Harper College

Graphic Arts Certificate

Learn graphic arts and print production, while working toward a degree

Program factsarts icon

  • Credit hours: 27
  • Stackable to degree: Yes
  • Potential job outcomes: Desktop publisher, digital illustrator

Take the first step toward a career in the graphic arts industry with this 27-credit-hour certificate program. You’ll develop a foundation of knowledge in the graphic arts and print industries, gaining hands-on experience working with the latest computer software and understanding current production techniques.

Classes focus on graphic arts technology, desktop publishing,
digital imaging, press operations, digital illustration, web foundations, page layout, packaging/finishing/distribution and more.

Build on this certificate by earning an AAS degree in Graphic Arts Design and Technology (Graphic Arts Design specialization) through additional coursework.

Certificate program requirements

This 27 credit-hour certificate program is designed to prepare students for direct employment in the printing industry. These technical courses are designed to provide students with basic knowledge of the graphic arts industry. This program covers the latest computer software and production techniques.


Number Course Title Credits
GRA 101 3

Description:  Provides students an overview of past, present and future graphic arts processes including graphic applications for design/layout, imaging, photography, prepress, print and finishing. Direction is provided on occupations in the Graphic Arts industry and the use of digital applications related to producing print materials. Provides a hands-on understanding of desktop publishing software through lab and lecture.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 102 3

Description:  Presents a clear understanding of graphic desktop software and their many functions in the printing industry. Provides hands-on training using the most current desktop publishing software. Focuses on project work, page layouts and output functions.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in GRA 101.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 103 3

Description:  Covers fundamentals of professional digital image-editing software (Adobe Photoshop). Emphasizes skills to manipulate photos using current software tools and special effects filters. Explores program tools, color correction, channels, layers and masks. Computer skills are required for success in this course.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 111 3

Covers fundamentals of offset printing as well as new technologies in the digital print arena. Provides knowledge of press maintenance and safety, feeder systems, registration requirements, ink systems and color management tools and techniques in the print industry.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in GRA 101.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 112 3

Description:  Presents vector graphics software and its applications to the graphic arts industry. Explores tools and functions within the current software. Focuses on creating illustrations, working with type, color, and all tools needed to create multi-colored illustration and separation. Emphasizes techniques to create illustration files for use in digital print production. Computer skills are required for success in this course.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 211 or

Description:  Provides essential information needed to estimate, schedule, and project manage a print job. Analyzes cost calculations of various functions within the graphic arts industry. Covers workflow, scheduling, and quantity estimation to produce a quality document. Explores CSR (Customer Service Representative) roles in graphic arts workflow.

Prerequisite: GRA 101 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

MGT 111 3

Description:  Introduces the nature of business and the environment in which it operates. Forms of business ownership, introduction to operative and facilitating facets of business operation, management, marketing, accounting, statistics, business law, finance, investments, insurance and labor-management relations.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 213 3

Description:  Provides instruction on manufacturing processes and techniques for various types of print graphics with an emphasis on 3D packaging. Studies production practices, material usage, flexography process, finishing and distribution processes and environmental/sustainability trends. Covers the interaction between products and the many roles that packaging plays in the supply chain. Presents methods of postal requirements, barcoding, how products get to market, costs, manufacturing needs and delivery of said product.

Prerequisite: GRA 111 or GRA 222 with a grade of C or better, or consent of program coordinator.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 229 3

Description:  Explores advanced multi-page layout techniques in InDesign software. Projects focus on creating documents that follow industry standards and best practice for print graphics. Emphasis is placed on projects for print and preflighting techniques.

Prerequisite: GRA 102 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GRA 233 3

This course will explore the digital print market in commercial environments. Wide format and digital presses will be calibrated and analyzed for quality output. Automation and prepress techniques will be reviewed prior to printing to assure quality input. Emphasizes understanding and incorporating emerging technologies into the production workflow. Students work from design and conception through all aspects of preparation, production, and finishing. Recommended to take Prepress and Digital Front End prior to enrolling in this course.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in GRA 101

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

Last Updated: 4/8/24