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What Are the Different Types of Industrial Design Programs?

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  • Written By: Andrew Kirmayer
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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Product design is generally a technical field and there are several options when it comes to the appropriate education. Industrial design programs are often available at the bachelor’s, master’s, or higher levels of education, while vocational and apprenticeship programs can also prepare one for a career in the field, depending on the job. There are also high school courses and programs that can help one prepare as well. Most of the time a college or university level education is required for an entry-level job, in which students learn how to design and market products.

While most industrial design programs take place beyond the high school level, computer, math, and technology classes can help prepare one for the work ahead. Art and technical drawing courses are usually beneficial as well so students can learn to visualize things from a design perspective. Vocational programs are often available too. Sometimes offered at community colleges and other technical education institutions, these can help students launch a career in applied design or in producing packaging design solutions, for example.

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Vocational programs typically also provide the education and technical skills, such as the use of the systems and materials for the packaging industry, needed in an industrial design career. Students can learn about the design of ceramics, furniture, and metal crafts, as well as how to make technical drawings; knowledge of packaging systems, laws and regulations, and process analysis is often gained as well. Usually the most beneficial industrial design programs, however, are college or university degrees. These often include courses in computer aided design, engineering, manufacturing, and mathematics.

The typical degree program includes an internship within a manufacturing environment. Such experience often helps one decide on a career in production or other form of industrial design, or if he or she wants to concentrate on business administration. A component of many degree programs is often training on how to use software to develop three-dimensional models. Applied science and marketing skills usually go along with computer design capabilities.

Some industrial design programs focus on commercial design, while others train students for a career in architecture. One can also work as an apprentice if an industrial design firm provides such a program. Often incorporating class work in math, industrial drafting, machinery, and safety, these industrial design programs typically enable participants to learn the industry while on the job. Acquired skills can include making sketches and layouts, producing graphics, and integrating the fine details into a drawing or production process.

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