Undergraduate degree programs in industrial arts train students to craft wood and metal, repair machinery, use hand tools, make technical drawings, prepare food, and design such items as clothes, furniture and appliances. Graduate programs focus on advanced design and engineering. Some programs may offer opportunities for enrollees to study online; others might require scholarly research.
Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Arts
In addition to presenting general design, tool usage and safety procedures, this degree program also teaches theory and operational techniques in specific fields such as industrial education, business and design. Although other associate-level programs in this field may go by a slightly different name, they all share similar curricula and last about two years. Applicants must typically be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Industrial arts associate's degree programs pair field-specific coursework with general education units in science, math and the humanities. Core classes introduce basic craftsman and design concepts; they discuss:
- Woodwork and metal construction
- Glass and plastic media
- Theory of mechanical engines
- Basic electronics
- Technical drawing
- Color and form in 2-D and 3-D
Bachelor's Degrees in Industrial Arts
Bachelor's degrees in industrial arts give students the chance to specialize in industrial art, science or education. Degrees include the Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design. Science degrees include the Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology. A Bachelor of Science in Technology Education is rare. Degree programs usually take four years to finish; online, on-campus and hybrid programs exist.
Most schools require prospective students to complete a formal application, provide high school transcripts (or the equivalent) and submit standardized test scores. Some schools also require students demonstrate artistic achievement or potential by submitting examples of prior work.
Most schools require students to complete major courses and fulfill classes in English, arts and social science. Some programs also have foreign language requirements. Typical topics include:
- Applied technology
- Mathematics for engineers
- Industrial technology and safety
- Historical concepts in design
- Computer graphics
- Principles of design and color
Master's Degrees in Industrial Arts
Master of Art and Master of Science in Industrial Arts programs are most common; however, the Master of Education in Technology Education is also available. Most programs take about two years to complete. Program length may vary depending on the number of online courses taken and whether students choose a full-time or part-time schedule.
Applicants are expected to have bachelor's degrees in industrial arts or related fields. They must submit certified transcripts, letters of recommendations and essays where the applicants demonstrate efficient communication skills and the potential for scholarly research. Programs may also require Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores above a certain level. Where the degree program focuses more on arts, prospective students often have to submit a portfolio for review.
Some of the typical courses are listed below:
- Theory and practice of advanced design concepts
- Historical principles of design
- Advanced drafting techniques
- Project management
- Technology and design education
- Vocational education curriculum creation
Associate's degree graduates can further their education by obtaining a bachelor's degree or immediately seek employment. Career titles at this level might include:
- Journeyman or apprentice laborer
- Junior or associate electrician's mate
- Construction worker
Bachelor's degree graduates can either enter go on to pursue a master's degree or enter the workforce in such roles as:
- Associate engineers
- Technical drafters
- Project managers
- Construction managers
- Interior designer
- Graphic designers
Salary Information and Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment for industrial designers to grow by about 3% for the decade 2018-2028. The best prospects should be for those with strong skills in computer-aided design and computer-aided industrial design. Opportunities are also expected to be better for those who design medical equipment and precision instruments. In 2018, the BLS found that industrial designers earned an average salary of $71,430. Employment was most concentrated in the states of Michigan, Rhode Island, Vermont, Utah and Iowa.
Graduates can continue their education by pursuing a doctoral degree in industrial engineering or industrial technology. Classes allow for student specialization and can be completed in approximately three to four years, including a defense of dissertation. Professional experience as well as the completion of a master's degree in a relevant field is usually required for admission.
Industrial arts degrees prepare students to work with wood, metal, machinery and tools to create consumer goods. Graduates with an industrial arts associate's degree are eligible for jobs in the industry as drafters, apprentice laborers or construction workers, while bachelor's degree graduates are eligible for more advanced careers as graphic designers and project managers.