Online Digital Arts Certificate

Digital Arts Professional Certificate

Build creativity and technique in traditional drawing and digital illustration. You will gain hands-on experience in fundamental technical and creative skills in digital imaging, traditional drawing, and digital illustration. Learn current trends and techniques from experts. When you complete the program, you will have begun your portfolio of creative work.

online digital art classes

Student work by Vesela Popova, Digital Arts Certificate

Kick Start Your Digital Art Career in Just Nine Months


Study at Your Own Pace

Build Design Skills That Employers Want


Complete Your Program in 9 Months

Program Outline

Designed for the busy adult learner, the Professional Certificate can be completed in nine months studying part time.

Level 1

4218 Photoshop Basics
4017 Color Theory
4226 Illustrator Basics
4018 Intro To Drawing
(Or 4220 Digital Illustration Basics)

Level 2

4227 Illustrator Advanced
4501 Drawing I
4222 Digital Illustration Advanced

Already have some design experience? You can customize the program around your learning goals. Browse our Illustration courses or course list and talk to an advisor.

Program Courses

4218 Photoshop Basics

Get a thorough grounding in Adobe Photoshop, the premiere image-manipulation tool for print design, Web design, and photography. You'll learn to choose and use the best techniques for common Photoshop jobs including selecting and isolating objects, creating image composites, masking and vignetting images, setting typography, and improving images with retouching and effects. Every designer must tame this creative powerhouse of a program.

4017 Color Theory

Focus on developing appropriate color systems for graphic design projects. Projects explore the principles, terminology, and applications of color theory, with an emphasis on manipulating color. A working knowledge of the expression and perception of color, and color interaction, lends credibility and sophistication to a designer’s work.

4226 Illustrator Basics

Build a working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator, the graphic designer’s vector program of choice. Course projects explore selection tools, drawing tools, layers, the Pen tool, transformations/distortions, type tools, and modifying paths and shapes. Tapping the power of vector software allows you to produce detailed and scalable art for almost any application.

4018 Intro To Drawing

Learn how to draw with proper techniques, learning how to represent what they see through studies in contour drawing, perspective, positive/negative space, and value. As you progress through this class, you will develop a better understanding of the forms you are observing and become more skillful in representing those forms.


4220 Digital Illustration Basics

Learn how an illustrator approaches perspective, lighting, storytelling, and expression and how basic shapes, symbols, gradients, fill colors, Bezier curves, and text can be combined to create artwork in Illustrator. Creative class projects include still life illustrations, editorial art/brand logos, and character illustrations.

4227 Illustrator Advanced

Create photo-realistic illustrations, complex patterns, rich designs and learn how to speed your efforts with helpful workflow features. You'll build on your existing Illustrator skills to tackle high-end projects with depth, dimension, and wow-power.

4501 Drawing I

Learn how to analyze what you see in the world around you and communicate it on paper. Through hands-on projects, and guided by a professional artist, you will explore the critical concepts of line, mass, form, perspective, value, and composition, building a solid foundation for all your art and design work.

4222 Digital Illustration Advanced

Learn advanced illustration and Adobe Illustrator techniques for communicating your creative concepts. This course explores how a professional illustrator approaches creating editorial illustrations, icons, retro poster designs, illustrations with depth, and identity designs. Open-ended projects will help you develop portfolio-quality illustrations, and peer discussions and critiques will provide valuable interaction opportunities.

Program Objectives

In the program, students learn the following skills:

#1 Digital Imaging - Your work will demonstrate entry-level professional Photoshop skills and effective decisions in selecting and editing images. You will be able to improve images for professional publication by retouching and correction, and create realistic or imaginative images by compositing or collage.

#2 Color - You will develop distinctive color palettes based on the principles of color harmony. Your work will exhibit a sophisticated use of color and contrast, and the ability to research colors and make choices that are appropriate for each client and project.

#3 Vector Art - You will develop entry-level professional skills in creating vector art illustrations in Illustrator, using shape drawing and freehand drawing tools, Pen tool, type tools, and basic effects. You will be able to create simple, stylized logos, icons, and illustrations for effective visual communication.

#4 Basic Drawing - You will be able to create basic line drawings using pencil and paper following the principles of perspective and proportion. You will be able to identify and draw positive and negative space in a drawing subject.

#5 Advanced Vector Art - You will develop an expanded range of skills in Illustrator for creating photo-realistic illustrations, complex patterns, and richly illustrated designs. You will be able to use color sampling, meshes, blends, masks, 3D tools, and tiles to create both realistic and stylized artwork.

#6 Intermediate Drawing - You will develop drawing skills that show the ability to analyze a subject, represent realistic form and perspective, manipulate value and color, and reflect contemporary stylistic approaches. Your work will be informed by subject, lighting, color, and media choices.

#7 Vector Illustration - You will be able to create straightforward, clear, balanced, and stylized icons, sequential illustrations, logos, and editorial illustrations using Illustrator's shape tools, freehand drawing tools, and classic illustration techniques. Your work will show an ability to communicate complex graphic and editorial concepts in digital form.

Student Feedback

I thought this was an exceptional course. I had a good working knowledge of digital art already but greatly increased it through this program. Now I am confident that I can draw whatever I need to complete my work projects.

Lynne Adams, Digital Arts Professional Certificate

Student Work

Featured Faculty

Michael Hamm Michael Hamm is a senior visual designer, Web developer, and all-round Illustrator guru.
Jordon Schranz Jordon Schranz is an audio/visual artist and designer.
Andrew Shalat Andrew Shalat is an author, designer/illustrator, educator, and Mac expert.

Ask about our Payment Plans

Take care of your tuition with 11 monthly payments of $415

Getting Started

Enrolling online is easy and convenient.


Complete our free application form online.


Ask us about payment options and customizing your program.


Confirm your payment and register online.

Program At a Glance

Open Admissions. The Professional Certificate is open admissions, with classes starting each month. To apply for the program, simply complete our free, no-obligation application and select your program options. Applicants are expected to have graduated high school.

Nine Month Program. Classes start at the beginning of each month. The program can be completed in nine months studying on a part time schedule. If you need more time to complete, there is a painless extension policy for an additional 6 months of access for students who qualify based on academic progress.

To take this program, you’ll need the following:

  • Mac or Windows computer with an Internet connection.
  • A digital camera for photographing drawing work.
  • Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CC.
  • Your computer must meet software manufacturer requirements.

There are no textbook or course material costs to participate in this online program. Student discount on Adobe Creative Cloud software is available to enrolled students.

Sessions College programs are flexible and affordable. There are no textbooks required; tuition costs include all digital materials.

Professional Certificate 
Registration Fee$200
Total Cost$4,500

Enrollment in any certificate program requires a $200 registration fee (non-refundable five days after beginning of Orientation class or submission of first assignment). All tuition and fees must be paid on time, including those paid by third parties.

Payment Plan

Affording your education just got easier with our Payment Plan.

  • Pay for your Professional Certificate with 11 monthly payments of $415.
  • Your first payment (which includes a $200 Registration Fee) is due at enrollment.
  • A $65 payment plan charge is included.

Job Facts

Is a digital art certificate worth it? Career opportunities are projected to continue to grow into the foreseeable future. Here are some career statistics to keep in mind:

Facts are sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. Facts are sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. For more information about art and illustration careers and the community visit: National Cartoonists Society, Association of Illustrators, or AIGA.


Average income for Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators in May 2017 was $49,160 a year, 30.4% higher than the median for all workers.

7 in 10

About 7 in 10 Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators were self-employed or independent artists in 2016.

Career Information

A certificate in digital arts can lead you to a number of different occupations across many industries. Job outlook for digital arts careers is good. As more of our daily lives are influenced by digital media, careers in this field become more necessary. Illustrators, cartoonists and graphic artists will continue to be critical for organizations as they seek to stand out on digital platforms.

A certificate in digital arts from Sessions College will give you the skills you need to start many careers related to digital media. Here are some examples:

  • Animation
  • Advertising
  • Creative Design
  • Video
  • Promotions
  • Illustration
  • Computer Graphics
  • Graphic Design

Visit our Career Center for more information, or browse the Federal Occupational Handbook or O*NET database.

Digital Arts Advanced Certificate program

Add concentrations and build a deeper portfolio.

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