Don’t make the mistake of thinking that an online industrial design degree will be easier to obtain than a traditional one, the online programs have come a long way since their creation and most of the universities that offer an online industrial design program have learned enough to make the program effective and worthwhile. Students will receive basic design training, education in the aesthetics aspect of design, intensive training in computer-aided design, and education on how to identify and dissect consumer behavior and trends.
Consumers are always hungry for new technology and new products that will improve aspects of their life, and that demand means that industrial design will continue to be an industry that swells in interest and employment opportunity. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated there would be approximately 45,100 industrial and commercial designers by the year 2010, a ten percent increase from today’s employment numbers.
Choosing an Online Industrial Design Degree Program
It should almost go without saying that if you have the resources and desire to attend a design school, including those that offer online industrial design courses, you should definitely consider them because they specialize in design education and will give you not only a solid foundation of design knowledge, but also a comprehensive education in industrial design from experts who know what they are talking about.
But private art and design schools aren’t the only ones who can offer worthwhile online industrial design programs and courses. There are many effective online industrial design degrees programs and you find them, you just need to know what you are looking for. You can start by seeing if any of your online programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design but the association has not accredited many online programs as of yet, so next it is time to delve deeper into the research.
Of course you should be asking schools the basic but nevertheless important questions about the success of graduates in the working world, the quality of course instructors, the types of projects students will be asked to complete during their time, and of course how they have integrated technology and computer-aided design in to their curriculum. But industrial design is also a very collaborative field, so you want to make sure that the programs offer opportunities to collaborate with other students on projects.
You also want to make sure that the programs facilitate and offer assistance when it comes time to search for an internship. Internships have become a crucial piece of not only building a portfolio but also understanding what life as a designer entails. A good online industrial design degree program will understand the importance of internships and make sure it does everything in its power to help you secure an internship, and then flourish at it.
Online Industrial Design Degree and Course Types
If you want to become an actual industrial designer, you should be prepared to get a formal education, and you should be prepared to work for it. Most entry-level industrial design positions require at least a bachelor’s degree to qualify for the job. There are plenty of online associate’s degrees that are offered in the field of industrial design, but that degree will likely only open the door to assistant and technical positions. That isn’t to say that those positions aren’t important or that you can’t move up by demonstrating talent and drive. But it will just be tougher to become an actual designer without a bachelor’s degree.
For those who are truly committed to a career in industrial design and are willing to put in the time and the work, a master’s degree in the subject will offer everything from 3D design instruction to industrial product design. Students won’t just learn the design strategies, they will learn about illustrations and models that can help bring your design to reality. The Academy of Art University Online is one of the only programs that will offer an MFA in Industrial Design, but it is one of the most respected programs in the country and is certainly worth a look for those truly committed.