What do products like iPhones, Nike Air Max Shoes, and Fender Electric Guitars all have in common? They are all products that were developed with the industrial design process. Industrial designers conceptualize and prototype products intended for mass production. Students in NHTI’s Industrial Design Technology Program, , master design fundamentals and strategies to assess the usability, ergonomics and aesthetics of new products and work to improve the design and function of existing products. Industrial Designers are employed across a multitude of industries including, home products, transportation, healthcare, packaging, office products and sports equipment. They often work in multi-disciplinary groups that include, management, marketing, engineering and manufacturing specialists.
Industrial Design Technology is one of NHTI’s programs in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and the only one that combines STEM with art. According to the US Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are expected to grow by 17% through 2018 and STEM workers command earnings 26% more than their counterparts in non-STEM occupations. STEM jobs grew 7.9% from 2000 to 2008, for example, while non-STEM jobs grew just 2.6% during that time. Also, STEM workers earn more, from 12 – 60% more than their counterparts with similar levels of education.
Visit NHTI’s Industrial Design Technology Department for information on degree and course offerings.
- Career Paths for This Major
- Skills Developed Through This Major
- Sample Career Titles
- Sample Employers
- Ways to Explore and Reality Test Careers
- How to Increase Employability
- Professional Association Links
- Employment and Internship Links
When you graduate with this major, you will have work options that are varied depending on your specific interests, abilities, work values, and experience in the field. Industrial designers typically specialize in one product category, such as automobiles, furniture or housewares. A bachelor's degree in industrial design is essential for this career.
Experienced designers in large firms may advance to designer director, design department head, or other senior managerial positions. Some designers become teachers in design schools, colleges and universities. Many teachers continue to consult privately or operate small design studios on the side. Some experienced designers open their own design firms. An increasing number of designers pursue a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) to gain business skills. Business skills help designers understand the bigger picture and how to fit their designs to other business considerations including meeting cost limitations a firm may have for the production of a given product.
- 2D/3D Visual Communication Skillsmodeling and rapid prototyping
- Portfolio development
- Critical Thinking and problem solving
- Strong written and verbal skills
- Presentation skills
- Time management skills
These titles include positions that you may qualify for with this associate’s degree.
- CADD Renderer
- Industrial Design Assistant
- Junior Industrial Designer
- Product Design Assistant
Positions that may require a bachelor’s degree and beyond…
- Industrial Designer
- Product Designer
- Commercial Designer
- Product Engineer
- Design Engineer
- Manufacturing Firms
- Product Development Firms
- Design Studios
There are four key ways to explore your favorite career interests…through reading, through speaking with those in the know, through observing and through doing. Use the link(s) below to begin exploring major related careers through ‘reading’. Go to the Exploring Career Interests link to get tips on all four key exploration strategies.
Additional sources of information for this major include:
- NHTI Faculty, Academic Advisors, and Industrial Design Technology Department resources.
- Professionals who are working in the field
- Professional Associations (see below)
- Become an active student member of college, community, or professional associations, which helps you build leadership skills and promote connecting (networking) with fellow professionals.
- Obtain quality practical experience prior to graduation through part-time, full-time and summer employment/internship positions related to your targeted field.
- Participate in volunteer and service learning opportunities.
Professionals who do work related to this major belong to these associations. You can use the links below to do career research and to connect with local association members. You may also be able to join an association of interest, at a reduced rate, as a student member.
- Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)
- International Council of Societies of Industrial Design
See below for job posting sites related to this major (including our own home grown NHTI posting site – see first link).