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Degrees and Schools
Numerous schools offer bachelor's degrees in industrial design. Master's degrees in industrial design are also available. Some industrial designers have a bachelor's degree in engineering or architecture. Most employers look for individuals who have the skills to use computer-aided design software.
Industrial designers typically study:
- Principles of design
- Computer-aided design
- Manufacturing methods
- Industrial materials and processes
- Physical science
Online Classes and Programs
Bachelor's and master's degree programs in industrial design are available online. The online programs provide flexibility and convenience. However, internships may not be offered in many of the online programs.
It's important for students to take an online program which has been accredited by an agency approved by the United States Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education (CHEA). Many employers, particularly with schools they are not familiar with, check the accreditation provider.
A bachelor's degree in industrial design, engineering or architecture is required for most entry-level industrial design jobs. Employers are looking for creative individuals. Those just out of college should provide prospective employers a portfolio of quality designs they produced while in college. Industrial designers work for engineering firms, specialized design services firms and manufacturing companies.
How to evaluate Schools and Programs
While evaluating schools, prospective students need to consider many factors including:
- Type of School - Art and design schools as well as technology-based schools offer industrial design programs. The best fit depends on the type of work an individual wants to do after graduating.
- Curriculum - Students should find out if it includes relevant subjects such as marketing, psychology, mathematics and engineering.
- Technology - Students should look for programs that provide the newest CAD software and provide state-of-the-art design studios.
- Real World Training - Employers typically prefer to hire people that have some real world experience. Programs that provide externships or co-ops are desirable.
- Accreditation - The programs should be accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
- School's Reputation - Graduating from a school which has a positive reputation in the industrial design industry increases the chances of getting a job.
- Job Placement - Prospective students should compare the job placement rates of prospective schools.
Industrial Designers Job Description
Industrial designers have a vital role in developing brand-new technology and redesigning old technology. Some industrial designers are part of a team that creates clever gadgets. These creative people take product ideas and products and make them user-friendly and appealing to customers. They design a wide variety of products including toys, electronics, furniture and household products. Sometimes they're asked to improve the usefulness or safety of a product.
Example Industrial Design Program
Career tips, salaries, and lists of schools.
A student majoring in computer aided product design takes us on a quick tour of his program. He tells us about what he's doing in class and closes by saying that the skills he is learning are really preparing him well for the job market. Produced by Penn College, a part of the Penn State University system.
The creativity of industrial designers is needed for all types of projects. Companies that make commercial, medical, industrial or scientific products need talented industrial designers. Some examples of their responsibilities are show below:
- Take ideas and develop attractive functional design concepts
- Work with marketing, engineering, sales and production departments to establish design concepts
- Design products for custom applications
- Work with clients to ensure the design meets specific requirements and budgets
- Develop detailed drawings which specify materials, exact dimensions and color
- Make modifications to proposed designs
- Conduct research on the product users and how the items will be used
- Attend trade shows
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