Graphic Arts and Imaging Technology

Graphic Arts and Imaging Technology

Graphic arts and imaging technology is where creativity and technology meet in the form of printing manufacturing. Printing is America’s third largest manufacturing industry. It employs 1.1 million people nationwide and has annual sales of over $640 billion. The industry is active locally, with North and South Carolina employing 12,357 and reaching annual sales of $2.2 billion. The Graphic Arts and Imaging Technology curriculum at Central Piedmont is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary for employment in the printing, publishing, packaging, and related industries.

What You Will Learn

In the graphic arts and imaging technology program (video), you will receive hands-on training in:

  • flexography
  • ink and substrate testing procedures
  • wide format
  • pre-press and digital imaging design software and color management
  • finishing
  • package engineering and design
  • screen printing
  • emerging printing technologies
  • common design and print programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat Professional

Most courses also include custom printing of your personalized designed art.

Graduates should qualify for a career in the printing industry and in subsector print products, such as T-shirts, books, product labels and packaging, magazine covers, brochures, business cards, signage, and promotional materials. Performed support activities include data imaging and design, platemaking services, technical assistance and troubleshooting, as well as supportive roles such as sales and marketing.

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Why Choose Central Piedmont

To prepare you for meaningful employment, our graphic arts and imaging technology program stresses giving you ample opportunity to complete excellent printed samples of your work. Our program is also approved for workplace learning opportunities while you are in school — Central Piedmont has an entire department dedicated to connecting students with applicable work based learning opportunities such as cooperative education (co-op), internships, and/or apprenticeships. You will also have the opportunity to join the Phoenix Challenge graphic arts and imaging technology club to compete against four-year institutions. The Central Piedmont club is the only two-year program in the competition. The intent of the Phoenix Challenge College competition is to engage college-level students in creatively solving a current, industry-relevant flexographic problem. This projects allows you to practice and showcase your research, problem solving, design, and print production skills. The goal is to inspire academic programs to grow and improve their level of instruction and research.

Real World Education

At Central Piedmont, your education goes beyond what you learn in class. We offer numerous opportunities for you to enhance your learning — and to make friends, network, and pursue your passions — through clubs and organizations, sports, events and activities, leadership opportunities, job experience, volunteer experiences, visual and performing arts, and even international experiences.

The Details

  • Program Options

    Choose from an Associate in Applied Science or from several certificates in graphic arts and imaging technology. The college catalog details the graphic arts and imaging degrees currently available at Central Piedmont as well as program eligibility and course requirements. If you would like information on opportunities to transfer associate degree credit to a four-year institution, please visit the Transfer Resource Center.

    Brand Protection and Anti-Counterfeiting Technology Certificate

    The brand technology and anti-counterfeiting technology certificate was developed through funding from the National Science Foundation due to the growing problem of counterfeit products and intellectual property fraud. This program is designed to educate you to understand, identify, and deter counterfeits from affecting public health and safety as well as damage to a company’s brand. Topics covered in this certificate program include:

    • overview of the worldwide counterfeiting problem
    • current technologies to combat counterfeiting
    • developing a plan of protection for a brand
    • designing packaging and documents that incorporate anti-counterfeiting technology
    • understanding security on a manufacturing level
    • inspecting a document or product to authenticate it as real or counterfeit

    This certificate would be useful for people interested in positions related to graphic design, manufacturing, law enforcement, marketing, private investigation, industrial security, or brand owners.

    Visiting Students

    If you wish to transfer graphic arts and imaging course credit back to your home institution, explore how to enroll at Central Piedmont as a visiting student.

    Corporate and Continuing Education

    Central Piedmont's Corporate and Continuing Education provides non-credit, non-degree courses and programs, including job skills, industry-focused career training, certificates, certifications, professional licensure, and personal enrichment. Day, evening, weekend, and online opportunities are available.

    College and Career Readiness

    If you are looking for programs to gain the knowledge or skills necessary to finish a high school degree or to get a job, visit Central Piedmont's College and Career Readiness.

    College Credit for High School Students

    Visit Career and College Promise to learn about opportunities for high school students to earn college credit at Central Piedmont.

  • Graphic Arts and Imaging Technology Program Requirements

    The curriculum includes some advertising and graphic design courses. For detailed information on graphic arts and imaging course and program requirements, visit the Central Piedmont Community College catalog.

    The associate degree normally takes at least four semesters of study. That means that it should take a full-time student, taking a regular load of classes, about two years to complete the program. Some courses are offered in the evenings as well as the daytime, and some must be taken in the prescribed sequence. Depending on your employment demands during the school year, the program could take more than two years to complete.

  • Locations

    Please note that course offerings and availability are subject to change from semester to semester. Always confirm which courses are required to complete this program in the college catalog and confirm where courses are available using Schedule Builder.

  • Course Delivery Methods

    • Classroom/Lab
    • Combined (Classroom/Lab and Online)
    • Online

    Please note that course offerings and availability are subject to change from semester to semester. Always confirm which courses are required to complete this program in the college catalog and confirm course delivery methods using Schedule Builder.

  • Graphic Arts and Imaging Careers

    The people in the graphic arts and imaging industry are unique. They have a technical affinity and enjoy working with their hands on printing presses and in the bindery department of printing firms. There are also sales and account representatives who communicate with the clients of the printing firm and act as the liaison. Usually, they are very aware of all the printing functions and the costs of production. They function as the sales representative and spend as much outside the plant as they do inside. They interface with the plant manager and oversee the budget on the project.

    The people in the graphic arts differ greatly from those in the graphic design industry. Think of them as both professionals, and in job function, much like an architect and a general contractor. The architect (graphic designer) conceptualizes the idea, renders the elevation and floor plans, picks out the colors, textures, and generally is responsible for the overall visual look and image of a project. The general contractor (graphic arts) takes the architect's idea and builds it. Both work together closely to see that all of the necessary details are taken care of, and there is a mutual respect for each other's skills and professionalism. People in the graphic arts and imaging industry are involved in various career areas in the printing, packaging, and publishing businesses. They may work as press operators in the offset lithography, flexography, or screen printing areas. They may also be employed as pre-press operations specialists or gain employment in the pre-flight departments of printers, making sure of the accuracy of digital files supplied by graphic designers, art directors, and other outside clients. They also may be employed as printing sales people calling on clients. Visit Central Piedmont’s Career Coach for detailed graphic arts and imaging career opportunities, salary information, and job openings.

  • Costs and Aid

    Central Piedmont provides real-world, affordable, hands-on education and career training. Learn how much it costs to attend Central Piedmont. Financial aid and scholarships are available.

  • Related Programs

  • Admitted Students: Find Your Faculty Advisor

    Students at Central Piedmont have a faculty advisor for each program of study offered. Find your faculty advisor based on your last name: