What Are the Educational Requirements to Be a Designer?

Education requirements for fashion designers, graphic designers, industrial designers and interior designers typically include a bachelor's degree in their respective fields. Read on to learn more. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Designer Education Requirements

Designers fall into many categories. The requirements vary for each profession, although nearly all designers need some type of formal postsecondary education. The following are some popular fields in which designers work.

Important Facts About Design Education

Degree Levels Bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree
Programs Internship may be required or working as an assistant
Possible Careers Art director, landscape architect, craft and fine artist, drafter, and industrial designer
Continuing Education Opportunity for advanced study in chosen field and study abroad where available

Fashion Design

Fashion designers work closely with clothing manufacturers. After studying trends in fashion publications and gauging public opinion, you then conceive, edit, develop, and work with manufacturers to produce the final product. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the minimum educational requirement for a fashion designer is typically a bachelor's degree.

Bachelor's degree programs in fashion design usually begin with courses that explain color concepts, fashion drawing, fabrics, patterns, human anatomy and an introduction to digital design. Courses in fashion history give you an overview of how fashion and trends have changed through the years. Advanced courses in fashion illustration, pattern making, apparel construction, and concept development are followed by technical courses and seminars. Combining these courses gives you the opportunity to put your learning into practice and create a professional portfolio. In May 2018, the BLS reported the median annual wage of fashion designers was $72,720.

Industrial Design

Mechanical products as diverse as automobiles, microwave ovens, and toasters are conceived and designed by industrial designers. You must learn to combine form, function, quality, and safety in order to design products that most of us use every day. The BLS reported that many industrial designers earn degrees in engineering or architecture. Industrial design programs also exist.

Bachelor's degree programs in industrial design initially focus on conceptualizing a design in both two and three dimensions. Beginning courses in conceptual drawing and computer-aided design give you the two tools needed to succeed in the profession. A course in the history of industrial design provides an overview of the application from ancient times through the industrial revolution and beyond. Photography courses teach you how to document 3-D images, while modeling studies show how to work with visual communications. According to the BLS, commercial and industrial designers earned a median annual wage of $66,590 in May 2018.

Interior Design

Interior designers work on both living spaces and office spaces. They combine colors, textures, furniture, and other accompaniments to create a specific living or work space. According to the BLS, interior designers need at least a bachelor's degree and are required to be licensed in some states. The National Council for Interior Design Qualification proctors the licensure examination.

Undergraduate studies in interior design introduce you to basic 2-D and 3-D design principles, drawing and drafting, computer applications, and the global impact of design. Advanced courses focus on lighting, textiles, furniture, and building construction. You also learn about business practices and take advanced design courses to improve your talents and build a professional portfolio. The BLS posted the median salary, as of May 2018, for all interior designers as $53,370.

Graphic Design

Graphic designers conceive and design advertisements, web pages, and other print and Internet content. The BLS has reported that graphic designers typically need at least a bachelor's degree, which may be in fine arts, visual communications or graphic design. Undergraduate courses include the fundamentals of drawing, studies in visual dynamics, art history, and computer programming. Advanced studies include composition, technology processes, creating a visual narrative, and designing for print production. In May 2018, graphic designers earned a median annual salary of $50,370, per the BLS.

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