If you’re looking for a way to demonstrate your skills in Illustrator, you might be overwhelmed by the different certifications and certificate programs available. You might also have a lot of questions, such as what is the difference between a certificate and a certification? How long does it take to get certified? How much will being certified improve my career opportunities? This article aims to provide answers to these questions so you can efficiently choose the right path towards an Illustrator certification. Keep reading to find out more.

What is Illustrator?

Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics design tool used in several industries, including graphic design and web design. The program allows users to build graphics and illustrations out of vectors, meaning they are composed of lines, shapes, and points. These illustrations are easily resizable with minimal decay in graphics quality (unlike pixel-based graphics, which do not resize without becoming blurry or blocky). Images designed in Illustrator are perfect for packaging, advertising, or branding endeavors that allow the same image to be placed on both a business card and a billboard.

Illustrator is also a key part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, a collection of creative tools that give graphic designers a wide range of tools for creating stunning visual imagery. These programs are seamlessly integrated and built to allow optimized crossover. Illustrator is frequently used alongside Adobe Photoshop (a program with a similar but distinct function) and Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro, video editing programs that utilize Illustrator to create animated effects.

Read more about what Illustrator is and why you should learn it.

What Can You Do with Illustrator?

Illustrator is a vector graphics design tool that lets users create their own illustrations. Using points, lines, shapes, and text, the program lets users build vector graphics illustrations designed to be infinitely scalable, letting users resize them at will. Therefore, Illustrator is ideal for drawing images that will be mass-produced and placed in multiple contexts, such as art prints, company logos, branded merchandise, official letterhead seals, and many other uses. Illustrator lets users build an image once and repurpose it on everything from water bottles to billboards.

Using Illustrator, creatives can build recognizable logos and iconography to help define a client’s brand identity. The most common uses of Illustrator are within the graphic design and advertising industries, though other industries, such as the fashion industry, have their uses for Illustrator. In these professional settings, users can construct illustrations that quickly and effectively convey meaning and help consumers recognize the products being sold. Almost all product packaging is made using vector graphics, meaning that almost every company selling a product to consumers will use Illustrator.

For non-professionals or aspiring entrepreneurs, learning InDesign can help users build their online identities. Small business owners, crafters looking to break into Etsy, local musicians looking to sell decals, or even activists wanting to build memorable logos and signage for their organization all benefit from learning Illustrator. Quick, efficient graphic communication is vital across many fields, and Illustrator can make building these graphic designs faster and more efficient.

Certifications vs. Certificates: What’s the Difference?

Since they sound similar, new and aspiring professional Graphic Designers might assume that certification and certificates are the same things. However, there are a few important distinctions between the two, and those aspiring professionals may need to understand the difference.

Certifications are earned after a user passes a proctored exam demonstrating proficiency in the program, and those certifications tend only to last a limited amount of time. For Illustrator certification, users must pass a 50-minute exam proctored by Adobe. Their certification lasts for three years, at which point a user will need to take an updated version of the exam.

Certificates are provided by third parties and reflect the completion of an industry-recognized training program. Some of these certificates are also recognized by first-party organizations, in this case, Adobe, or by state governing or licensing boards. These often do not expire. Some will include the fees for taking a certification exam in their cost, which is an element to consider when choosing a certificate program.

Top Certifications & Certificates for Illustrator

Noble Desktop provides multiple paths to receive certificates of proficiency in Adobe Illustrator. Upon completion of Noble’s intensive Adobe Illustrator Bootcamp, students will receive a certificate of completion demonstrating to potential employers that they have received reputable, industry-recognized training in Adobe Illustrator. In this training program, students will learn the advanced features of Adobe Illustrator that graphic designers will be expected to utilize when they are hired to create logos and assets for firms and brands.

Noble also offers a path for receiving industry-recognized certificates through its Graphic Design Certificate program and its Digital Design Certificate program. Rather than focusing on a single skill, like the Illustrator Bootcamp, these longer and more in-depth career-focused programs provide students with training in several tools to assist them in specific career paths. Both programs provide students with training in Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. The Digital Design Certificate gives students professional training in building, prototyping, and testing user interfaces for web and digital application interfaces using Figma.

Official, first-party certification in Adobe Illustrator is granted upon passing a 90-minute skills exam proctored by Certiport. Adobe recommends that test-takers have approximately 150 hours of instruction and hands-on experience prior to sitting for an exam. While none of Noble’s Certificate programs conclude with students sitting for a certification exam, they are ideal places to build and receive the skills and training that Adobe recommends.

Should I Get Certified in Illustrator?

Unlike some professional careers, very few Illustrator careers require certification in the program. Instead, employment in the field is most heavily influenced by a prospective designer’s ability to demonstrate proficiency in graphic design with a professional sample portfolio. However, in a competitive environment, Illustrator certification can help set applicants apart from one another and give certified designers a leg-up. Certification won’t be a replacement for an impressive sample portfolio, but it is a solid complement to other job materials.

How to Get Certified in Illustrator

There are two common paths to becoming certified in Adobe Illustrator. Users can either complete an industry-recognized certificate program, demonstrating that they have completed a professional Adobe Illustrator training program, or they can pass a proctored exam offered by Adobe.

Industry-recognized training certificates offer students hands-on experience working with Adobe Illustrator and demonstrate to employers that those employees have received instruction in the functions of a given program. These certificates are an ideal way to receive training because employers accept them as a mark of one’s skills.

Certification exams expect that test-takers are already proficient in the program in which they are being certified and are ideally suited for users who have already received training or have hands-on job experience that replicates the skills one would be expected to receive in a hands-on training course.

Learn Illustrator with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop offers an array of Illustrator classes and bootcamps for students hoping to receive Illustrator training through a live online course. Noble’s Illustrator in a Day course offers introductory instruction in the basic functionalities of the program, such as the pen and pencil tool, the function of different layers and brushes, and the process of preparing a file for publication. This course is ideal for students who expect to work with Illustrator in the future but don’t imagine that they will do so every day or that they will need to engage with the complicated features of the program.

For students who do feel that they will need to work with the more advanced features of Illustrator, Noble’s Adobe Illustrator Bootcamp offers in-depth training in the tools that allow Illustrator to create complex and vibrant vector illustrations. Students will learn to work with masks, alter colors and gradients, and build custom patterns. They will also create practical sample designs such as T-shirts and signage to include in a design portfolio. These exercises mirror the projects that professional Graphic Designers undertake, and this course is an ideal place to learn how to use Illustrator professionally.

Aspiring career Graphic Designers can build their skills in many different design programs by enrolling in Noble’s Graphic Design Certificate program. This program confers upon students a state-approved certificate in the mastery of Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. Beyond learning the functionalities of these programs, students will receive lessons in theories of design and composition. They will work towards building various sample designs to be included as part of their sample portfolio as a prerequisite for completion. Students looking to expand their design skills further can enroll in Noble’s Digital Design Certificate program, which covers all of this information, plus lessons in user interface and web page design for digital publications.

These Design Certificate programs are career-focused courses that provide students with one-on-one career mentorship. As a student’s final project, they will build a sample design portfolio to showcase their skills to potential employers. By the end of these programs, students will be prepared to enter the workforce in a new, high-paying career.

Key Takeaways