A bachelor’s degree in industrial design, architecture, or engineering is usually required for most entry-level industrial design jobs. It is also important for industrial designers to have a professional portfolio with examples of their best design projects. Most design programs include the courses that industrial designers need in design: sketching, computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), industrial materials and processes, and manufacturing methods.
Many schools require successful completion of some basic art and design courses before entry into a bachelor's degree program. Applicants also may need to submit sketches and other examples of their artistic ability.
Many programs provide students with the opportunity to build a professional portfolio of their designs by collecting examples of their designs from classroom projects, internships, or other experiences. Students can use these examples of their work to demonstrate their design skills when applying for jobs and bidding on contracts for work.
An increasing number of designers are also getting a Master of Business Administration (MBA) to gain business skills. Business skills help designers understand how to fit their designs into a firm’s overall business plan.
Industrial designers typically demonstrate their knowledge and skill by promoting their best designs from previous projects. Work experience is another way to build a good reputation and establish expertise in an industrial design specialty.
Experienced designers in large firms may advance to chief designer, design department head, or other supervisory positions. Some designers become teachers in design schools or in colleges and universities. Many teachers continue to consult privately or operate small design studios in addition to teaching. Some experienced designers open their own design firms.