Industrial Design Education Requirements

An education in industrial design can prepare you to create new products or re-imagine old ones. Continue reading to learn about certificate and degree programs in industrial design. Get detailed info on the typical coursework in these programs, and review the job outlook and salary potential for industrial designers. Schools offering Graphic Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Industrial Design Education Programs Are Available?

These programs can be found at art colleges, universities and community colleges. You should be able to find certificate, associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs. If you complete an undergraduate program, you could be awarded an Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Science. A graduate program may grant you a Master of Science or Master of Fine Arts.

Although many programs provide computers on-campus for digital design use, you may still be required to purchase a computer compatible with design programs. For non-digital projects, you may be required to purchase various art supplies. Because most programs require hands-on physical and digital projects, distance education is rare.

Degree Programs Certificate, associate's, bachelor's and master's
Course Topics Product design, metal working, art history, computer modeling and prototype work
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 4% growth for industrial designers
(Median Salary 2018) $66,590 for commercial and industrial designers

Source: U. S. Bureau of Statistics

What Courses Can I Expect?

Industrial design programs are unlike most art-based programs. Instead of only focusing on art techniques, you may be required to understand aspects of engineering, architecture, product design, production materials and manufacturing. You can expect to be trained in designing furniture, machines, packaging, toys and retail pieces.

Certificate programs generally take less than a year to complete. These programs provide basic and introduction courses. You can expect to take courses in drawing, technical design, 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional design, drawing and computer-aided design tools.

Associate's degree programs expand on the information taught during a certificate program. In addition to the previously mentioned courses, you can expect to take 3-dimensional printing, solid design, metal working and flameworking. Many programs require general education courses, including those in art history, English composition, communications, mathematics and physics.

Bachelor's degree programs may take you four or more years to complete. Courses include studio classes, visual communication, materials and methods, design history, computer modeling, structural drawing and prototype construction. Many programs may require you to complete an internship before graduating. You may also be required to complete general education courses. A bachelor's degree program will help develop your work portfolio.

Several master's degree programs focus mostly on studio work, innovation and leadership. You can expect to take courses in design research, methodology, theory, societal effects, prototype work and advanced design.

What About My Job Outlook?

With an undergraduate degree or certificate, you may qualify for a position as an engineer, product designer, product development engineer, designer or project engineer. If you complete a graduate program, you may qualify for a leadership position.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), commercial and industrial designer job openings are expected to grow 4% between 2016 and 2026 ( As of May 2018, the BLS estimated that the median salary for these careers was $66,590.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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