholarship Opportunities

Each year, Dakota County Technical College and the DCTC Foundation make more than $200,000 in scholarships available to our students. Students are encouraged to create an account and apply for scholarships online.

Work-Study & Student Worker Positions

Students looking for ways to help finance their college education can find part-time jobs on campus with various DCTC departments and programs. Deliver your completed Work-Study Application to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid and search for openings at College Central Network Services. For more information, you can review Work Study Procedure.

Financial Aid

Step 1: Apply now for financial aid. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
DCTC's Federal School Code: 010402

Step 2: After receiving an official award letter from DCTC, you may apply online for a Federal Stafford Student Loan. Visit the Loans page for more information.

Financial Aid Inforgraphic
See yourself in the Applied Visual Arts Program at DCTC!


Applied Visual Arts
Carlos Merino

Carlos Merino

Applied Visual Arts Alumnus

"I was looking for very practical and hands-on courses that taught the skills I needed to work in the industry. DCTC offered all that, and in addition, it was within my budget."

As an ESL student, I found many challenges, especially during the first semester. However, teachers and staff members always had time to attend to my questions and inquiries. They were available, helpful and understanding. Also, I had the opportunity to combine skills with students from the Photography Program on collaborative projects.

I was looking for very practical and hands-on courses that taught the skills I needed to work in the industry. DCTC offered all that, and in addition, it was within my budget.

I really enjoyed my time working, applying techniques I learned in class and then realizing I was taking my work to another level. DCTC helped me to be up-to-date with software widely used in the industry and taught me techniques and principles I use on my job on a daily basis.

The time at DCTC is unique and very valuable. You can get to know your craft first hand, either from lectures by professionals or shadowing at companies in the field. Besides your academics, taking advantage of these opportunities is what makes you professionally knowledgeable and therefore makes you stand out in a job interview.

Take advantage of teachers and resources to learn more; be proactive in your learning process and ask questions; have projects and objectives – they will motivate you; let the teachers know what your goals are, they will help you to achieve them; share with other students and enrich one another with what you have learned. This is your time: the more of yourself you put into it, the more you will get out of these programs. Today, I am a freelance graphic designer and cartoonist at


Sara Erlandson

Sara Erlandson

Applied Visual Arts Alumna

"I found the program and staff at DCTC to be top-notch and easily comparable to that of a four-year college, but at only one quarter the price."

I chose DCTC because I wanted smaller class sizes and a hands-on experience pertaining to my major versus what I would find at a university. What I liked best about DCTC was the frequent one-on-one interaction with my instructors and the large variety of class choices. Class sizes were kept small, so I was able to get the extra interaction I needed to complete projects to my full potential. Also, with the variety of class choices, I was able to sneak in some extra photography classes to expand my skills.

I really enjoyed the instructors and the experience they had to offer their students. It was very inspiring to see first-hand the different career paths I could take with Graphic Design Technology and Applied Visual Arts A.A.S. degrees.

The one thing I didn't realize as a student at DCTC and I still think most people don't know is that most completed course credits can transfer from DCTC to an accredited institution. This is very beneficial because I was able to complete my Associate in Applied Science degree at DCTC and then transfer my credits and get a bachelor’s degree only a year and a half later. Through this experience, I found the program and staff at DCTC to be top-notch and easily comparable to that of a four-year college, but at only one quarter the price.

The most important thing I learned is that although technology is constantly on the move and changing, old skills and practices will never go out of style or be forgotten. You must learn the fundamentals in to succeed. You must be ready to work hard and get your hands dirty! Your education and future is what you make of it. Don't take the easy road; the hard one pays off in the end.

I really enjoyed my time at DCTC and would recommend the Graphic Design Technology and Applied Visual Arts programs to anyone thinking about pursuing a career in these fields. After graduating from DCTC, I worked at Küryakyn, an aftermarket motorcycle parts corporation in Somerset, Wis., and now I’m a designer at Olson, one of the top design agencies in North America.

See yourself in the Applied Visual Arts Program at DCTC!


Applied Visual Arts

Job Outlook

According to ISEEK, Minnesota's career, education and job resource, employment for fine artists, including painters, sculptors and illustrators, is expected to grow 7.8 percent in the U.S. and 11.9 percent in Minnesota by the year 2020. According to the Economic Research Institute, commerical artists in the U.S. make between $49,507–$65,113 annually.

A 2011 report issued by the National Endowment for the Arts projected strong job growth for commerical artists with a digital skill set: "A surge in demand for multimedia artists, animators, and illustrators—especially those who are computer- and technology-savvy—is projected for 2018, due to companies’ demand for advertising in online and digital formats. While employment for multi-media artists and animators is expected to grow at a faster clip than for the labor force as a whole, craft artists and fine artists (including painters, sculptors, and illustrators) are projected to grow at the average rate."

Salary Data

Potential Job Titles

  • Illustrator
  • Production Illustrator
  • Visual Artist
  • Historical Artist
  • Story Artist
  • Layout Artist
  • Digital Artist
  • Muralist
  • Commerical Artist
  • Graphic Artist

Gainful Employment Reports

Gainful Employment Reports are not available for this program.
See yourself in the Applied Visual Arts Program at DCTC!

Transfer Options

Applied Visual Arts

Articulation Agreements

Articulation Agreements are formal agreements between two or more colleges and universities to accept credits in transfer toward a specific academic program. DCTC has articulation agreements in place for this program with the following schools:

Transfer To Degree Major Offered  
Minnesota State University Moorhead BS Operations Management View

Transfer Resources

TransferologyDo you want to see how your courses transfer to programs at participating colleges and universities? Add the coursework you've taken and use Transferology to find out how it might transfer to any of the participating schools in the Transferology network. Get an account and create a plan now!


Minnesota Transfer.orgMN Your official guide to a seamless transfer experience in Minnesota Higher Education.

Transferring to DCTC?

Whether you're a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or an international student or transferring from high school or a four-year university, DCTC will help you through the process. Visit our Transfer Students page for more information.

See yourself in the Applied Visual Arts Program at DCTC!

News & Events

Applied Visual Arts

The Applied Visual Arts program at DCTC is active throughout the year and makes headlines in college publications. Read about student success in design competitions, student field trips and artwork, and the accomplishments of our applied visual arts instructor.

You can stay current with things happening in the Applied Visual Arts program and the commercial art field by following the Visual Communications blog.

Applied Visual Arts in the News


Applied Visual Arts Events

There are no events to display.
Please check out the full DCTC calendar for college events.

See yourself in the Applied Visual Arts Program at DCTC!

Clubs & Organizations

Applied Visual Arts

As a student in DCTC's Applied Visual Arts program, you have many opportunities to become involved on campus and in the community by participating in student clubs and organizations.

For a complete list of extra curricular opportunities at DCTC, visit our Campus Life page.