June 13 – Hobbs, NM. Being the only PrintED accredited college graphic arts program in the state has been a distinct advantage for the Design Communication Program at New Mexico Junior College.
Program professor Matt Kriftcher says the PrintED accreditation not only helped the department respond to the college’s policy of encouraging industry certification for its programs, but also gave his program “a leg up” in attracting top students and placing them in good jobs after graduation.
According to Kriftcher, the program, which has about 80 students, offers the opportunity to study Design Communications, which includes graphic art, graphic design, animation, CADD, and art. Graduation from the program can lead to jobs with salaries ranging from $23,000 for entry-level positions to $70,000 and up for highly qualified technicians, dependent on location.
Students are trained on the department’s 40 top-of-the-line Macintosh G5 computers and 24 IBM computers, all of which are loaded with Adobe and other design and pre-press software, as well as software for animation, web design, and CADD. Production equipment includes a computer-to-plate system two-color press; single- and multi-color Xerox DocuTech systems, a high quality 42” scanner, a large format printer, a laser engraver, and a variety of bindery devices.
“NMJC achieved its PrintED accreditation three years ago and is in the process of applying for a five-year renewal,” Kriftcher said. The Design Communications program teaches the introductory PrintED course, along with courses in electronic pre-press, press operations, and advanced press operations.
Kriftcher said he first learned about PrintED through his membership in the International Graphic Arts Education Association. “The college wanted us to explore industry certifications,” he recalled. “There is a broad college policy to encourage this kind of accreditation. PrintED was the only program that was really appropriate for us.”
NMJC graduates of the program benefit from potential employers’ awareness of the value of an accredited college program, Kriftcher explained. Accordingly, he has recruited a broad cross-section of the local industry to serve on the program’s advisory committee. The committee includes public relations and marketing professionals, as well as graphic designers and executives of local printing companies.
In the near future, Kriftcher said, NMJC plans to continue its expansion into
digital processes, since, he insists, “That’s the way the industry
Mexico Junior College, 5317 Lovington Hwy, Hobbs, NM 88240
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