Design Professional Certificate

In the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design’s design professional certificate program, you will learn the principles of design, the three major design programs, HTML & CSS coding for modern web design, and the business practices necessary to run an effective business. In Design Principles/Typography, you will develop the problem-solving skills critical to functioning in the design industry. Adobe Photoshop continues to be the industry standard for image editing software, and students will gain a foundation to grow their skills. Web design training includes the basics of hyper text markup language (HTML) and cascading style sheets (CSS), which are critical to all web design projects. In Business Practices for Creatives you will better understand the best methods for creating, managing, and maintaining a design company.

Beyond the four required courses, certificate students must complete three additional credits through electives to customize their learning to fit their personal needs. You can explore the fundamentals of interaction and responsive design, immerse yourself in WordPress (web-based content management software), learn the essentials of Adobe Illustrator (graphic drawing software) and Adobe InDesign (page layout).

All courses are taught by working professionals who use the software they teach on a daily basis. This enables students to gain valuable insight into the expectations of the design industry. Coursework, assignments & projects are completed during class time.


  • START DATES: February, July or September annually.
  • LENGTH OF CERTIFICATE: as little as 15 months (average 24 months)
  • COURSES TO COMPLETE: 7 classes total
  • TUITION: $475/class


Design Professional Certificate Outcomes:

  • Understand principles of design, typography and composition
  • Proficiency in Adobe Creative Suite software such as Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign
  • Learn fundamentals of website structure through hyper text markup language (HTML) coding
  • Understand how to style and format text and page components through cascading style sheets (CSS)
  • Learn best practices for running or founding a business in the creative industry
  • Develop a business plan, negotiate contracts, navigate taxes and legal issues
  • Understand theory of mobile-friendly and user-friendly design or immersion in WordPress, content management software


Course of study


CHOOSE 3 ELECTIVES to customize

  • DES 151, Adobe Illustrator starts in January 2018
  • DES 154, Adobe InDesignstarts in January 2018
  • DES 165, UX/UI & Responsive Website Design – tentatively scheduled summer 2018
  • DES 162, WordPress – tentatively scheduled summer 2018

All courses are 1 credit unless otherwise noted. A total of seven credits are required for completion of the Design Professional Certificate Program.


To receive a Pennsylvania College of Art & Design Professional Certificate, students must: