|Program Level||Bachelor's degree; master's preferred|
|Field(s) of Study||Industrial design; business administration (MBA)|
|Online Availability||Online programs are available for MBA|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||2% growth|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)||$67,130 (for commercial and industrial designers)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Although a bachelor's degree typically is the minimum education required to enter the field of industrial design, many aspiring industrial designers opt to pursue a master's degree. Graduate programs in industrial design generally feature product-specific courses and studio courses that cover various aspects of design and engineering, as well as classes in research and technology. A thesis project, which can involve the creation of anything from improved packaging to a new consumer product, generally is required.
Another degree option for prospective industrial designers is a Master of Business Administration (MBA), which often can be earned online. Through an MBA program, students acquire the business knowledge needed to implement their products into a company's business plan. They also develop leadership and communication skills.
Industrial designers can be involved in the creation of nearly any manufactured product, including appliances, cars, computers, cell phones, furniture and toys. As of 2015, those who provided manufacturing services made up the largest single segment of the workers. The next largest group worked in specialized design services.
Overall, jobs for commercial and industrial designers were expected to grow 2% from 2014-2024, based on BLS findings. Competition for industrial design jobs was expected to be keen, with the best opportunities going to those with experience in business, computer-aided design and engineering.
The BLS does not provide salary information by degree, but in May 2015, it reported a median salary of commercial and industrial designers of $67,130. The top 10% earned upwards of $104,730. The highest wages were drawn by those who worked in the area of mining support activities, according to the BLS. They made an annual average salary of $95,270.
Industrial designers holding a master's degree can work in a range of fields, with earnings ranging up to $104,730.