Category Archives: Vantage Computer Based Design

Online Architecture Degree Programs and Courses Overview

Architecture DegreeAt first glance, a field as complex, layered, and detailed as architecture doesn’t seem like a subject that would fit well with online learning. But if you look closer, you can see that the visual and computer-based components of architecture actually make it a subject that translates well to online learning. While many other fields such as photography and illustration don’t necessarily require the interested party to earn a degree in that field, if you don’t have a degree in architecture, you will have a very hard time finding any sort of meaningful position as an architect, which means that choosing the right online architecture degree programs is important to the advancement of your career.

Many schools have already implemented online architecture degree programs and have seen an incredible amount of success with students in the program. In order to ensure that their graduating students will go out into the working world armed with an accomplished architecture skill-set, the program’s classes are designed to teach design theory and principles, as well as offering hands-on training and design practice under the tutelage of accomplished industry professionals.

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Most of the course material is delivered through recorded lectures that students can revisit if they need to, then the students and the instructor interact through a discussion forum and the instructor offers individual support to the students, making sure their education and knowledge is sound and well-rounded. Some teachers will make sure to use social media tools like Skype so they can visually critique a student’s design and then offer visual advice and improvement if they need to. This allows the students the flexibility to work at their own pace from wherever they so choose while still getting that studio experience that is essential in any architect’s education.

Choosing An Online Architecture Course

The most important thing to research before choosing the online architecture degree program that fits best for you is to ensure that the programs you consider have a strong history in building successful online courses and have experience or background in building and teaching online architecture classes.

Architecture is a complex and incredibly detailed subject, and there are plenty of diploma mill programs that offer an online architecture degree but don’t have the infrastructure or the standards in place to ensure that the students aren’t just getting a degree, they are getting the design training and education along with it.

A good way to start looking for the aforementioned programs – like with any online program – is to find out which of your favorite programs are accredited. The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture is an excellent resource for this venture as it has a directory where you can easily type in the name of your school and find out whether that school is accredited, a candidate for accreditation, and more.

Another integral resource is the National Architecture Accrediting Board. Some states won’t even allow you to practice in the field unless you earned your degree at one of the 114 schools accredited by the board, so it is worth your time to look over their directory as well. Utilize their website to find out all about architecture education in general and a guide to architecture schools both online and traditional.

Once you have narrowed down the list of candidates you should start trying to learn about the schools, the classes, and the instructors from people with firsthand knowledge of how it all works. The good news is that, compared to many other artistically inclined subjects, architecture is a smaller, more selective, and close-knit community, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find professionals, students, instructors, and online architecture degree program officials who can speak to the program and its pros and cons firsthand. Get information from as many different people in as many different places as you can, because knowledge is power, and the more diverse your knowledge is, the better understanding you will have of which schools work for you and which don’t.

Online Architecture Course Types

The good news is that if you want to become a qualified architect there is a very simple path that you need to follow to get there. The bad news is that while the path may be simple, that doesn’t mean it is easy. Most online architecture degree programs will offer three types of degrees and they are the associate’s degree, the bachelor’s degree, and the master’s degree. The most common are the bachelor’s and the master’s degree, because they are the levels of education that allow students to actually become architects.

An associate’s degree can certainly help open doors for your architecture career, but the degree itself doesn’t qualify you to become an architect. If you only want to pursue an online associate’s degree in architecture, you should consider future professions like architect assistant or technician. Some students do choose to enter the working world after two years and an associate’s degree, but many use the associate’s degree to weigh whether or not they like the subject enough to earn a bachelor’s degree which will take five years to complete because of studio requirements and apprenticeship or hands-on experience requirements. This is the minimum requirement to becoming an architect and you will be exposed to not only studio training but also architecture theory and intensive math and psychical sciences classes.

The final degree type is the master’s degree path which, in architecture, is slightly more complicated than it is with other subjects. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in architecture, then you will likely take part in a two-year master’s degree program. If you majored in something else and suddenly decided you wanted to try your hand at architecture, then you would likely end up in a similar program that would take a year or two longer to complete.

This is the degree you want to go after if you are interested in teaching or research, and online architecture degree programs are an especially appealing choice for this route because online architecture classes are flexible and so students already working can continue to work full-time while also working to further their career in architecture.

Online CAD Degree Programs and Courses Overview

Online CAD SchoolsIt is common for aspiring designers to just assume that Computer-Aided Design (CAD) degree programs don’t exist on their own. After all, most of the design industry considers CAD as simply a form of design that falls under the larger umbrella of graphic design. The majority of the industry isn’t wrong; CAD is commonly taught within graphic design degree programs. But it is also a unique skillset that offers specific employment opportunities for those focused almost entirely on the use of a computer to aid in creating and modifying designs. CAD skills are often thought of as a way to increase the productivity as a designer, but these skills can also help improve the quality of the design, improve communication channels for a project and create a place to store the work – which is why there is a demand for CAD professionals.

Wherever there is demand for education, there will likely be opportunistic schools that are looking to fill that demand, and CAD degree programs are a good example of that. The first to benefit from the sudden influx of demand were regional technical colleges that began offering CAD drafting programs for students interested in fields like interior design or mechanical drafting. But, for obvious reasons, there has been a surge of online CAD drafting degree programs popping up from a number of different institutions. In order to compete with the more flexible online offerings, campus-based technical colleges began developing online CAD drafting degree programs as well. Now, online CAD degree programs are everywhere and demand for skilled and talented CAD professionals is still very high.

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Students interested solely in computer-aided design no longer need to slog through a costlier and more extensive graphic design degree program. Now they can actually hone in specifically on CAD degree programs that not only focus specifically on the area of design that interests them, but also cost less effort and money to obtain. As with many art professions, it is possible to become a professional CAD drafter without obtaining a formal education or degree, but it is difficult and ill-advised. The best way to stand out in a crowded field is to prove you have a well-rounded and fundamental design skillset; and formal degree programs are the best way to ensure that.

Choosing an Online Computer Aided Design Degree Program

It sounds obvious, but the first step in finding the right online CAD degree program for you is to make sure you know what kind of skills you want to learn and what kind of degree you want to obtain. It has already been said repeatedly, but online graphic design degree programs feature large sections of curriculum devoted to computer-aided design, and they represent a common way to boost chances for employment as a computer-aided designer. Online web design degrees cover an even broader scope of design than graphic design degree programs, and those programs also feature computer-aided design portions of the curriculum. But those programs also cover many more design topics, some that might seem frivolous and unimportant to students focused specifically on computer-aided design. For those interested specifically in CAD degree programs, graphic design and web design programs over-serve in terms of education. There is nothing wrong with choosing graphic design or web design degree programs if CAD is of interest, but just be sure you know what you are signing up for.

It is also crucial to ensure that the programs of interest are accredited by legitimate and regulated accrediting bodies. The prevalence and popularity of online CAD degrees meant that there are some programs interested in the money and not educating the students. The good news is, that those programs aren’t accredited. The U.S Department of Education explains that the accreditation process is designed to “ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.” Accreditation will not only prove to a potential employer that your education credentials are legitimate, but it will also allow you to continue your education at other accredited institutions, without worrying if your credits will transfer.

There isn’t an accrediting body that specifically approves computer-aided design degree programs, but the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges is the primary accrediting body for technical schools that tend to offer CAD degree programs. Also, the Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs is useful for four-year institutions that offer CAD degrees. Finally, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design is an organization that creates their own national standards for art and design degree programs. They have more than 320 accredited institutional members and those schools are clearly worth researching as well.

It’s also important to look specifically at the curriculum and courses being offered. Most CAD education is standardized, but you want to make sure that the programs you are considering offer a wide breadth of design principles. It is one thing to understand specifically how a computer modifies a design, it’s another to understand the broader aspects of design that go into making an excellent computer-aided design.

Finally, there is no way to become a competent computer-aided designer without practicing the teachings in a laboratory. Any program that tries to teach CAD without a hands-on laboratory component of the curriculum isn’t worth the money. The best programs balance classroom theory and hands-on applications in a laboratory environment.  It might also be worth inquiring about the resources afforded to students. Is the laboratory new? What sort of technology is available? Does the school use the latest CAD software? These are all questions that may help you understand the characteristics of a particular program better.

Online Computer Aided Design Course Types

Unlike graphic design degree programs and web design degree programs, there are no Bachelor’s degrees and Master’s degrees available, at least not yet. A CAD drafting degree focuses on a specific skillset and a specific type of design, and obtaining a CAD degree essentially qualifies that graduate as a competent computer-aided designer. That said, there are more advanced offshoots of CAD degrees that are worth looking in to. There are certificates available in subjects like: Advanced Architectural Computer-Aided Drafting; Advanced Mechanical CAD; Animation and Visualization CAD; and Landscape CAD. Those certificates should be considered once you are sure you are interested in computer-aided design as a whole.

Online Industrial Design Degree Programs and Courses Overview

Automobile Design Career It may not be readily apparent, but shining examples of excellent industrial design work is literally everywhere in the world. The subject is the art of creating and developing designs and concepts that will help improve the aesthetics, the usability, and the functionality of products that you probably use in your life every day. Everything from your new blender to your brand new iPhone are examples of quality industrial designs and because industrial design is all around you, there will always be a demand for talented industrial designers. Successful and talented industrial designers combine technical and creative knowledge as well as understanding about psychological and sociological trends that influence consumers. There are ways to go about obtaining this knowledge that don’t involve a college degree or training certificate, but most industrial design programs offered by universities give students a well-rounded design education as well as the skills and expertise in the specifics of understanding the user and creating effective industrial designs.

While traditional programs have long offered accredited and respected industrial design degree programs, the rise of computer-aided design and implementation of online design technology and tools have made online industrial design degrees programs more popular and worthwhile. Industrial designers are usually part of a collaborative effort to finish a product and online industrial design programs offer a unique collaborative environment where students can work together to translate their design concepts into 2-D and 3-D models, while also giving the student an opportunity to study where and when they are most comfortable.

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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.