Linn County Regional Center - Academy Plans of Study

Graphics, Media, Communications
and Design Career Academy

College Credit in High School
Find your passion.
Get a head start.
Experience college with rock star teachers.
Earn free college credit.

Get creative. Speak your mind. Showcase your artistic talent. Graphics, media, communication and design skills are relevant to a variety of industries and careers that cover all ends of the creative spectrum. Explore the cutting -dge technology and software used by today’s commercial artists and communication specialists.

Learn to think creatively about the world around you. Explore design, hone your creative problem-solving skills, and learn the most up-to-date software. Students will build on their art and communication skills to explore new levels of creativity, and layout and design fundamentals.

Career Focus
Immediate employment opportunities for entry-level work using Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.

College Credits Earned 12.0

The Kirkwood Graphics and Media Communication Academy can lead students to college certificates, diplomas, associate, bachelor's and graduate degrees. Examples of college majors include, but are not limited to: Graphic Communication Technology, Web Design and Graphic Design. Careers might include: advertising, marketing, printing and publishing companies, and Web design. If you’re planning to transfer to a four-year college or university after attending Kirkwood, specific transfer information can be found at

Iowa average salaries in graphics, communication and design careers
Public Relations Specialist: $57,550
Photographer: $36,580
Graphic Designer: $38,730
Web Designer: $53,462
Web Developer: $62,837
More info can be found at:

College Credit Courses
Courses subject to change based on college curriculum.


ART-186  |  Digital Photography  |  3 college credits
Develops familiarity and proficiency with digital cameras, computers and printers. Studies technical and aesthetic issues in visual communication and digital image capture/presentation. Students complete presentations, critiques online, portfolio and displays. Credits: 3, Hours: (2/2/0/0), Prereq: none; Coreq: none; Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

GRA-127  |  Illustrator I  |  3 college credits
Introduces Adobe Illustrator and its application in graphic communication. Learning activities include Adobe Illustrator tools as they apply to object-vector-based files, as well as Adobe Illustrator filters and layers. Teaches basic drawing and tracing techniques, creating line art, logos and how to simplify art work through stylizing. Explores creative use of type. Includes how to set up color for reproduction, and how to save and manage files using these programs. Demonstrates how these files interact with page layout and paint (raster) programs. Credits: 3, Hours: (2/2/0/0), Prereq: GRA-101; Coreq: none; Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B


GRA-131  |  Digital Layout  |  3 college credits
Provides working knowledge of the CS6 Adobe InDesign page layout program and its use in creating effective page layouts combining graphics and type. Includes toolbox and tool usage, importing and editing text and graphics, master pages, use of styles, text and paragraph formatting, general layout and design concepts, printing operations, importing graphics and setting up text styles, columns and grids. Incorporates creation of various single and spot-color documents including flyers, newsletters, and other printed materials. Credits: 3, Hours: (2/2/0/0), Prereq: GRA-101; Coreq: none; Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B

GRA-140  |  Digital Imaging  |  3 college credits
Introduces Photoshop. Covers basic scanning techniques for grayscale and line art images; proper manipulation procedures required for various output sources, including input and output resolutions, file size, multiple file-saving formats, simple image enhancements and creating duo-tones; and creative application of Photoshop. Credits: 3, Hours: (2/2/0/0), Prereq: GRA-101; Coreq: none; ARts & Sciences Elective Code: B

Need to Know
Students receive credit from their high school and college credit from Kirkwood. College tuition is paid by the high school district.

The grade earned in this course is reflected on the student’s official college transcript. Students not planning to attend Kirkwood after high school graduation should plan to include this transcript as part of the application process to other colleges or universities.

As part of earning college credit for this academy, students must complete an online application to Kirkwood Community College to create the official student record.

How to Get Started
Talk to your parents and your school counselor. 

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